Workshop simplifies Microsoft Word for inexperienced

Free sessions help writing skills through shortcuts

By Michael Santone, Advocate Staff

This semester the Library Learning and Research Center staff is offering a variety of free workshops to help students learn and refine their writing, organization, and research skills.

Contra Costa College Librarian Megan Kinney kicked things off, leading an informative hour -long workshop on Aug. 30 about Microsoft Word and the basics of the MLA (Modern Language Association) format.

The room was filled with about 21 eager students. This was apparently unexpected because many of the handouts, which were received at the door, ran out halfway through.

The workshop, which was held in the LLRC-107, helped introduce and familiarize students with Microsoft Word and how to set up a paper using the MLA format that most English teachers ask for.

This includes the use of one-inch margins, a heading, Times New Roman 12 point font, double spacing, indentation, as well as page numbers.

Kinney herself was enthusiastic because she had taught this same workshop three times before and never had a turn out as big as this one.

Kinney started off explaining some of the tools to setting up your paper, including the ‘navigation’ bar introduced in Microsoft Word 2007 called the ribbon which holds the tabs home, insert, and page layout, with the commands such as cut, copy, paste, margins, page numbers, space options and font style and size.

By this point, she had already been interrupted at least a dozen times by students who were all eyes and ears from the moment she began, and even more engaged and enthusiastic as they raised their hand to question and inquire about every word she spoke.

Kinney persevered through, but with limited time and such a live audience, she promised to try and leave time for questions at the end which she did, and was flooded by many students who asked for follow up workshop.

CCC student Felipe Garcia said, “I learned much and wish there was more time.”

“Microsoft Word is set up the wrong way when you open it”, she said.

She demonstrated how to change the auto formatting for spacing by clicking the command under style on the ribbon from normal to no space and then clicking on paragraph and then double space.

She moved on quickly with how to setup the header, which includes your name, the professor, and the class name.

Moving on with making everything correctly center, she explained how changing the justification, which is the alignment either left, right, or center helps with the one-inch margins and indentation that the MLA format requires.

After discussing how to indent your paper with tab and not the space bar, and with only a few minutes left, Kinney explained how to put page numbers onto your paper and concluded with a tip to saving your document after making all the technical changes and creating the MLA format; documents ending in .x can only be read by Microsoft programs after 2004.

For those older than 2004, use.doc.