Monday, October 7, 2013

From My Archive: A Few Automated Tasks in Word Every Genealogist Should Know

If you use MS Word for genealogy in any form here are few automated tasks you should learn. See the start of this post is you're wondering why this is "From My Archive."
[From 2009]
These suggestions mainly pertain to using Word to write a longer genealogy article or family history. Hopefully if you do a lot of writing in Word, you already use, or at least know of, these. If not, open up Word's help feature and start learning!

1. Use automatic page numbering, not just 1, 2, 3 but also i, ii, iii and any other subgroups of pages you need to number differently.
2. For chapters or sections (or both in a longer work), use automatic numbering in the Chapter (or section) title.
3. Bookmark your chapter/section numbers and titles for later cross-reference.
3b. Use the same method for citations you want to reference, elsewhere.
4. Use automatic numbering for figures, tables, or other 'inserts.'
5. Use Word's built in "Tables" to create your Table of Contents, Table of Figures, etc.
6. Create macros for any other repetitive tasks. Remember, Word may already have a button for part of the task but if you have to enter tabs, spaces, or identical text after pushing that button, it's a perfect task for a macro.

Make sure you've investigated automated options for anything else that requires sequential numbering or that will be referenced elsewhere. Once you do, you'll be free to insert and change without fear of forgetting to manually update. There are often multiple ways to speed up any task, one of them should work for you.

[A 2013 Update]
You should be reporting to yourself which is perfect for using Word and even better for using automated tasks. To speed up professional tasks I've created macros for the sources (mainly online) I use the most. This is even faster than the source guides in any of the genealogy software I've used and can be copied and pasted into multiple documents (think research notes, report, log, etc.).