Recently my wife came to me, laptop in hand, wanting to know why some Word documents looked different than others.
In other words, some spanned the entire width of the screen and had very large text, while others seemed to show the entire page at once, with much smaller text. Occasionally she'd see a file with two side-by-side pages.
What's working all this weird Word voodoo? No, it has nothing to do with font size: It's all about the zoom.
Word's zoom control affects how much of any given document is visible on your screen at a time. The higher the zoom, the bigger your document will appear--and the less of it you'll see.
The documents you create probably all employ the same zoom setting, one you're comfortable with. But if someone else sends you a Word file, it may open at a completely different zoom level--because that's how it was created and saved.
The trick lies in knowing where to find Word's zoom settings so you can tweak them to your liking. In Word 2010 (and, I believe, 2007), look in the lower-right corner of the screen. You'll see a line with a minus sign at one end, a plus sign at the other, and a slider in the middle.
Open any document, then click that plus sign a few times to see what happens. Repeat the process with the minus sign. See? Your document may appear to jump all over the screen, but you're really just adjusting the zoom.
You can also click the number that appears just to the left of that zoom control. That brings up Word's zoom-control dialog, where you can quickly zoom to a couple popular settings or enter a zoom percentage manually. My advice: experiment!
That answered my wife's Word questions, and I hope it answers yours as well. If you have any others, don't hesitate to ask! (Though she makes me cookies when I help her with computer stuff. Just saying.)
Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at firstname.lastname@example.org, or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PC World Community Forums. Sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.