With an estimated 1.2 billion global users, it is more than likely that you will have used Microsoft Word at one time or another during your life. The word processing software has become a lynchpin technology platform, used by both business users, freelance writers, and everything in between.
Learning how to use Microsoft Word to its full potential is a crucial professional skill to possess as you advance up the career ladder within your profession. There are many small tips and tricks which will allow you to use Microsoft Word more efficiently.
If you are looking to develop your skills with Microsoft Word, please continue reading this article.
1. Know Your Basic Shortcuts Inside Out
Microsoft is coded to use a whole host of simple shortcuts to help make your life easier. These are all activated either through the Command key [CMD] on Apple Mac products or by using the [Ctrl] button on Windows devices.
This may sound simple, but you would be surprised just how many features are instantly accessible by using these shortcuts.
They can all also be completed through scrolling and clicking with your mouse. However, you can begin to save vital time by simply using the shortcuts instead.
Think about it like this; If you are putting together a 4,000-word report on a Sunday night that is due to be delivered to your line manager and the board of directors the following Monday, every second count.
You could add citations and footnotes to your Word Document by scrolling through the top menu and clicking to insert them manually. Alternatively, you could click Alt+Ctrl+F, each time you need to.
This small change to your workload could save you half an hour of laborious work if you had 60 or more citations to add, as is common with dissertation writing, for example.
You can find a complete list of helpful shortcuts to use with Microsoft Word here.
2. Use Comments and Reviews to Work Efficiently With Your Colleagues
When you are working within a larger organization, it is very common for line managers and colleagues to work on documents together.
This used to mean that a rainforest worth of trees had to be cut down so that different people could edit the document. You then had the fuss of sending round a version of the document by email and making changes, only for the office slowcoach to send round different changes to an old document.
Luckily, it doesn’t have to be like this anymore, as Microsoft Word has some fantastic review and comment features.
By opening up the “Review” tab on the top bar of Microsoft Word, you’ll be able to make all sorts of comments on different parts of the document.
You can either highlight passages and comment on them or make general comments on the whole document. Tracked changes are another extremely helpful feature you should be taking advantage of.
Tracked changes allow you to see all of the different edits and adjustments made by different people to the document. This is helpful if you’re trying to implement changes from multiple sources.
3. Paste Work to Your CMS Without Formatting
One common gripe that many people have with Microsoft Word is that its formatting can make text appear odd when it is copy and pasted into the CMS (Content Management System) of the company website.
One extremely simple change to the way that you copy and paste information will change this straight away though.
Rather than copying and pasting text using [Ctrl] + C and then [Ctrl] + V, you should paste by selecting the text (or using [Ctrl] + A if you need to edit all the text), and then pressing [Ctrl] + [space bar].
Newer versions of Word even have a dedicated Clear Formatting button, which makes this even quicker and easier to implement.
This will mean that you can paste un text into your CMS without the need to spend significant amounts of time following up with edits and adjustments to make the final web pages look good.
This is yet another example of how a small change to the way you work will help with making documents easy.
4. Get Rid of the Toolbar Ribbon
If you are working to a tight deadline, clutter can be your worst nightmare. It sometimes feels like our brains are pushing us to do anything but complete the task at hand in these situations.
A good way of getting around this would be to remove all of the toolbars that Word has, so you can focus solely on creating the text.
By pressing [Ctrl] + F1, the toolbar ribbon will completely disappear, leaving only the text for you to work on. You’d be surprised how much of an effect this can have on your productivity.
5. Tweak Your Autocorrect Settings to Suit Your Needs
It can always be annoying to see those red lines appearing underneath text that you know has been formatted and spelled correctly. Though these spelling correction suggestions are rarely a major problem, you don’t want to send a text document to a manager that looks like it is strewn with errors.
Microsoft Word can now be adjusted, so that autocorrect leaves or includes different things.
Go to File then click Options. In this menu, you’ll find an option called Proofing. Once inside here, you’ll find AutoCorrect Options, which will allow you to make automatic changes and corrections to documents.
From automatic capital letters at the starts of sentences to autocorrecting accidental Caps Lock errors, this can save you a lot of time.
This could be a great advantage if you have a habit of making mistakes with a certain grammatical point.
Learn How to Use Microsoft Word at Full Power
We use Microsoft Word to create thousands of documents during our professional careers. And yet very few people ever take the time to learn and understand the software.
This is a shame, as it can be hugely beneficial. If you learn how to use Microsoft Word to its full potential, you can save time and avoid other issues with your workflow.
A few tricks really can go a long way.
Check out our small business toolbox for more tips and tricks to making your business successful.