How-to handbook: 10 tips for Word

Keyboard typing
By Eleanor O'Neill, CA Today

24 November 2016

Microsoft Word has long been synonymous with word processing and digital document creation.

It is part of the hugely popular Microsoft Office suite, which has an estimated 1.2 billion users worldwide.

Eleanor O'Neill has examined the ins-and-outs of the program to find 10 useful tips and tricks to make you a Word wizard.

1. Update your Status Bar

The Status Bar at the bottom of your window in Word usually shows your page number, word count and the presence of proofing errors by default. However, this display can be customised to keep you updated on useful information like what Section of the document you are in or how many authors are editing the text.

You can also configure it with shortcuts for several tools, such as Selection Mode, Track Changes and Caps Lock.

Hover over the Status Bar in any document and Right-Click to view your options. Tools that do not apply to the document you are currently working on will not appear, even if selected.

2. Auto type with AutoCorrect

If you find yourself typing certain things like instructions or terms and conditions on a regular basis in different documents, you can use the AutoCorrect function of Word to fill in this content automatically.

To enable this, go to File > Options > Proofing and click AutoCorrect Options. Under Replace text as you type, add a code word or shortcut to the left box and your section of text to the right. Select Add and it will carry on through all future documents.

For example, you can configure the function so every time you type the word 'IFAC', it automatically converts to 'The International Federation of Accountants'.

3. Compare documents

You may find it easier to compare two documents if viewing them as a split-screen. Rather than resizing and attempting to rearrange windows yourself, Word comes with a tool to instantly set up the display.

Simply open both documents and in either one, go to the View tab. You should see an option to View Side by Side. You can also enable Synchronous Scrolling to move through both documents at the same rate.

If you decide to merge the documents to apply any changes across the board, go to the Review tab and select Compare > Combine and use the drop-down menus to locate the relevant files.

4. Use shortcuts

Some keyboard shortcuts for Word, such as Ctrl+C for Copy and Ctrl+V for Paste, are common knowledge for users. However, Word has over 250 keyboard shortcuts in total, including  Ctrl+K to insert a Hyperlink and Ctrl+Shift+W to Underline a word.

To view the full list, go to the Developer tab and select Macros. Type ListCommands in the Macro name dialogue box and hit Run. Select Current keyboard settings in the new dialogue box and click OK. A new document with the full list of shortcuts will open.

If you do not see the Developer tab, go to File > Options > Customise Ribbon. Select Developer in the right-hand menu and click OK.

5. Make custom format styles

The Style gallery runs along the right-hand side of the Home tab and can be used to insert section headings, page titles and various other pieces of pre-formatted text.

The default fonts, sizes and colours of these styles can be customised by right-clicking the desired option and selecting Modify from the drop down menu.

For future access, check Add to the Styles gallery and specify whether to apply your changes to only the current document or others.

6. Display graphs easier

While multiple-page documents are generally written in Portrait orientation, certain pages can be specified individually as Landscape in order to better display graphs, tables and images.

Highlight the text and other content on the desired page and go to the Layout tab. Click Margins > Custom Margins and choose Landscape. Then, in the Apply to menu, choose Selected text.

You also have the option to apply the altered orientation throughout the document from a certain point. Click on the first page you wish to change, do not select any text and follow the same path as above. In the Apply to menu, then choose This point forward.

7. Select and Spike

The Spike tool is similar to the basic Cut and Paste shortcut but allows for the collection of multiple sections of content within a document and replicates everything copied to a single location in one action.

For example, if you want to collect the main points from a document to summarise as a list, you can highlight each relevant piece of text and use Ctrl+F3 to move each segment to the Spike. Use Ctrl+Shift+F3 or type Spike and press F3 to Paste the information elsewhere.

If you wish to Copy to the Spike, rather than Cut, immediately use Ctrl+Z to restore copied text. This will not remove the information from the Spike.

8. Recover lost work

Due to technical malfunction or user error, you may unintentionally leave Word without saving your work. However, a version of your file may still exist in an automatically saved format.

Go to File > Open > Recent and scroll to the bottom of the document list. There should be an option to Recover Unsaved Documents. This will open a folder containing all recent files that were closed without being saved.

You can adjust how often Word automatically saves your work by going to File > Options > Save and using the Save AutoRecover information every... drop-down menu to select a time. The default is 10 minutes.

9. Add to the Quick Access Toolbar

The Quick Access Toolbar runs above the ribbon in a Word window and can be used to access frequently used tools without switching between tabs or menus.

The default settings include buttons for Save, Undo and Repeat but other options can easily be added for user convenience.

Go to File > Options > Quick Access Toolbar and select the desired tools from the left menu. Use the Add>> button to move them onto the toolbar and click OK.

10. Adjust icons for tablet

Using Word with a touchscreen can present a challenge when trying to use small buttons and icons to access tools and settings.

The size of interactive icons in the ribbon can be increased without zooming in the entire screen by enabling the Touch/Mouse Mode toggle feature in the Quick Access Toolbar.

Use the drop-down arrow on the far right of the toolbar to select the feature. Word can then switch between view settings at the touch of a single button.

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