Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Theodor Seuss Geisel, more affectionately known as Dr. Seuss, was born on March 2, 1904. According to one biography, it was The Cat in the Hat, written as a children’s primer containing 220 vocabulary words, that made Dr. Seuss a household name. But like most authors, Seuss had his fair share of trial and tribulation–his first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was rejected 27 times before finally being published.

 Suess Books

Even though my son and daughter are well into adulthood, the bookshelves in my house still contain dozens of Seuss books. The books hold such wonderful memories of the days when my kids and I would just “sit and read” for hours on end, with me reading aloud one Seuss story after another and often times rereading the favorites again and again. Eventually, first my son and then my daughter read the stories to me. And then finally the books sat more or less unopened as my kids moved on to other things. I didn’t give it a second thought; it seemed like a natural progression.

Strange thing with the Seuss books though is that we have had occasions to return to them. When the “Grinch” movie came out, my kids wanted to review the story as presented in the book. When social and environmental issues were discussed in school, Horton Hears a Who!, The Lorax, and The Sneetches seemed to take on new meaning. Of special significance to my whole family is Green Eggs and Ham, which we all read again when my daughter landed the role of Sam I Am in her school’s adaptation of Seussical the Musical.

Copyright Beth Brown

How appropriate that the last book Dr. Seuss worked on bridged the gap between young and old(er). Oh, The Places You’ll Go! reflects a message of both wisdom and motivation and is a treasure for every high school and college graduate and anyone else who hasn’t read it. Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss, and thank you for your timeless masterpieces that have far-reaching appeal for the young and the not-so-young who are wise enough to want to hear the messages you reveal through laughter, silliness, and captivating illustrations.

Note: This is an update to a post made March 2, 2015.

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The Easy Way to Use Word 2016

Using Word 2016? Perhaps you’ve watched videos to learn how to set tab stops, create tables, and format a Word document. Maybe you’ve even taken a class where you muddled through the 1,000+ page textbook. You’ve mastered the skills and now you’re ready to apply your knowledge.

But, wait. You’re scratching your head and looking at the beautifully formatted document that’s ready to be distributed to the customer mailing list you’ve so carefully cultivated and now you can’t quite remember the steps for mail merge.


What do you do? Hop on YouTube and hope you hit it lucky with the right video that hopefully won’t require 20 minutes of your time? Or are you going to flip through that doorstopper of a textbook? There is another option… Flip to page 67 of your concise, convenient, 1/4″ thick copy of Microsoft Word 2016 In 90 Pages and follow the quick and easy step-by-step instructions (with helpful screenshots) to achieve your goal with time leftover to get a coffee.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

And just in case you are deep into the mail merge process, here’s a tip you may find helpful (it’s also on page 70 of Microsoft Word 2016 In 90 Pages):

Store Your Address in Word

Before you start the steps for printing envelopes or labels, you may want to store your return address in Word so that it can automatically be used during the merge process:

  1. Click File > Options > Advanced. A dialog box is displayed.
  2. Scroll to the General options and type your return address in the Mailing address box.
  3. Click OK.

Good luck!

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Publishing in Word 2016

Microsoft Word 2016 In 90 Pages is a concise, relevant guide with targeted, step-by-step instructions for achieving the results you want for your documents. But did you also know that Word 2016 was the software used to write, layout, and publish Microsoft Word 2016 In 90 Pages? The cover was also created using Word 2016. Only the screenshots required a different software application.

A spread from Microsoft Word 2016 In 90 Pages.

