Editing in Full-Screen Mode

This week I’ve been editing a new project in Microsoft Word and decided to try something new–editing in Print Layout in Full-Screen mode. I didn’t think I’d like it, but I do–a lot. If you want to try it, you can activate the feature by adjusting some items under the View menu, in this order:

1. Turn on Print Layout.

2. Set the Zoom level to “Whole page.”

3. Click “Full Screen.”

Whoa! Your Word menu bar has disappeared! That’s okay; just move your mouse pointer to the top of your screen to bring the menu bar out of hiding. Move your mouse pointer back down, and the menu bar will vanish again, leaving a full page of your document floating over a gray background.

(To turn *off* Full-Screen mode, press the Escape key, or display the menu bar and again click View > Full Screen.)

What about your toolbars? They’re probably still at the top of your screen, which keeps your document page from being displayed as large as possible. But who said toolbars have to stay at the top of the screen? You’ve now got lots of gray space at the sides of your page, and you can use that space to hold your toolbars. Just click and hold the vertical bar on the left of a toolbar, drag the toolbar to a new location, and release your mouse button. You can leave the toolbar “floating” in the gray space around your document (and resize it, if necessary), or you can “dock” it on either side of your screen.

With Full-Screen mode turned on, you’ll immediately notice how tiny the type is in your document. “I can’t work like this!” you’ll say. And you’ll be right. To overcome this problem, you’ll need to attach a new template to the document–a template formatted especially for editing. I’d recommend making body type at least 18 points and headings even larger–whatever you need for nice, legible type, even if that means you no longer have as many words on a page. Don’t worry; after you’ve finished editing, you can attach a template with the final formatting the document needs for publication. You can learn more about this here:




Also, to really make this work, you’ll need a big monitor. I do most of my work on a 21-inch screen, but a 19-incher will do. On 17 inches, it’s iffy. If you’re still using a 13- or 15-inch monitor, it’s time to upgrade, and I’d recommend getting the biggest monitor you can afford (the ideal would be an LCD that can pivot to a “portrait” orientation!). You can learn more about this here:



Some of the advantages of working in Full-Screen mode, are:

* You can see a full manuscript page on your screen.

* The information on your screen is “digital” rather than analog, resembling pages rather than scrolls. In other words, it’s presented in discrete, self-contained batches, and hitting the Page Down key really does take you a full page down. (In our Editor’s ToolKit program, it also places your cursor at the *top* of the next page; sweet!) You can more naturally perfect a page before moving on to the next one. You don’t have that feeling of not knowing where you are or that you’re in an unending, scrolling mass of words.

* The discreteness of the pages allows for positional memory and a better sense of proportion–editing seems more natural, like working on paper. You can learn more about this here:


* All the distraction of toolbars and menus is gone, leaving you free to concentrate on your editing.

As mentioned earlier, you can still access Word’s menu bar by moving your mouse pointer to the top of the screen, but you can also access it by pressing the ALT key. Then you can activate menu items by pressing the key for the letters that are underlined on those items. For example, the File menu has an underline under the F, so you can press F to access the File menu. If you already know what those underlined items are (without looking), you can press both keys at once to access the menu: ALT + F.

Here are some additional tips for editing in Full-Screen mode:

1. Click Tools > Options > View and turn off the following items (to maximize the space on your screen):

* Status bar.

* Horizontal scroll bar.

* Vertical scroll bar.

2. Click View and turn off the ruler.

3. Get more text on a page by reducing the size of your margins under File > Page Setup.

4. If your pages aren’t already numbered, insert page numbers. With the status bar gone, you’ll need them to gauge your progress as you work through that manuscript.

5. Use Word’s “Go To” feature (CTRL + G) to move around in your document.

All of this makes it possible to have a clean screen and see each page as a unit–a pretty nice way to edit! If you’ve never used Full-Screen mode, why not give it a try?



Juanita Hilkin wrote:

One last tip on document preview. If you have a wheel mouse, hold down the control key while you roll the wheel, and the view of your document will become larger or smaller depending on which way you roll the wheel. This makes it easy to quickly adjust the view on the screen but still lets you type in the document.

After reading last week’s article on modifying the “My Places” toolbar, Claes Gauffin wrote:

As you said, there are no ways to modify the toolbar in earlier versions. But what you can do, is to modify the contents of, for example, the “My documents” folder to something useful. If you normally organize your different projects in separate folders, you simply create shortcuts of all these project folders and put the shortcuts into the “My documents folder.” And presto! You suddenly have a swift way of reaching all your current work.

Nan Bush wrote:

An add-on I couldn’t live without on Word 2000 is Woody Leonhard’s WOPR Places Bar Customizer. With it, you can customize up to ten directory links on the Places bar. It’s very easy to install and has worked flawlessly for me for two+ years. As a technical writer juggling many documents, I can’t imagine (well . . . yes, I can) trying to navigate without it. HIGHLY recommended. I just looked it up to be sure of its availability and found the WOPR Places Bar Customizer and other WOPR products from:


Thanks to all for their great suggestions.



High on the mountaintop, the wizard waves his wand, intoning the words of power. “OLEFormat.DoVerb wdOLEVerbShow!” he cries. “Application.OnTime Now!”

Trembling, you approach. “O mighty one,” you plead, “I am weary and frustrated. I seek to make Word do my bidding rather than follow its own will, as it is so cursedly wont to do. Will you not teach me your wondrous spells?”

The wizard eyes you carefully, measuring your sincerity. Satisfied, he nods his assent. “We will begin with the spellbooks,” he says, drawing a large, dark volume from his voluminous sleeve. The teaching has begun.

Steve Hudson, the Wizard of Word, really has published his spellbooks, which contain the power to bring Word under your control. The spellbooks are three:

1. Word VBA Beginner’s Spellbook. This is the perfect reference for any Word user who has ever had to think about recording a macro or automating templates. Whether novice or expert, there are few Word users who won’t benefit from the unique topics covered in this book.

2. Word Spellbook. A book for the experienced novice or intermediate user who is ready to move to a more advanced level. It does not cover writing techniques or other secondary information; it is dedicated to the functionality behind Microsoft Word–and nobody understands that better than Steve.

3. Word VBA Spellbook. This more advanced book assumes that the reader already has some programming knowledge. Then it explains how to get results from the inside out. The book is not so much for professional Word developers but rather for Word users who need to develop solutions for their own use.

The price for these collections of powerful knowledge? Just $20 each. For what you’ll get, that is ridiculously cheap. The information would be a bargain at twice the price. Better get ’em now before Steve changes his mind. Then you too can be a Word wizard. The way to the mountaintop is here:


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