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Entering Text

If you’re new to computing, you’ll find that entering text in a word-processing document is only a little different than using a typewriter—different but much simpler.

As in most computer programs, the blinking vertical line (called the text insertion mark) indicates where the next character you type will appear. Type as you would with a typewriter. The main differences include the following:

  • You press Return only to begin a new paragraph—not to begin a new line in the same paragraph.
  • You’ll note that the lines of a paragraph are automatically adjusted to include as many words as possible. This occurs via a feature called word wrap. If you add or delete text in a paragraph, the entire paragraph rewraps to accommodate the changes.
  • Typing a word-processing document doesn’t have to be a linear process—as it must with a typewriter. For example, although you can backspace over errors by pressing Delete, you can also just select incorrect text and type over it. The first character you type automatically deletes the selected text.
  • You can click anywhere within existing text to change the text insertion mark. Then you can insert more text at that spot, correct an error, or perform edits.

Click and type

Click and type is a Word feature that you can think of as a form of automatic paragraph formatting. You can click in any blank area of your document to enter text at that spot. In a new document, for example, you could click near the right margin or halfway down the page. Click and type is available in Print Layout, Web Layout, and Notebook Layout views.

To enable and use click and type:

  1. Choose Word > Preferences.

    The Word Preferences dialog box appears.

  2. Click the Authoring and Proofing Tools : Edit icon to display the Edit preferences.
  3. Near the bottom of the dialog box, ensure that Enable click and type is checked circle-a.jpg, and click OK.
  4. Switch to a view in which click and type is supported: Print Layout, Web Layout, or Notebook Layout.
  5. Move the cursor to a blank spot on the page where you’d like to type.

    As you move, the cursor changes shape to reflect the type of paragraph formatting that will be applied to the text circle-b.jpg. The shapes include align left, align right, center, left indent, left text wrap, and right text wrap.

  6. Double-click to set the text insertion mark and begin typing.

    Word inserts the necessary blank paragraphs and tabs to fill the document to the beginning of the new text circle-c.jpg.

Showing/hiding nonprinting characters

Whether you’re entering, editing, or proofing text, it can be helpful to see the normally invisible, nonprinting characters: spaces, tabs, returns, and line breaks circle-d.jpg. Displaying nonprinting characters is very useful when you’re looking for multiple tab characters where only one should be or when you’re trying to eliminate incorrect punctuation, such as blank paragraphs or extra spaces between words or sentences.

You can show or hide these characters as you work on any Word document. See Table 4.2 for a list of nonprinting characters.

Table 4.2 Nonprinting Characters



. (dot)





Line break (new line, same paragraph)


End of paragraph

To show/hide nonprinting characters:

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