by Kendall Callas
Many of WordPerfect 5.1's default settings can be improved to make your work faster and safer. Press the Setup key (Shift+F1) and we'll take a tour to make sure all the best selections have been made on your system.
Under [Setup 2-Display 1-Colors/Fonts/Attributes], select Underline font if it's available. Now you'll see underlined text actually underlined on-screen instead of shaded.
Glasses wearers and those privileged with window offices will thank you for this tip. Screens near windows or bright lights usually suffer visibility problems. The Bold used to highlight the menu selection letters may not appear distinctly. To make the menus easy to see, choose simple highlighting or a better foreground/background color combination.
Under [Setup 2-Display 4-Menu Options 1-Menu Letter Display], select [2-Appearance 8-Redline] to display menu command letters with a highlighted background, or select [1-Size 6-Very Large or 7-Extra Large] to try a variety of different colors. (You may wish to finetune the Setup Display Colors/Fonts Screen Colors menu; perhaps change a little-used attribute like Redline or Small Caps to appear both underlined and bold, and select that attribute for Menu Letter Display.)
Have your users forgotten that WordPerfect 5.1 offers a handy system of "pull-down" menus? Did they ever know? Open their eyes for a week (or forever) by turning on permanent display of the (top-of-screen) menu bar with [Setup 2-Display 4-Menu Options 8-Menu Bar Remains Visible Yes].
To encourage use of the pull-down menus, use [Setup 2-Display 4-Menu Options 4-Alt Key Selects Pull-Down Menu Yes] to set the Alt key alone to activate the menu (instead of Alt=).
Many typists like to see "carriage return" symbols as they're typing onto the edit screen -- those invisible hard return codes [HRt] you place with the Enter key. They make it easier to count blank lines and to tell where a line with trailing spaces or tabs actually ends. The paragraph symbol is good for this -- ASCII 20 (¶). At the [Setup 2-Display 6-Edit-Screen Options 4-Hard Return Display Character] menu, hold down the Alt key, type the numbers 2 then 0 on the numeric keypad, then release Alt.
You may also use Ctrl+V set#,char# (such as Ctrl+V 5,18 for a hollow block) to insert symbols from the 11 character sets. (See the WordPerfect Manual, Appendix P: WordPerfect Characters to choose from a variety of symbols.)
[Setup 3-Environment 1-Backup Options] offers a good opportunity to balance risks. Yes, keep timed backups turned on -- they may save you a few hours some day when the equipment or power fails. But don't mistake more for better; 30 minutes is about right -- it's a mistake to go below 20. Balance the risk of abnormal termination (once a year?) against the aggravation of regular momentary interruptions in response time (twice an hour or more). Saving ten minutes reconstructing a document a year from now is not a good enough reason to impose a performance penalty every ten minutes. If you suffer from poor response time, consider turning this feature off [Setup 3-Environment 1-Backup Options 1-Timed Document Backup No].
More useful is the ability to keep a backup copy of each document you edit. Set the [Setup 3-Environment 1-Backup Options 2-Original Document Backup] feature to Yes so that WordPerfect will leave behind a safety duplicate file (with the same filename but the extension .BK!) of each file you change. This eats disk space, though, so it is wise to sweep your document directories periodically to delete the *.BK! files. This feature offers worthwhile protection against human error (accidental deletion or corruption of documents). Even better, though, is to stress frequent backup of modified files.
[Setup 3-Environment 2-Beep Options] lets you increase auditory participation. Set all the Beep options to yes, especially for your users with poor vision.
[Setup 3-Environment 3-Cursor Speed] is where you can boost your keyboard repetition rate -- how fast a key "stutters" when you hold it down.
Use [Setup 3-Environment 4-Document Management/Summary] to turn on two important features, Document Summaries and Long Document Names. Set [1-Create Summary on Save/Exit Yes] if you wish stronger document management in your office. This will present the typist with an on-screen form to fill out when first saving each document. These forms automatically capture the document's creation date, and offer fields to record author's and typist's names, as well as subject, account, keywords, and abstract. Document summaries may be printed, or accumulated into a master file, and are especially valuable when scanning documents with the List Files/F5 9-Find feature.
Long document names are a mixed blessing; I know of few firms using them. The benefit of lengthy descriptive filenames is usually outweighed by a several second delay of the List Files/F5 screen. Each file must be opened first to extract the long filename, then alphabetized, before the screen is displayed.
If your people think in typewriter units, not inches, set [Setup 3-Environment 8-Units of Measure] to display in "WP 4.2 units" (6 lines per inch vertically, 10 characters per inch horizontally).
At the [Setup 4-Initial Settings 5-Initial Codes] menu, you can change the factory settings to tailor features to your most common needs. Onto this reveal codes screen, use the usual commands to place codes to permanently adjust:
You may also wish to adjust the Graphic Box Options [Graphics/Alt+F9] and Date Format [Setup 4-Initial Settings 2-Date Format.
Use [Setup 4-Initial Settings 6-Repeat Value 35] to change the Repeat Value of the ESCape key to a number (of keystroke repetitions) that you might realistically use. This infrequently used feature is perhaps most handy in speeding creation of a signature line with the hyphen or underscore. (Try it: ESCape, 35 -)
If you prefer different assumptions in formatting your citations with dot leaders, underlining, or blank lines, make adjustments to [Setup 4-Initial Settings 7-Table of Authorities].
You can improve printing speed of multiple copies on most laser printers by signaling the printer to generate the duplicates itself. Select 2-Printer from [Setup 4-Initial Settings 8-Print Options 2-Number of Copies].
Fill out the [Setup 6-Location of Files] screen as completely as possible. Enter the names of the directories where graphics and spreadsheet files are located to aid users who eventually explore these advanced features. Unless you have specific reasons for not doing so, it's best to explicitly set the locations for Documents, Backups, Macros, Thesaurus/Spell dictionaries, and the Style library directory and filename (commonly LIBRARY.STY or STYLE.LIB). Networked users with hard disk-equipped PCs should set the Backup directory to their local hard disk; this will prevent Timed Backup files from clogging the network pipeline and eliminate confidentiality worries (while a document is being edited, its backup file can be viewed on the file server unless appropriately protected).
Default Font Select the most commonly used style and size of lettering from the [Print/Shift+F7 Select 3-Edit 5-Initial Base Font] menu.
Print to Hardware Port To speed printing to a parallel or serial (non-network) printer, you can direct WordPerfect to send text directly to the printer port with [Print/Shift+F7 Select 3-Edit 7-Print to Hardware Port Yes]. Weigh the speed improvement against the drawbacks of reduced error handling and the bypassing of any print spooler/redirection software.