"Loafing is the most productive part of a writer's life."
How many times have you opened a menu in a word processor only to wonder what on earth all those strange and meaningless options were? All you wanted to do was make a single word Italic and all of a sudden you were presented with Macros, Tables, Markup, Speech, Track Changes...
All those options are there because someone, somewhere, working for a company that probably thinks ISO 9001 is actually important, thought it would be a really good idea if, on the second Wednesday of every third month, Jerri in Sales created a fancy table listing all the companies who have not bought product A in the previous six and a half weeks. This document would then be filed and forgotten about, but didn't it look cool with the table and the strange shading around the borders?
If that's the sort of thing you enjoy spending your time on, I'm sorry to say PageFour is not the tool for you. PageFour takes the frustration out of writing. It's hard enough choosing the right word or phrase without having to worry about pressing the right button too. Let's not even talk about annoying paper clips.
In this Section
PageFour lets you work on any number of pages at the same time. Tabbed Paging is becoming more and more popular across different software packages, simply because it is so easy to use and understand. Each page opens into a new tabbed page, allowing you to move easily between pages without having to close one before opening another.
The first time you open PageFour, tabbed paging will be switched on and the tabs will appear at the bottom of the screen. These options can be changed at any time. The View menu and the right click menus on the Format toolbar and on the tabs themselves allow you to switch tabs on or off. You may wish to do this if you are working with a very small monitor and wish to free up more space for the word processor.
Individual Pages can be closed by opening the right click menu and selecting Close Page or using the Ctrl+W shortcut keys. If you have lots of pages open, you can quickly close all pages apart from the current page by using the Close Other Pages menu option or the Ctrl+Q shortcut.
The word processor handles the most commonly used features across all word processors, with a few extra features to make your life easier. None of the complexity of the larger word processors is present, just the basic features you would probably use on a regular basis. They can be accessed from the Format menu, the Format toolbar or the shortcut keys.
Bold: Makes the selected text bold. (Ctrl+B)
Italic: Makes the selected text Italic. (Ctrl+I)
Underline: Underlines the selected text. (Ctrl+U)
Left Justify: Justifies the text to the left. (Ctrl+L)
center: Justifies the text to the center. (Ctrl+E)
Right Justify: Justifies the text to the right. (Ctrl+R)
Justify: Justifies the text. (Shift+Ctrl+J)
Indent: Indents a paragraph. (Ctrl+Tab)
Unindent: Undoes an Indent. (Shift+Tab )
Paragraph: Opens the Paragraph Options dialog. (Shift+Ctrl+P)
Numbered List: Creates a numbered list. (Shift+Ctrl+N)
Bullet List: Creates a bullet point list. (Shift+Ctrl+B)
Font: Allows you to change the font for selected text.
Font Size: Allows the font size to be changed.
Colour: Allows text colour to be changed. A special drop down menu has been created to the right of the colour button listing eight commonly used colours. Each colour has a corresponding shortcut key combination making it very easy to change colours as you type without having to open a menu or dialog.
The Format menu contains two further options:
Strikeout: Draws a line through the selected text. (Ctrl+K)
Superscript: Converts the selected text into super script. (Shift+Ctrl+U)
Once you begin using these shortcut keys, you should memorise them quickly.
When PageFour is opened for the first time, no new pages will have any special paragraph formatting. This means they will all have single line spacing, no indentations and no space before or after paragraphs.
All of these settings can be added to pages, or made defaults for all new pages. The Paragraph Options dialog can be opened from the Format menu, the right click menu in the word processor, or by selecting the paragraph button on the Format toolbar.
Paragraph Options available are:
Spacing before: This allows you to specify a number of pixels to place before each paragraph.
Spacing after: The number of pixels after each paragraph. Setting before and after values will serve to space out paragraphs and make them more readable.
Line spacing: Line spacing can be set to single (the default), one and a half lines, double, or an exact number of pixels. One and a half or double line spacing is common for manuscripts that are being sent elsewhere for evaluation, as it makes them easier to read and allows for comments to be written between lines.
Indent left: Indents a paragraph from the left.
