Career Woman

6 Awesome features in Microsoft word you probably don’t know

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Microsoft Word is by no means a new tool. It’s a familiar workhorse that’s been around since the early 80’s. Creating our proposals, reports, resumes and just about every other document essential to the corporate universe. But that doesn’t mean we know every trick the long-dominant word processing software has up its sleeve!

The program has become so integral to our digital lives over the last few decades that it’s even seized the actual word, “Word”. And regardless of what computer programs and hardware you use, the chances are high that at some point, you too have been annoyed by a helpful little animated paper clip.Yet despite its familiarity, many of Word’s tricks and quirks go unused – ones that could save us time and frustration if we merely used them.

If your business or working week’s productivity needs a boost, using Word’s forgotten or hidden features will make things more efficient and effective. Here’s our top tricks to help you become the Word Wizard of your office:

1. Personalise word through advanced options

Once you’ve set up Microsoft Word properly, its ease of use dramatically increases. Most of us are guilty of using the default settings. They’re ok, of course, but with a few simple tweaks, you can change the entire experience and personalise it to your needs. To access the advanced settings, head to ‘File’ and ‘Options’. In the pop-out window, choose ‘Advanced’.

Here are a few things that can be adjusted in these settings to encourage you to work better:

  • Editing options: Keep track of formatting, any inconsistencies and control AutoComplete suggestions.
  • Cut, copy and paste:Manage paste options for more efficient working and control source formatting. Set ‘smart cut and paste’ options.
  • Show document content options: View and manage document crop marks, text boundaries, text wrapping and more.
  • Display options:Control recent documents number, ScreenTips, scroll bars, optimising character positioning for readability, and updating content while dragging.
  • Print options:For duplex printing, printing reverse pages, XML tags, draft quality and scaling for paper sizes.

Hot Tip: Getting fed up with Word’s autocorrect? Change the rules by accessing ‘Proofing’ (under ‘File’ and ‘Options’) and set your own auto-replace rules for text snippets.

2. Own the ribbon

Word’s ribbon can be both helpful and extremely distracting. Many writers prefer to think and work with a clear focus. If this sounds like you (and you’re being haunted by the noise at the top of your screen), switch the ribbon off entirely by accessing the distraction free mode (Ctrl F1).

If you want to use Word effectively, customising the ribbon and quick access toolbar will save a lot of time. Select ‘Customise Ribbon’ in the pop-out window from ‘File’ and ‘Options’. Here you can add or remove items to suit what you need from Word regularly.

3. Speed up the deleting process

Deleting, clicking and dragging takes up a lot of time when you’re doing it all day, 5 days a week. To speed up the deleting process, hold down Ctrl and backspace. This will allow you to delete entire words at a time, rather than pecking away at the keyboard letter by letter, making it much easier to clear out unwanted typing.

To speed up your editing process, avoid clicking and dragging altogether. If you hold down the Ctrl key and click any word, it will highlight the entire sentence. Mac users can hold down the Command key. Now you’re editing like a pro!

4. Test your document’s readability

A personal favourite of mine – Word can test your document’s readability (and tell you how good your writing is!) No doubt you’re used to Word judging your grammar and spelling, but what about your writing’s complexity?When the document is ready to go, proof its readability through ‘File’, ‘Options’ and ‘Proofing’. Make sure ‘check grammar with spelling’ and ‘show readability statistics’ boxes are checked (on Mac, you’ll find it under Preferences, Spelling and Grammar).

Word gives you a scorebased on the Flesch Reading Ease test. This determines whether it meets the comprehension level of someone with a degree, compared to someone who’s still learning the basics. For most standard documents and copy written within Word for web, you want to score between 60 and 70.

To view your score, run the spelling and grammar check (through the ‘review’ tab). A pop-up window will show how you scored. Your score will help determine whether your content is appropriate for your audience so it can be adjusted accordingly.

5. Write text anywhere

This is a fun trick if you’re using Word as a brainstorm document. When you double click anywhere on the page, Word allows you to start typing in that spot. Not everyone works so structured. For those creative minds, Word will automatically insert tabs and hard returns to makewriting anywhere within the document possible.

6. Change capitalisations the easy way

If you’re still wasting time individually changing text to lower or upper case, you’re doing Word wrong. In one simple click of a button, text can be converted to UPPERCASE, Sentence case or if you dare, tOGGLEcASE. Simply select the Aadrop-down menu from Word’s ribbon (next to font and font size) and make your choice.

About Jayde Ferguson

Jayde Ferguson is a content writer and business owner always looking for new networking and writing opportunities. Her writing experience spans almost 15 years now, with a strong focus on the business industry.

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