Microsoft Word 2010 has always been far more than a word processor. We outline how to use it to produce a PDF newsletter for online and email distribution.

Although Microsoft Word 2010 is a word processor, it has always done far more than simply allow you to type in words, format a letter or rattle off your CV for a job application. It can be used for producing and formatting lengthy documents, such as detailed reports, or even for writing entire books.

But it’s not just vast numbers of pages that are supported by Word. Microsoft’s word processor allows for a great deal of control over page layout and design; it’s also useful as a text editor for creating blogs and web pages.

Key to its usefulness here is Microsoft’s inclusion of templates. These can be used for designing flyers, newsletters and so on. Earlier versions of Word handled such projects rather clumsily, but Word 2010 is a viable tool for lightweight desktop-publishing tasks.

Photos and graphics can be embedded in documents; you can also anchor elements and embed hyperlinks. Support for these features, plus the ability to jump to parts of a document based on the assigned formatting, provide a degree of interactivity.

The Template gallery contains plenty of useful documents to start you off. The preview is of a sufficiently high resolution to make browsing worthwhile, and you can quickly toggle between colour schemes and font options.

Publishing View is much improved too, making editing document content easier than ever. Completed documents can be printed or exported to a variety of formats, including PDF, which is ideal for sharing documents across platforms.

Create a PDF newsletter in Microsoft Word 2010

Step 1: Choose a template. Go to File, ‘New from Template’, Gallery. Templates are listed in the left pane – note that additional ‘Online Templates’ are installed with Microsoft Office 2010. Use the box at the top right to search for terms such as ‘newsletter’ and narrow down the options presented.

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Step 2: Review the options. Two drop-down menus below the preview allow you to trial different colour schemes and fonts. The preview updates with each change; use the arrow buttons to flip through the preview pages. Click ‘Choose’ to apply an option and begin editing the document in the word processor.

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Microsoft Word 2010 has always been far more than a word processor. We outline how to use it to produce a PDF newsletter for online and email distribution.

Step 3: Use colour carefully. Good design depends upon the careful choice of fonts and colours. Documents work best with those that complement the theme. In our example of a ‘Carnivorous Plants’ newsletter for a gardening club, a simple font, Arial, is used with shades of leafy green.

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Step 4: Add your text. By default, text boxes contain ‘lorem ipsum’ placeholder text. Text boxes can be typed into directly, or the copy can be pasted in from other sources, such as emails. When pasting text, automatically apply formatting options to match your box by selecting Edit, Paste Special, Unformatted Text.

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Step 5: Use master pages. To edit items that appear on every page, such as the date and issue number, click the Master Pages tab at the bottom right of the screen and select the correct template. The first and last pages will use different templates, incorporating your masthead and other decorative elements.

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Step 6: Create visual styles. The Styles tab in the Toolbox offers a preview of text styles. Open the Toolbox via its button on the toolbar. The style applied to selected text appears at the top of the palette. To modify styles, click on the paragraph symbol next to a style and edit the text settings accordingly.

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Microsoft Word 2010 has always been far more than a word processor. We outline how to use it to produce a PDF newsletter for online and email distribution.

Step 7: Link text boxes. A letter ‘A’ appears at the bottom of text boxes that have overflowing copy. Select a text box, click the ‘Create Link’ button on the Format ribbon, then click in another text box to flow text from the first box to the second. To disconnect boxes, select the first box and click ‘Break Link’.

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Step 8: Add images. Images can be dragged on to the document from Windows Explorer on a PC or Finder on a Mac. Double-click an image box and Word displays the Format Picture ribbon. Here you can tweak aspects such as the border and adjust the way text flows around the image. Drag the corners of an image box to resize it.

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Step 9: Pan and zoom. To crop an image, click the Crop button on the Format Picture ribbon, then hold Shift and drag the corners of the image to scale it up. Click and drag the silhouette version of the image to move it around inside the image box. Click elsewhere on the page to implement the changes.

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Step 10: Image filters. The Format Picture ribbon offers various filters that turn ordinary photos into more interesting graphics that can be used to decorate the document. In this case, combining the Soft-Edge Rectangle border with the Paint Strokes filter has turned a photo of a pot plant into a banner for the top of an article.

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Microsoft Word 2010 has always been far more than a word processor. We outline how to use it to produce a PDF newsletter for online and email distribution.

Step 11: Remove background clutter. Select an image and click the ‘Remove Background’ button to delete its background. The foreground is bound by a marquee, and the background is tinted purple. By resizing the marquee, or by clicking-and-dragging, you can add or exclude parts of the image.

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Step 12: Full-screen preview. Select View, Full Screen to review the document in a clutter-free environment. Try setting the zoom to ‘Whole Page’ to see one page at a time, then adjust the text and image boxes as required. A ribbon at the top of the screen provides access to all the most important tools and functions.

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Step 13: Proofing tools. Besides the usual spelling and grammar checks, Word now has a useful ‘Compatibility Report’ palette on the Toolbox that checks the document’s compatibility with other versions of Word. Clicking the Help button opens the help file, making it easier to understand and rectify each error.

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Step 14: Publish online. PDFs are platform-neutral documents that are ideal for sharing as email attachments or on websites. Choose File, Save As, then select PDF. It’s a good idea to review the PDF on both a Windows machine and a Mac before distributing it, just to check it looks right.

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