One of the most ubiquitous software tools installed at most small businesses is Microsoft Word. Unfortunately, many users never scratch the surface of what the tool can really do for their business. Here are 13 features that will make improve how Word is used.
Favorites for the beginner:
1. Snap in a reusable part. The Quick Part Gallery is a place where a user can create and store content that will be reused repeatedly. This is a huge time saver for inserting common text, logos and other graphics.
2. How does this compare? Ever get an update on a document and have to search what actually changed? Use this feature that compares two documents and displays what their differences are. This becomes critical if the author is not tracking changes.
3. Save typing. Use this feature for keystroke shortcuts. For example, if your company name is The Penney Wig Corporation, then you can use a keystroke short cut like "TPWC" and Word will type “The Penney Wig Corporation” every time.
4. Make it safe. Within Word, the user can convert a document into a PDF to make it safe (non changeable) and more professional. No additional software is required.
5. It’s in the mail. Word allows those users to print envelopes or shipping labels that include USPS-approved postage without ever leaving Word. Users must have an electronic postage program like Stamps.com installed on their computer.
6. Track this. This is critical for collaborating with others on a single document. Word also identifies which author made the changes and the date they were made.
7. Make a comment. Making a comment on a section without it being part of the document is another important part of collaboration. These comments appear in the margin of the document or can be displayed on the bottom of the screen.
Favorites from our readers:
8. Watch your language. “Use an exclusion dictionary so words like "pubic" (instead of "public") and "manger" (instead of "manager") show as misspelled words. There are suggested exclusion dictionaries that can be found on the Web” — Keri Morgret
9. Are you smarter than a 5th Grader? “I use the Flesch-Kincaid grade level test to make sure any marketing content sent out is at or below a 5th grade reading level. It’s easy to get carried away with fancy words, but short and simple works every time!” — Bobby Freeman
10. Check it off. “In our office, we're very process driven and create a checklist for everything. By using the forms toolbar, we are able to create our standard checklists and store everything electronically, which reduces the amount of paper we have to print and sort through.” — William D. Pitney
11. Your table Is ready. “I work on a lot of proposals, so the Automatic Table of Contents feature in Word is a huge time-saver. Each level of the TOC matches one of my custom heading styles so I don't have to manually type the headings and page numbers. After I have made changes to the document that affect the headings or page numbers, all I have to do is press F9 to update the TOC.”— Laura Castle
12. Do it with style. Create sonsistent font styles and colors that work together. “It is widely known that those are the two features in Word I want to marry!” — Vickie
13. Can you make that bigger? "Highlight a word or paragraph and use Ctlr+Shift+ > to make fonts larger, Ctrl+Shift+< to make fonts smaller” — Peter Emmenegger
What are your favorite Word features?
*Features available vary by version.