The experience was intentional. What better way to explore the depths of Word 2016 than to use it to create and publish a book? Here are the basic steps I followed:

  1. Decide on the trim size for the book before starting the development process. Trim size refers to the final page size for a book. There are standard sizes that vary depending on publishing platform. I used CreateSpace and chose 7.44″ x 9.69″ trim size.
  2. Create a Word document with a page size that matches the trim size for the book.
  3.  Set margins. Although this can be tweaked throughout the process, it is best to consciously think about how much white space you want around the edges of your content. With a book, you also have to consider the gutter, or inside margin area.
  4. Write the content. Okay, I’m oversimplifying here, but the point is to write (type) the content without regard to the final layout. This is the phase where there will be a lot of editing, moving text, and so on. The only layout concern at this point is to separate each chapter with a section break.
  5. Add front matter and end matter. This will vary depending on the type of book, but in general, add the title page, copyright page, preface, table of contents, and index, using section breaks to separate them from other content.
  6. Add headers and footers. Here is where you’ll be glad you used section breaks because your headers and footers will vary from section to section, and the only way to have different headers and footers in the same document is to use section breaks.
  7. Finalize layout. Position images and add page breaks to create a better flow within chapters.
  8. Generate a PDF and upload to the publishing platform!

word-2016-full-coverThe cover as it appears in the Word window.

To create the cover, I used the following steps:

  1. Create a Word document with a page size that matches the cover. You will need to consider front, spine, and rear panels. The spine size depends on page count.
  2. Add a text box to the front panel area and create your content.
  3. Add a text box to the spine area and create your content.
  4. Add a text box to the back panel area and create your content. Leave room for the barcode, if needed.
  5. Generate a PDF and upload to the publishing platform!

There are, of course, several additional details to each step, but in general, this is how’s it done.

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Word 2016 Paragraph Formats: Alignment, Indents, and Spacing

Need help with your paragraph formatting in Word 2016? Check out the next video for Microsoft Word 2016 In 90 Pages. The transcript is below. Feedback is welcome!


0:00 Word 2016 Paragraph Formats: Alignment, Indents, and Spacing
0:06 From the book Microsoft Word 2016 In 90 Pages
0:13 by Beth Brown
0:15 Paragraph formats are used to
0:18 Position text within the margins of a document
0:21 Change the amount of indentation on the left and right of a paragraph in reference to the margins
0:29 Change the amount of space before of after a paragraph.
0:34 and change the amount of space between lines in a paragraph.
0:41 There are five ways to align text
0:46 Left, Centered, Right, Justified, and Center
0:51 Left, Centered, Right, and Justified refer to the left and right margins.
0:56 Center alignment refers to the paragraph placement between the top and bottom of the page.
1:07 Commands on the Home tab
1:08 Quickly change paragraph alignment
1:11 Left is the default, Centered places text equidistant between the left and right margins,
1:18 Right aligns the text to the right margin,
1:24 and Justified pads spacing in the text to align with both the left and right margins.
1:36 You can also align a paragraph within a page
1:39 Vertical alignment set to Center
1:42 will place the paragraph between the top and bottom of the page.
2:01 Paragraph indentation includes
2:05 Left, Right, First Line, and Hanging
2:09 Here we have three paragraphs that we will indent
2:17 A first line indent, not a tab, should be used to move the first line of a paragraph in.
2:24 To do this, we can use the First Line Indent marker on the Ruler.
2:29 Simply drag it to move the first line in.
2:35 You can also use the Paragraph dialog box
2:40 to enter an exact indent measurement.
2:53 To make a quote stand out
2:55 indent both the left and right.
3:02 We can use Increase Indent on the Home tab. Each click moves the paragraph in by 0.5 inches.
3:10 Or, we can use the Paragraph dialog box and set the left and right at once.
3:28 We can also use the Layout tab to set indents.
3:39 And finally, for a more visual approach, you can drag the indent markers on the Ruler.
3:57 Hanging indents are created with the Paragraph dialog box.
4:17 Or by dragging the Hanging Indent marker on the Ruler.
4:34 Paragraph spacing can include space before a paragraph and space after.
4:41 Paragraph spacing is set in points.
4:46 The default format is 0 points before 10 point after.
4:55 Here we have several paragraphs.
4:57 To change the spacing for all the paragraphs at once
5:00 use the Paragraph Spacing command on the Design tab.
5:03 This is great when yo’ve written a paper that needs to be double spaced.
5:08 Notice that these options also change line spacing as well as paragraph spacing.
5:15 To change paragraph spacing for individual paragraphs or a set of selected paragraphs
5:22 use the commands on the Layout tab
5:40 Or display the Paragraph dialog box and set the options there.
6:05 Line spacing
6:06 The default paragraph format is 1.15 lines.
6:09 You can set line spacing relative to the number of lines or points.
6:18 Line spacing refers to the space between lines
6:21 You can quickly change line spacing with the Line & Paragraph Spacing command on the Home tab.
6:33 For more options use the Paragraph dialog box.
6:37 Here, you can set the exact spacing in points.
6:55 Tips
6:56 Use the Paragraph dialog box to set several formats at once.
7:03 Use Design Paragraph Spacing commands to change the line and paragraph spacing for every paragraph in the document.
7:11 Use commands in the Paragraph group on the Layout tab to quickly change indents and paragraph spacing.
7:24 That’s it for now. You can also refer to Microsoft Word 2016 In 90 Pages for step-by-step instructions for changing paragraph formats.

