Imagine the old world writers, ink pen in hand poring over a simple white sheet of paper. Nothing, but a flicker of an oil lamp to take their attention away from their work. Fast forward to the modern writer and his word processor. Keeping the eyeballs riveted on the screen is a tough task because the modern computer with its umpteen processes is a concentration damper.
Many writers prefer a simple text editor sans the frills. Something like a Notepad or writing tools which are generically called “˜minimalist text editors’. I relate them to a horse’s blinker. They serve their utility in that they cut off all distraction between the writer’s eye and his words on the screen.
I wrote my first sentences on MS Word and have always liked its power. Even with all its options, maybe one could make it ape a “˜minimalist text editor’.
The idea then, is to simulate a minimalist text editor like Darkroom with a black background, a contrasting font color and an ‘easy on the eyes’ font face. To get the complete real estate for writing and to do away with the distractions, its full-screen view minus MS Word 2007’s ribbon and the Windows Taskbar. But, with the spellchecker and the mini-formatting toolbar remaining in action.
- Start up MS Word 2007. Create a blank document from Office button – New – Blank Document.
- Change the layout of the page to Web Layout. This can be done from View – Web Layout. Alternatively, from the layout buttons located on the bottom right of Word’s status bar.
- Set the page color to black for one part of the high contrast effect. Click on Page Layout – Page Color.
- The other part involves setting up a high contrast font. On the Home tab select the Normal style. Right click and choose Modify”¦
- In the Modify Style box, change the font face to Lucida Console and the font color to green (or any other cool color you are comfortable with). You can also set other options like spacing and indents.
- Save as a Word Template from the Office button – Save As – Word Template.
To view our template in full screen now, we have to follow two steps:
- Click the Office Button – Word Options – Customize. Select Commands Not in the Ribbon from the drop-down on the left. Scroll down the alphabetical list to select Toggle Full Screen View, and click the Add button to include it in the Customize Quick Access Toolbar column on the right.The Quick Access Toolbar is the small set of icons you see just above the Office ribbon next to the Office Button.
- The Windows taskbar is now the only leftover against a full screen view. Right click on the Windows taskbar – click Properties – select Auto-hide the taskbar. The Windows taskbar remains offscreen unless we move the mouse near the bottom edge of the screen.
That’s it! When you want to write in your own “˜darkroom’, just click on the template, switch on the full screen view from the Quick Access toolbar and tap into your creativity. [To exit full screen view, press the Esc key on your keyboard.]
There are simple ways to do some things for which we often rely on additional downloads. I hope this is one of them. Put on your writer’s cap and try out your new writing canvas. And of course, type in your comments or suggestions.