Microsoft Word is estimated to handle more than 90% of all word processing needs. It’s been around since 1983 although it continues to evolve, with new releases every few years. The new 2007 version introduces new usability-focused “ribbons” to replace the familiar toolbar, although the features remain largely the same.
No matter your version, here are my favorite time-saving Word tips:
- Auto-correct your typos: if you find you make certain typos on a regular basis, let Word fix them for you. In 2007, you’ll find this on the Office button (top left), Word Options, Proofing, AutoCorrect Options; in older versions, look for AutoCorrect Options in the Tools menu. Simply type in your typo along with the correction, and Word will fix it for you every time.
- Collaborate on a document: if you work together with others and need to suggest edits, Word’s tracking features are a perfect fit. In 2007, go to the Review tab, click on Track Changes, and Word will automatically note revisions. You’ll see options to view the final version or the original version, with or without markup. In older versions the tracking features can be found on the Tools menu. Turn it on and a Review toolbar will pop up with all the other features you need.
- Create a table of contents: if you use styles for your headings, you can easily create a table of contents. Styles are shown on the Home ribbon in 2007; simply use Heading 1, Heading 2, and Heading 3 for your headers that should be in the table of contents. Use the Normal style (or whatever you need) for all the regular text. You’ll find the Table of Contents on the Reference tab. In older versions, go to Insert -> Reference -> Index and Tables.
- Edit your header and footer: for years I’ve been accessing the header and footer via the menus. I recently discovered that if you double-click that area on the page, it automatically opens up the header and footer. Don’t forget you can include far more than page numbers–author, file name, and last saved date, just to name a few.
- Use special characters: if you need special characters like ¢ or ©, you can enter these two ways. On the Insert tab, you’ll see Symbols over at the right; use the Insert Menu and click Symbols in older versions. This brings up a box with a variety of symbols to select. If there are a few you use frequently, look up the keyboard shortcuts (or use AutoCorrect!) for speedy entry. To type ¢, hold the Control key and type “/”, then type “c”. For ©, type “(c)”.
Microsoft Word has so many features that this barely scratches the surface. Use their Help feature or Google what you need to answer your questions and get more time-saving tips.