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Sunday
Sep262010

13 Things You Didn’t Know About Word

A lot of people use Microsoft Word, but it’s said that most of them use only a few of the features available. The aim of this series is to introduce to you some of the features in Word of whose existence you may not be aware, but which you will almost certainly find useful.

It doesn't ALL have to be done by hand

A lot of people use Microsoft Word, but it’s said that most of them use only a few of the features available. The aim of this series is to introduce to you some of the features in Word of whose existence you may not be aware, but which you will almost certainly find useful.

Here’s what will be covered:

  1. Random text
  2. Paragraph styles
  3. Outlining
  4. Table of contents
  5. Comparing documents
  6. Reviewing
  7. Commenting
  8. Autosave
  9. Autocorrect
  10. Properties
  11. Erase formatting
  12. Sorting
  13. Repeating yourself

The order chosen is not entirely random. We’ll need some text to work on for most of the features explored, so it makes sense to start off by generating some random text. The alternatives are to work on some existing text – not advisable in case you do irreparable damage – or to type in text from scratch – fine if you have, to quote Mae West, nothing to do and plenty of time to do it in. Generating text with just a few keystrokes makes a lot more sense.

Next on the list is paragraph styles, a tremendously useful feature which, from my own observations, seems to be almost universally ignored. Becoming acquainted with paragraph styles will allow you to quickly view the structure and key points in the document, and to generate a table of contents should that be appropriate.

Comparing two versions of a document to see what changes have been made can be made much easier than “manually” comparing them. It’s also possible to add comments and make change changes which can be accepted or rejected subsequently, meaning that you don’t have to “ruin” the document by making permanent, and subsequently unwanted, changes to it.

It’s not a great idea to leave saving your work till you’ve finished the writing session, which could be several hours. On the other hand, breaking off from a creative streak in order to save the document is an unattractive proposition. Take advantage of the Autosave option so you don’t have to remind yourself to save the document or interrupt the flow.

The Autocorrect feature lets you replace some text with other text. You can take advantage of it both in terms of having your common typos corrected as you type, or to save time when entering text.

Learning about document properties is a good idea, because you can ensure that your name is embedded in the document, making proof of ownership potentially easier. Only recently I came across something of mine on a website, unacknowledged, and was able to prove it was mine because I’d put my name inside it in the document’s “hidden” properties.

Have you ever experienced the annoying situation in which however much you try, a particular piece of text stubbornly refuses to look the way it should, insisting on remaining as a heading, for example? We’ll look at how you can deal with that quickly and easily.

Sorting text into, say, alphabetical order is a lot easier and quicker than physically moving bits of text around, as you’ll see when we come to look at the Sort tool.

Finally, there’s a nice way of repeating the last thing you did without actually having to go through all the steps again!

I hope that’s whetted your appetite! If you don’t wish to miss one of these “episodes”, why not subscribe to the RSS feed? This article explains all about it in case you’re unfamiliar with how it can help.

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Reader Comments (2)

Seems great! As mentioned, most of people use Microsoft, but we don't know some useful features... Thanks for sharing such a great knowledge...

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHoma

Thanks, Homa :-)

September 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTerry

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