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Cut the Fluff, Get to the Stuff


The title of my post refers to the basic concept behind the In 90 Pages books. I’ve been teaching, lecturing, promoting, and using Microsoft Office since 1995 (Office 95, aka Office 7). I’ve written many textbooks more than 400 pages in length, and they served their purpose. But now I’m meeting more and more students who haven’t been able to take a computer applications class, yet are expected to “just know” how to properly format a Word document, or put together an effective PowerPoint presentation, and even present their data in Excel using charts.

On the professional side, I’ve talked to business people who felt limited in their knowledge of Word. Business letters that “did the job” but lacked the polish were the norm. Where a formatted table would have grabbed the reader’s attention, the extra time required to learn tables meant that plain text data separated by tabs had to be used.

When my daughter started college last August, she didn’t want her papers to be judged by a poorly formatted bibliography or headers that weren’t properly aligned. But she also didn’t have time to wade through a thick book about Microsoft Word on top of her other class work. She needed a concise reference for quickly achieving the results she wanted.

You get the picture. All the influences around me screamed for Word resources that provided answers NOW, QUICK and TO THE POINT.

You want to create a table, insert a graphic, put that formula in a document? Don’t muddle through a 350-page book when the answers are in 90. Cut the fluff, and get to the stuff!

It gets even better with the Kindle Interactive Edition of Microsoft Word 2016 In 90 Pages. The eBook edition is formatted to have exactly the same page layout as the print edition with the added bonus of video plugins. For example, you can read the steps for creating a table and click the video icon to see how to create a table.

Do you have specific challenges when using Word 2016? I’d like to know. Please comment or email. My goal is to create the resources you want.

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Microsoft Word 2016 In 90 Pages Kindle Countdown Deal


Take action! Microsoft Word 2016 In 90 Pages Kindle edition will be available at the promotional price of just $0.99 tomorrow, Thursday, January 19, starting at 8:00 am. The Kindle version of Word 2016 In 90 Pages has exactly the same page layout as the print version. It looks great on your Fire tablets and free Kindle reading apps for iPad, iPhone, Android phones, Android tablets, PC, and Mac.

And the deals continue…
Thursday, 1/19, the price is just $0.99
Friday, 1/20, the price moves to $1.99
Saturday, 1/21, the price goes up to $2.99, still about $3.00 below the normal $5.95 price.


Even more, the Kindle version includes video plugins. When you get to a Word 2016 topic that has a related video, click the movie camera icon and watch the instructional video right from within your eBook.

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Word 2016 Tables

Need help with your Word 2016 tables? Check out the next video for Microsoft Word 2016 In 90 Pages. The transcript is below. Feedback is welcome!


