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Sunday, 17 December 2017

BE Project Report Editing | Master Use of Microsoft Word

   Again! The common traditional Approach to the report making of BE projects! 

The not so techie approach
Word is super powerful, yet we still consider it a common man, in one of my previous post "Don't Underestimate the Power of Microsoft Word | Tip for BE Students" I'd mentioned how powerful word is and what it can do to simplify your work while preparing reports for the BE project work.

It is required to prepare thesis and report for the consideration of a project in institute. We were also required to prepare one of such reports for our Phase 1 oral exams. The report was to include a Certificate, Acknowledgement pages, Table of contents and figures, etc. along with abstract, literature review and so on.

Here are a few common mistakes students make while using Microsoft word. 

They manually prepare the table of contents and list of figures, tables and equations 

   Word has been developed to be a word processing software, you don't need to manually feed in the labour work. Simply use the designs and heading tab to mark up the items that you have in the contents fields. People prepare and manually type in all the contents, simply endure excess extra efforts and every time they manually edit page numbers for any changes in the document. This is extremely difficult and time consuming to manually update all the changes in the document.
   I use the references tab to insert the table of contents, figures and etc.

Check out the video below to learn more on how to create the table of contents in Microsoft word
   Just assign the headings to the parts of the document and you'll see that the document is automatically having an index or what is known as the table of contents. 

No caption below the figures or Tables

The adventure to add captions!
You see the text below the figure, yes that is the caption. This is another problem I observed with most of the reports, students simply struggle to match the font and make it appear more professional when in reality it is extremely simple, just right click on the image and click on add caption, simply done. The best part of adding this captions is that you actually create an internal link within your document to prepare a list of figures. Similar is the case for list of tables as well.
Check out the video below:

They manually prepare the references section

   There's no need to struggle with the citations, the formats used in referencing such as the IEEE, APA, etc. instill a great fear in many students because typing those stuffs do really appear a bit of a nasty task. But people at Microsoft have recognized this much earlier and provided a referencing tab in it word processor. I've discussed in detail about the reference table in the article, click here to read it (just scroll down a little bit). Recently, I've been using Mendeley to the work, its a simple tool, just drop in the literature you want to cite. Then there's a word plug-in you'll need to add "Mendeley Cite-o-Matic" to use the citations tools provided by Mendeley! the best part of Mendely is that it is like Adobe reader and it allows you to read and mark up stuffs in the literature. I'll soon write an article about Mendeley.

The biggest Myth

You Cannot have all 3 sections in 1 document

    Check out this image below:
The not so techie approach
   It is the common condition of the BE project print-out folder of almost every student, they make three different files of the different sections. The probable reasons of this myth are:

  1. The page numbers in different sections are to be different, for an instance the contents page is supposed to have in the format as i, ii, iii, iv, ....etc. and the main text is supposed to have it as 1, 2, 3, 4, ..... this is certainly an issue before most people as they're not much familiar with the Word environment. They could simply create sections by using the section break from the inserts menu. The video below shall explain you how to use the section breaks in word!
  2. The next part is that you when you try to apply borders or watermarks for a certain category of pages, it by default gets applied to the entire document. This is not desirable under certain circumstances, this can be dealt by using the section breaks and then a little bit of adjustments in the document.  The video below shall explain you how to remove and add watermarks on certain pages only.
  3. This is how you can use the section break command and have all the sections in one single document, well linked and in proper accessibility.

Built-in tools that aren't commonly used by students:

      Microsoft word has a variety of tools that makes collaboration very simple and add a lot of value to your document. We worked on a single document on different computers connected via LAN. We had our guide & co-guide support us with a few technical terms by using the mark-ups and comments in the documents.

Comments & Markups

Comments and Mark Ups in the document
   Word has numerous such tools to enhance collaboration with the users all over the globe. The best part is that it allows us to collaborate and take a note of all the changes that have been made in the document by highlighting it in the red section as seen the above image. While finalizing the document you need to check and accept all the changes to confirm them. This provides a really great  platform to incorporate and get reviews from people you're working with.

Navigation Pane

Navigation Pane

   I've you've well formatted your document by using the heading designs then word will associate those headings in the navigation pane, which you can enable in your document from the view tab. It really becomes easy to jump to sections and get add-in or modify stuffs. It makes your document much more interactive and responsive to all the changes that you make over the period of time. The figure here is a screenshot from the report that I created, the navigation appears to the left of the screen and can be used to directly navigate to the required sections. 
  Any modifications made to the document automatically appear in the navigation section. So it becomes really smooth to just click on the titles that appear in the navigation pane and visit the required section. Also you can search using the pane for the terms that you wish to review.

As I said in my previous Article, 
"Don't Underestimate the Power of Microsoft Word | Tips for BE Students"

There are a lot of tools available for us to make our task simple, smooth and automate the stuffs that are most commonly referred to as 'Donkey Work' and focus more on innovation and development.
This is what makes be believe that use of word processing tools should be and integral part of the educational system in India.

Thanks for Reading!

I would like to express my gratitude to our
Project Guide, Prof. Jitesh Dhule
Project Co-guide, Mr. Amarnath CB
and all my team-mates, Mr. Gaurank Patil, Mr. Vijay Zurange, Mr. Ahad Patwekar, Mr. Amaair Ameen for their co-operation and contribution towards the successful completion of phase 1 of the project.

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