Using MS Word
If you are serious about writing and not confident using Microsoft Word, I would definitely recommend applying through your local Library to see if they have any free or cheap online courses that you are eligible to take.
If you are confident about using Word, but are not familiar with some of the advanced options, such as Creating an Index, Creating/ Using Styles (very important for us, as publishers we use them for everything), or Creating a Contents List (and updating it), then you should look for an Intermediate / Advanced Course. You may even find help, online, that just fills in the gaps and brings you up to date with the latest versions of Microsoft Office.
If you are an Advanced user, but unsure what advantages there are in using Styles – I would say that it adds less than three minutes to every Chapter you write, if you use styles as you are writing your book – it takes several tedious hours to apply them afterwards. You might find this link useful http://www.techhive.com/article/260668/10_microsoft_word_style_secrets.html Styles are used in nearly every book we publish – we may change the appearance of the style – making it unique for that book – but the basic concepts carry across. The commonest presets that we set immediately we start writing are:
- First Paragraph (set to the left Edge of the Text Area) which is then followed by…
- Normal Paragraph Text (slightly indented first line)
For the more experienced user, we recommend:
- Section Title Fonts – if required (Heading 1)
- Chapter (Heading 2) Fonts, Size, Formatting
For the enthusiastic embracer of Word Styles, we suggest:
- Frontispiece Text First Para
- Frontispiece Text Normal
- Acknowledgement Text Header
- Acknowledgement Text First Para
- Acknowledgement Text Normal (centred)
- Header and Footer Fonts
If all that sounds too complicated, then just concentrate on the author’s key three styles when writing the core book – Chapter Heading – First Para and Normal.