0:06 Word 2016 Tables from the book Word 2016 In 90 Pages by Beth Brown
0:11 Tables are used to organize, data, text, and graphics into rows and columns.
0:17 You can sort data stored in rows.
0:20 Or make calculations based on the data in cells.
0:25 Tables provide a structured alternative to tabs and tab stops.
0:31 Let’s create a table to present the results from a conference.
0:35 First step is to place the insertion point where you want the table.
0:42 Next, on the Insert tab, click Table
0:44 And then hover over the grid until you highlight the table size you want.
0:50 I want t 2 by 4 table. Two columns and four rows.
0:53 Now, click to insert the table.
0:59 A table is comprised of cells where a cell is at the intersection of a row and column.
1:05 A table also has a table move handle.
1:09 Click to select the entire table. Drag the Table Move handle to move the table to a new location.
1:16 Word has lots of Table Styles…
1:21 These are pre-set and as you can see many of these have a formatted first column.
1:28 These settings are due to the Table Style Options.
1:31 You can select and clear these options to change the pre-set table styles.
1:36 So I’m going to clear the first column. Now let’s take a look at our table styles.
1:40 There I like this one. (Option is clicked.)
1:45 The insertion point is already in the first cell.
1:48 So I am going to go ahead and type the table heading.
1:53 I want this heading to be centered over the entire table.
1:58 To do this, I’m going to select the cells in the first row, go the Layout tab, and merge cells.
2:04 Then I’m going to change the alignment to centered.
2:07 Finally, I’m going to change the font size.
2:11 to make it larger for the heading.
2:15 Now for the column headings…
2:17 When you type text into a table, the best way to move from cell to cell is to press the Tab key.
2:25 So let’s change the font size on these headings.
2:29 Highlight them and then change your font size.
2:33 Now for the rest of the table data.
2:46 I’ve realized I need one more row for data.
2:51 One way to do this is to go to the Layout tab and select Insert Above or Insert Below for rows. Columns can be inserted with Insert Left and Insert Right.
2:58 If you hover to the left of your table though, you’ll see an insert control.
3:03 Click where you want a new row.
3:12 Now that I have all my table data, I’m going to change the column widths.
3:17 by pointing to the column divider until I see the double-headed arrow and then dragging.
3:26 Next, I want to sort the data in this table.
3:29 So, I’m going to highlight the rows to be sorted
3:33 and then on the Layout tab, click Sort.
3:38 I’m going to sort these on the number of Orders.
3:41 And I want to put it in Descending order so I can see the highest orders first.
3:47 There we go.
3:47 Now, this table will be great if we can add a summary.
3:51 So, let’s insert another row.
3:55 Put in a label for the summary and we’ll right-align it since it’s not really a product name.
4:02 Now, let’s add a formula that sums up the orders.
4:06 Notice that Word automatically chose the SUM(ABOVE).
4:10 You can choose other functions in the Paste Functions list.
4:14 I want the format of the number to have a comma.
4:18 And there we go. Automatically sums up out data for us.
4:23 Let’s get rid of the formatting marks so we can see out table.
4:31 More on Tables
4:33 Click Insert Insert Table on the Ribbon to display a dialog box where a table of any size can be specified.
4:44 Convert paragraphs of tab separated text into a table by selecting all the text and then clicking Insert Convert Text to Table.
4:54 Finally, go to Amazon.com for a copy of Microsoft Word 2016 In 90 Pages for more information about tables.
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New Books In 90 Pages Coming Soon!

The newest Belleyre Books publication, Microsoft Word 2016 In 90 Pages, is just the first book in the In 90 Pages series. Next up is Microsoft Excel 2016 In 90 Pages, available this February. Expect Microsoft PowerPoint 2016 In 90 Pages in early April. Both books will use the same straight-to-the-point, step-by-step approach that has been so successful in Microsoft Word 2016 In 90 Pages.

microsoft_word_2016_cover-with-border excel-front-cover powerpoint-front-cover

Also, keep looking for new videos on the Belleyre Books YouTube channel. New videos corresponding to the In 90 Pages books will be added weekly!

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How to Set Tab Stops in Word 2016

Check out the first video for Microsoft Word 2016 In 90 Pages. The Belleyre Books YouTube channel will be supporting the In 90 Pages series of books with short videos that explore key concepts. This first video explains how to set tab stops using the ruler. All videos will be short and to the point, just like the In 90 Pages series of books. The transcript is below. Feedback is welcome!

