Word Processing Application Program – Part of the communications plan is determining the type of computer software that will be used to create documents, spreadsheets, graphs and reports. The choice of software is linked to the complexity of the project.
Larger projects can be managed using some features found in most general purpose software.
Word Processing Application Program
Even the simplest project will create a large number of documents using word processing software. A communications plan can specify document standards that facilitate the creation, modification, combination, storage, and retrieval of documents. Document standards include the following:
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A word processing software program displays a document on a computer screen and allows the user to enter and edit text. When a file is saved to a storage device, the text and all the different formats, such as fonts and font sizes, are converted into code for efficient storage. The code varies between word processors and even editions of the same program.
The most common word processing program is Microsoft Word (MS Word). Many editions of MS Word work on Windows and Macintosh operating systems. Versions of MS Word released before 2007 save files in a proprietary format. The format is indicated by a period and a three-letter extension, .doc, which is automatically added to the file when it is saved. Starting with MS Word 2007 for Windows and MS Word 2008 for Macintosh, files are saved using different formats, indicated by a period and a four-letter extension, .docx, that identifies the new format. .
Almost all word processing programs have the ability to save files in the .doc format, which is the common standard for word processing files. Newer versions of word processing programs, including MS Word 2007 and MS Word for Mac 2008, can save files in the older .doc format. MS Word 2007 has new features, such as the ability to format references in various styles including APA, MLA, and Chicago, which are lost when you save the file in .doc format. Older versions of MS Word can be configured to read the latest .docx file format by downloading and installing an adapter program, free from the Microsoft website. On Windows operating systems, the display of document file extensions is hidden by default. They can be viewed when this feature is disabled. Instructions for viewing file extensions are available in your operating system’s Help menu. In Windows Vista, this option is available in Control Panel, Appearance and Personalization, Folder Options, View tab, Advanced Settings, as shown in Figure 6.8. “Displaying the file name extension”.
When the File List dialog box appears, select the Details option. In Windows Vista, the Details option is located on the View button, as shown in Figure 6.9. “The detail view shows the file extension.”
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A set of formatting features, including font, font size, font color, shading, and other features used to indicate and determine the importance of a portion of text, is called a style. You can name a style and apply it repeatedly to different parts of a document. Default styles are available in MS Word 2007 on the Ribbon, on the Home tab, in the Styles group, as shown in Figure 6.10. “Selective style”. Users can define their own styles and give them names. Some organizations prefer the same font and style for headings, text, and image captions in their documents.
A document outline contains subject headings and subheadings and is useful for organizing or reorganizing your document. MS Word 2007 contains nine levels of predefined headings in the Stylus group. In addition to using different fonts, each topic is assigned a level of importance. A document that uses headings with assigned levels can be viewed in outline view, such as the book outline shown in Figure 6.11. “Display Counters in MS Word 2007”. In this view, the level of detail shown in the diagram is selected to show the first two levels of the diagram. Headings and the hidden text associated with each heading can be moved from one location to another in the outline by selecting and dragging the headings.
If you will be reusing a particular type of document, it may be worth taking the time to create a template document, a template formatted using appropriate styles with blank fields or placeholder text into which the user can insert information that describes a particular situation. . Various templates are available for download right now at no additional cost. For example, when you create a new document in Microsoft Word 2007, you have an option to select a template, such as the invoice template shown in Figure 6.12. “Use the standard document as a template.”
Templates can be customized and reused for all documents of this type, or an organization can create its own.
Word Processing Software Interactive Worksheet
Reporting relationships and workflows are often described using diagrams made up of boxes connected by arrows. Modern editions of popular word processing programs include drawing tools that can be used to create basic diagrams. In MS Word 2007, on the Insert tab, in the Shapes button, in the Illustrations group, there are various shapes and connectors, as shown in Figure 6.13. Shapes and Connections menu in Word 2007.
You can use custom connecting lines and arrows that automatically redraw when shapes are moved. This feature makes it easy to quickly review when you need to move shapes, since you don’t have to redraw the connecting arrows.
Microsoft Office 2007 introduced a feature called SmartArt, which includes a variety of diagrams that can be used to show organization and relationships using more complex and artistic graphics, as shown in Figure 6.14. “Smart Art features in Microsoft Word”.
Another commonly available software creates a spreadsheet – a row and column view of data – that can be used to manipulate financial or numerical data. Rows and columns have checkboxes where you can enter numbers, text, dates, and formulas. Formulas can use values found in other cells and display the results in the cell rather than in the formula. If a cell value is changed in the context of a formula, all formulas that use the cell value will be recalculated immediately. This feature allows you to easily find more options quickly. Spreadsheets are often used to manage data for simple projects, rather than a dedicated database or project management software.
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If a spreadsheet, such as a project task list or cost list, is used to store data, it is best to organize the data using more sophisticated data management software. Most data management programs organize data so that each type of data is presented in a column with a label at the top, with each row containing data specific to one type of object. A table is a set of data arranged in rows and columns. For example, a list of expenses would be organized so that each row contains a separate expense and each column contains some type of information related to the expense, as shown in Figure 6.15. “Costs are kept in a spreadsheet.”
The most common spreadsheet program is Microsoft Excel (MS Excel). Several editions of MS Excel have been released that work on Windows and Macintosh operating systems. Versions of MS Excel released before 2007 save files in a proprietary format. The format is indicated by a period and a three-letter extension, .xls, which is automatically added to the file when it is saved. Starting with MS Excel 2007 for Windows and MS Excel 2008 for Macintosh, files are saved using a different format, indicated by a period followed by a four-character extension, .xlsx, which is the new format.
Almost all spreadsheet programs have the ability to save files in the .xls file format, which is the common standard for spreadsheet files. Newer versions of spreadsheet programs, including MS Excel 2007 and MS Excel for Mac 2008, can save files in the older .xls format. MS Excel 2007 has some new features that are lost when you save files in the old format.
If the data in the spreadsheet is organized into simple rows of the same data type, it can be designed to provide reports for large projects.
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If one or more table columns contain labels, identification numbers, or other descriptions, these labels can be used to specify sorting and filtering options. For example, if your spreadsheet contains a list of expenses, the rows of data can be sorted in descending or ascending value based on one of the data types, such as payment date or expense amount. The view can be limited (filtered) to show only those rows
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