How To: Using Microsoft Word Like a Pro, Part 7 - Tech Learning

How To: Using Microsoft Word Like a Pro, Part 7

One of the functions of MS Word that is often a "leader" into the world of Intermediate Word skills is the use of Tables. Primarily a formatting capability, the use of tables enables one to place items within organized boxes (cells) on a page. At its most complex, the use of tables allows one to design forms such
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One of the functions of MS Word that is often a "leader" into the world of Intermediate Word skills is the use of Tables. Primarily a formatting capability, the use of tables enables one to place items within organized boxes (cells) on a page. At its most complex, the use of tables allows one to design forms such as invoices, purchase orders, seating charts and many other administrative documents. Often this culminates in the creation of reusable templates, using forms functions, to allow one to fill in the form and submit it online or directly into a network-accessible database…or even on your own hard drive. But this is a series of skills that create a daunting task to a teacher to learn all at once. As a result, the introduction of tables functions should begin with simpler formatting tasks first, and then combining these skills with other functions one at a time — layering the instruction as needed. At my workplace I see an increasing number of teachers using tables for formatting. This is why I would consider it one of the “entry†functions into the world of Intermediate Word for many teachers. I will show the use of tables for simple formatting that links some of the earlier Word functions I have referenced. I will not attempt to teach ALL of the capabilities and nuances, since there are many well done tutorials on-line that give you the specifics regarding how to (for example) hide lines, center text top to bottom, fill colors into cells, manage tables within tables etc.

A sampling of some sites with specific Tables information:

Florida Gulf Coast University: Tables
http://www.fgcu.edu/ support/office2000/ word/tables.html

Microsoft Word Tables and Columns
http://www.northcanton. sparcc.org/ ~technology/Tutorials/ Files/Microsoft_Word _Tables_and_Columns.doc

11 Tips for Creating Tables in Word 2002
http://www.microsoft.com/office/ previous/xp/ columns/column13.asp

As mentioned in previous writings, “scaffolding†is helpful here, without the worry of knowing everything at once. Following, I will demonstrate three simple education-related activities using table functions:

  1. Using a table to support the cloze technique within a reading selection;
  2. Using a table as a literature activity with inserted pictures besides a text-entry area; and
  3. Using a table in combination with simple forms functions to create an assessment.

For each of the above, I will use the same literature selection captured in Part 1: The Call of the Wild by Jack London.

  1. Using a table to support the cloze technique within a reading selection

    The following process was demonstrated in Part 5 of this series, wherein you learned to extract a word and replace it with a text field. In the sample below, the words were merely listed at the top:



    However, if we were to create a table at the top first, it could be made to look like this selection designed to support Chapter 1 of Call of the Wild:



    The “row†above is actually a one-row, 6-column TABLE. It was created by clicking one row and six columns within the simple Table icon: which shows on your Standard Toolbar.

    Another way to do this is to go to the Table menu, pull down to Insert, over to Table, and choose your table features



    Here you type in 6 columns and 1 row and click OK.

    NOTE: I have just “graduated†to Word XP. Thus some of the images shown in this article may not be totally consistent with yours if you use Word97, Word2000 or another version. However, the functions are substantially the same and you should be able to extrapolate the needed actions from these images.

    Either way you choose to create your table, it should look like this:



    Each of the above “cells†now is ready to contain something. In the Chapter 1 example shown, I did this:

    Placed my cursor in front of the vocabulary word to extract. Placed a text field in that location (see series article, Part 5). Highlighted the desired word and CUT it. Clicked in the desired cell to PASTE the word (being sure to jumble them!) Highlighted the first word and dragged over to highlight all the words. Centered each word in each cell by clicking the centering icon on my toolbar.

    This leaves the blank form field behind for you to later lock the document and distribute it for students to use electronically.

    To use on paper, you may wish to highlight each form field space so that the location is viewable as a grayed box in print copy instead of a blank space that may be hard to see on white paper. You do this by dragging your cursor over the field area to highlight it, then use the highlight icon on the formatting tool bar. Choose the drop down arrow and (your choice) gray for normal grayscale printing:

  2. Using a table as a literature activity with inserted pictures side by side

    Starting from the same premise as in number 1, you would create a document to contain a table with multiple rows but only 2 columns. Create as many rows as there are pictures, and place the pictures within each cell in column 1, going down.

    What you will have in the second, right-most column, is a space to allow students to input information. This can be white space for paper copy, or an expandable text field if you want electronic copy returned. The following example is three rows, two columns, with text fields in the right column for student input:



    I collected the pictures above by doing a Google search for terms from the chapter, looking for the appropriate dog breeds discussed. Capturing a picture from the web as a file or copying the picture using the clipboard is a basic skill I assume my teachers already have before considering tables. Also, be cognizant of copyright issues. I prefer to capture the picture as a file so that I could process it or have it for future uses.

    When I have created the table, I can place my cursor within a cell and then choose to insert the picture:



    This process will allow me to place ach picture in a cell of the left column.

    The next procedure, described in Part 5 of this series of articles, involves placing a simple text field into the right column, then locking the document for use by students.



    The result as pictured above, can, with many variations, help design activities linking text and images.

    art teachers can ask students to connect styles or artists with pictures social studies teachers can use pictures and ask students to choose related time periods from an associated drop down field English teachers can ask students to connect images of places with appropriate literature related to those settings foreign language teachers can ask students to type words or phrases associated with provided images technology (shop!) teachers can connect images of tools or devices with their names
    ...and so on.
  3. Using a table in combination with simple forms functions to create an assessment

    Extending the idea in Number 2 above, that of using a combination of forms functions and table capabilities, one can design an assessment with clearly definable sections. Below is an example that combines the features of the Part 5 skills with tables skills:



    In this sample, you can see that I have created:



    Using tables to format assessments solves issues often encountered when trying to place question stems with the associated boxes or elements for response.
    1. A one row-three column header table. In the leftmost cell I inserted a text field. In the rightmost cell, I inserted a text field defined as a date field (properties selection when I created the field – see Part 5.)
    2. I then pressed Enter and created a title.
    3. I then created a four-row two-column table to contain 4 questions.
    4. Questions 1 and 2 pair with a text field on the right.
    5. Question 3 actually pairs with a drop down field on the right, with “rhythm of movement†having been selected as the correct answer choice.
    6. Question 4 is accompanied by a series of check boxes in the right cell.
    7. This could be continued to fit the page and subsequent pages. Lock the document and it can be supplied electronically for students to complete.

In Summary:

As introduced, the tables skills are meant to be used in a variety of ways to format pages. Combining the skill of setting up these “cells†on a page with other capabilities within Word gives you the possibility of creating documents that look better and are quite functional if delivered electronically.

A creative teacher who has the basic ability to insert pictures, learns to place various form fields on a page, and then learns to employ tables to decide how to display these items is capable of creating attractive and interactive documents that expand simple word processing skills into beginning page design. That teacher is now ready to tackle ADVANCED skills, such as merging form field input into associated databases or spreadsheets, developing web page design, and developing newsletter formats from scratch.

Email: Dan Lake

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