How to Use Microsoft Word as a Desktop Publishing Tool

5. Create Fancy First Letters for Paragraphs

In the days of illuminated manuscripts, artists created elaborate illustrations to decorate the first letter of a page or chapter. With Word, you can make drop caps, which are fancy first letters for a paragraph or a page. To start, click inside the paragraph where you wish to add a drop cap, click the Insert tab on the Ribbon toolbar, and then select Drop Cap > Dropped.

The Drop Cap feature lets you create fancy first letters for chapters and documents.
Follow up by choosing Drop Cap > Drop Cap Options, and you can configure how the drop cap will look: which font it will use, the number of lines that it will drop, and the distance it will be inset from the text. You might need to experiment with these options to get the best result for any given font. Word treats the drop-cap letter as part of the word that follows it, so a spelling check will still function correctly. (For more information on spelling checking, see "10 Spelling Checker Secrets for Microsoft Word.")

6. Display Text in Columns

You can format a document, or part of it, into columns to make it look similar to a newspaper or magazine.
For newsletters, training materials, and similar documents, you can format your text in multiple columns, which makes the text easier to read. Word allows you to turn anything from a small portion of text to an entire document into columns. Most of the time, however, you’ll want the heading items to consume the full width of the page, with just the text arranged in columns.

To achieve this result, select the text that you want to appear in columns, and then click the Page Layout tab on the Ribbon. Next, click Columns, and then indicate the number of columns to use (two is typically sufficient). Word will arrange the selected text accordingly, leaving the remainder of the text to flow across the entire page width.

7. Add Captions to Images

To add numbered captions to images--to point the reader to an illustration in a long document, such as a book or article, for instance--you can choose the Ribbon’s References tab, click the Captions tool, and then select Insert Caption. In many cases, however, you’ll simply want to add a plain text caption without a numbering scheme. In that case, you can create a text box for the caption.

Using a text box and some formatting features, you can create custom captions for your images.
First, insert the image into the document. Then, click the Insert tab on the Ribbon, choose Text Box > Draw Text Box (at the bottom of the menu), and draw a small text box on the page. Click in the text box, and type your caption text. Size the text box to match the width of the image. To remove the border around the text box, click the text box to select it (the appearance will change to display dotted lines), and then go up to the Ribbon to click the Drawing Tools > Format tab; click Shape Outline (you’ll find it between Shape Fill and Shape Effects). Finally, click No Outline.

Group the text box and the image so that they will move together. To do so, click the image to select it, hold down the Shift key, and click the text box. With both items selected, right-click and choose Group from the pop-up menu, and then select Group once again.

8. Use a Pull Quote to Add Visual Interest to a Text-Heavy Page

Pull quotes add visual variety to a text-heavy page; use them to place a sentence or two of interesting text copied from the surrounding page into a box separate from the page text. First, select the words you wish to use, or type some new text. Copy that text, choose Insert on the Ribbon, and click Text Box. Select one of the designs that appear in the Gallery, click in the text box you've added to the page, and click Paste to place the text inside it.

Now, click the text box, move it into position on the page, and resize it to suit the text it displays. You should also change the font and increase the line spacing of the text in the pull quote to set it apart visually from the surrounding text; this will ensure that the reader sees it as a separate element instead of mistaking it for regular text. You can learn more about changing text-box shapes in the article "Work Faster in Microsoft Word: 10 Secrets."

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