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10 Advanced Microsoft Word Tips & Tricks

Many of us use Microsoft Word every day, but just how well do you know how to use it? Here are some tips and tricks that will turn you into a pro.

1. Tell Word what you want to do


Word 2013 and 2016 have a helpful “Tell me what you want to do” search field above the toolbar which you’ve likely been ignoring. It’s not just for beginners! Type a few words related to any function to quickly navigate through Word’s extensive menus.

2. Select arbitrary areas of text


Need a text selection that goes vertically rather than horizontally? Want to start a selection in the middle of a word? Just hold down the ALT key before you click and drag, and you’ll be able to select any rectangle of text you like, ready for formatting or deleting.

3. Delete entire words instead of just characters


Don’t want to backspace 34 times to replace a random occurrence of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious in your document? Hold down the CTRL key while pressing Backspace and you can erase entire words at a time.

4. Start writing anywhere


Want a custom layout or format? You don’t have to start a sentence at the beginning of the line. Word 2016 lets you double-click anywhere on the screen and start typing from that position!

5. Search the web with Smart Lookups


Highlight any word or phrase within Word, right click, and choose Smart Lookup. Microsoft will attempt to provide you with a definition and perform a contextual search using Bing. 

6. Quick and complete control over typography


To change font settings quickly, click on the small down arrow to the right of the font section on the toolbar to access the complete font settings panel. 

Hint: Look for these arrows in each section of the toolbar for advanced settings.

7. Use comments to provide feedback, notes, or suggestions


Inserting a comment is a good way of providing feedback on a document, or at least a portion of it, without actually changing its content. Simply select your text, and then click the Review Tab > New Comment (in the Comments group).

8. Use page breaks for better document flow or layout


Page Break lets you stop and start text entry at a particular location in a document. This is often used when creating text columns but is also handy when creating lists or paragraphs that you don’t want spanning multiple pages. To insert a page break, click the Insert Tab > Page Break to end the current page here and move to the beginning of the next page. This can also be accomplished with the CTRL + Enter key combination.

9. Decrease the size of your document by compressing images


If you prepare Office documents with lots of images, this can make sharing documents difficult because of file size constraints. It can also decrease the speed of scrolling within an image-laden document.

After you import your picture into Word (Insert > Pictures), click the Format contextual tab that appears and click Compress Pictures. You’ll be provided with a variety of options for picture size (print, web, email). Once your resolution has been selected, press OK and your images will automatically be compressed.

NOTE: This alters the physical photos stored on your computer, not just within your document so use with care!

10. Recover an Unsaved Word Document


Many of us have experienced a situation where we have created a Word document and then accidentally closed it out without saving it. If this has happened to you, don’t fear, Word has you covered!

Click the File Tab > Manage Document > Recover All Unsaved Documents. An Open dialog box will display a list of your unsaved, but recoverable, documents. Simply select the one you wish the recover.

Don’t forget to save that document!

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