Indent right: Indents a paragraph from the right. Indentation of paragraphs is common for blocks of quoted text.
Indent first line: Indents only the first line in a paragraph.
Paragraph settings changed from this dialog are only applied to the current paragraph. However, checking the Apply to whole page flag will cause the paragraph settings for every paragraph on the current page to be changed to the settings you have just made.
Make default for new pages: Selecting this option will cause the specified paragraph settings to become the default settings for every new page you create. These settings can of course be over-ridden at any time.
The Format toolbar allows you to set the font for text on the current page. Should you wish to set a default font for use by every new page, or simply change the font for the current page without using the mouse, you should select Font, on the Format menu.
The Font dialog allows you to change the same settings as the Format toolbar, with the addition of a StrikeOut option. After setting the font to whatever settings you wish, you may decide that these settings should be pre-set for all new pages. To so this, simply select the Make default font for all new pages option before closing the dialog.
PageFour comes with a full Spell checker and Thesaurus. These work in the same way as spell checkers in other word processors, displaying a red line under potentially misspelled words, and allowing you to select a replacement word from the list available in the right click menu.
To run a spell check on a whole page, select the Spell Check Option in the Spelling menu, or use the F7 shortcut key.
To look a word up in the Thesaurus, highlight the word and select the Thesaurus option on the Spelling menu, or use the F6 shortcut key.
Live Spell Checking - the squiggly red line which appears under potentially misspelled words as you type - can be switched on or off by using the Live Spelling option on the Spelling menu, the right click menu on the word processor, or by using the F8 shortcut key. This option is switched off by default when you open PageFour.
Selecting Options on the Spelling menu allows you to specify how the live spell checker works, which dictionaries are used, and lets you add or edit your custom dictionaries.
For users writing in languages other than English, a series of non-English dictionaries are available for download from the PageFour web-site. Full details and instructions can be found here.
There are a number of other useful features attached to the word processor. The right click menu has an option called Insert, which allows you to insert some characters automatically into your text. The options available are:
Insert Date: Allows the current date to be inserted in a variety of formats. The format in use is set on the Miscellaneous page of the Options dialog.
Unusual Character: Allows for any character from any font to be chosen and inserted. This includes all non-standard characters.
Website Address: A URL link to a web-site.
Email Address: An email address.
Quick-Insert Shortcuts: This option allows the user to set a series of shortcut keys for commonly used words, phrases or characters. It is especially useful for long names or unusual keyboard characters that require multiple key strokes to implement.
The keyboard shortcuts Ctrl+1, Ctrl+2, Ctrl+3, etc. have been adopted for use by this feature. Simply type the character, combination of characters, word, or phrase, into the edit box next to the control key combination of your choice, and from then on that key combination will insert the corresponding characters into your text.
Once you have inserted a web or email address, clicking on the link will have the same effect as clicking on a link on a web page. It will open the web-site in your internet browser or open a new email with the send-to address pre-filled.
The Tools menu has a Word Count option which counts all the words on the current page. This is especially useful if you are working on a piece that has a word limit and you do not want to overrun.
Once opened, the Word Count dialog will sit on top of the page, and update every time you move between pages or click on the Recount button.
The Take Snapshot Copy of Page option on the toolbar and the right click menu takes a copy of the current state of your page. These Snapshots are stored and can be viewed or rolled back to at any point, making it easy to make major changes to your work without worrying about whether you may wish to undo the changes later on.
At any point when working in the word processor you can Jump to the current page's notebook. This removes the focus from the word processor, opens the current notebook window if you had previously closed it, and highlights the current page. If a different notebook was expanded in the notebook pane on the left, the notebook that contains the current page will be opened in its place and the current page highlighted. This allows you to quickly find related pages in the same chapter without having to scan menus and move the mouse too much. Use the right click menu option or the Ctrl+J shortcut key.
Shortcut keys exist for all common options in the word processor. Most of these shortcuts correspond to the shortcuts used by the larger word processing packages, which should make them quick to learn and remember. This means that once you start work, you should be able to write for hours without ever needing to use the mouse.