Word 2013 For Dummies
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As you madly compose your text in Word 2013, fingers energetically jabbing the buttons on the keyboard, you may notice a few things happening on the screen. You might see spots. You might see lines and boxes. You may even see lightning! All are side effects of typing in Word. They’re completely normal.

The status bar

The reason it's the status bar is that it can show you the status of your document, updating information as you type.


The type of information that’s displayed, as well as how much information is displayed, depends on how you configured Word.

To better view the status bar when typing with the onscreen keyboard, touch the Keyboard Swap button, shown in the margin. After you touch the button, the status bar jumps up, above the keyboard.

Page breaks

Word tries its best to show you where one page ends and another page begins. This feature is most helpful because oftentimes you want to keep elements on one page, or maybe folks just like to know when the text they're writing flows from one page to the next.

The status bar helps you discover which page you're working on. For example, the page-number indicator changes from 6 to 7 when you start a new page. Word also shows you graphically where one page ends and another begins.

In Print Layout view, which is the way Word normally shows your document, you see virtual pages and a space between them.


Text appearing above the ethereal void is on one page, and text below the void is on the next page. Yes, it looks just like real sheets of paper.

  • In Word, only the Print Layout and Draft views show page breaks. In Draft view, the page break appears as a line of dots marching across the screen.

  • You can change the gap between pages in Print Layout view. Point the mouse at the gap. When the mouse pointer changes, as shown in the margin, double-click to either close or open the gap.

  • Don’t force a page break by pressing the Enter key a gazillion times. You’ll regret it.

Collapsible headers

You may see a tiny triangle to the left of various headings in your documents. These triangles allow you to expand or collapse all text in the header’s section. Click once to collapse the text; click again to expand it.

Spots and clutter in the text

There’s no cause for alarm if you see spots — or dots — amid the text you type, such as


What you're seeing are nonprinting characters. Word uses various symbols to represent things you normally don’t see: spaces, tabs, the Enter key, and more.

To turn these items on or off, click the Show/Hide button on the Home tab in the Paragraph group. Click once to show the goobers; click again to hide them.

The keyboard shortcut for the Show/Hide command is Ctrl+Shift+8.

Why bother with showing the goobers? Sometimes, it's useful to check out what's up with formatting, find stray tabs visually, or locate missing paragraphs, for example. (WordPerfect users: It's as close as you can get to the Reveal Codes command in Word.)

Colored underlines

Adding underlining to your text in Word is cinchy; Yet sometimes Word may do some underlining and add strange-colored text on its own.

Red zigzag: Spelling errors in Word are underlined with red zigzags.
Blue zigzag: Grammatical and word-choice errors are flagged with a special blue zigzag. The blue underlined text is most likely not the best choice for you to use.
Blue underlines: Word courteously highlights web page addresses by using blue, underlined text in your document. You can Ctrl+click the blue underlined text to visit the web page.
Red lines: You may see red lines in the margin, underneath or through text. If so, it means that you’re using Word’s Track Changes feature. It can drive you nuts when you don’t know what’s going on.

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