Tabs thumbnail.jpg

0:00 How to Set Tab Stops in Word 2016
0:05 from the book Microsoft Word 2016 In 90 Pages by Beth Brown
0:10 Tab Stops Are Used To:
0:12 Exactly position text within a line.
0:16 Align data into columns to form a table.
0:20 Add a vertical line in text with the bar tab stop.
0:30 Include a tab leader with characters to fill the space before the tab stop. For example, the underscore characters are used to create a blank in a form and the dot leaders are used for a table of contents.
0:40 Okay, so let’s get started. Step 1: Type Your Content
0:45 Type your text to be formatted with tab stops, separating data with tabs and ending each line by pressing Enter.
0:53 Note that text will not appear aligned until after custom tab stops are set.
1:24 [Typing]
1:25 Step 2: Select Text to Format
1:27 Place the insertion point in the paragraph to format one line of text.
1:31 Or, select multiple lines when adjoining paragraphs are to be formatted.
1:44 Step 3: Add Tab Stops Using the Ruler
1:48 If the ruler is not showing, click View > Ruler on the Ribbon.
1:53 Adding tab stops is a 2-step process…
1:57 First, click the tab selector above the vertical ruler until you display the desired tab stop.
2:04 ScreenTips indicate the tab type.
2:07 Click the horizontal ruler to insert the tab stop, and then drag the stop to any position on the ruler.
2:14 Repeat this 2-step process for additional tab stops.
2:21 The right tab stop is often used to align numeric data.
2:34 The bar tab stop is great for separating data.
2:40 Now, we just need to add a left tab stop to better align our Comments column.
2:53 Let’s get rid of the highlighting…
2:55 And remove the formatting marks so we can see how great our formatting looks.
3:03 And there we have our tab stops.
3:08 Using the Tabs Dialog Box
3:10 You can also double-click a stop to display the Tabs dialog box.
3:15 From here, you can set tab stops and tab leaders.
3:20 Let’s create a short form
3:30 [typing]
3:32 We’ll select all three lines because we want the tab formatting to affect each line.
3:40 First, we select the tab stop, double-click, select the leader, and there we have our form.
3:47 Let’s hide the formatting marks just to see how great it looks.
3:55 Tips
3:58 Use tabs and tab stops, not spaces to align text within a line.
4:02 Do not use a tab to indent the first line of a paragraph. Use a first line indent instead.
4:09 When it comes to extensive data, tabs and tab stops may be better replaced with a Word table.
4:22 That’s it for now. To learn more about tabs, tab stops, indents, Word tables, and more, check out my book Microsoft Word 2016 In 90 Pages on Amazon.com
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Microsoft Word 2016 in 90 pages

The essential guide, Microsoft Word 2016 in 90 pages ($6.95) is now available at Amazon.com. Perfect for anyone using Microsoft Word 2016 for Windows. Basic through advanced topics are covered for every level of computer user. Professionals will enjoy the straightforward steps for mail merge, tables, and other advanced features. Students will find guided instructions for bibliographies, page numbering, footnotes, and other topics relevant to their specific needs.


Microsoft Word 2016 in 90 pages guides you through the process of creating professional-looking documents. With step-by-step instructions, screenshots, and tables detailing Word commands and features, you will be immediately on track to making the most impact. Look inside to learn how to:

  • Create and format a document using practices that optimize layout
    and design.
  • Improve your message with Word’s spelling checker and thesaurus.
  • Clarify your ideas with bulleted and numbered lists.
  • Use tables to easily sort data and make calculations.
  • Display page numbers, titles, and other information in headers
    and footers.
  • Learn about using outlines and the Navigation pane for making document development easier.
  • Insert pictures and then size, rotate, crop, and edit images.
  • Convey your message through shapes, WordArt, SmartArt, charts, and text boxes
  • Master mail merge to generate personalized documents, envelopes, and labels.
  • Include long document features such as a table of contents, bookmarks, cover pages, and bibliographies.
  • Collaborate with others on document development with the Track Changes feature.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments. Educational and quantity discounts are available.

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