One thing that makes Word stand out is its simplicity. The ability to just open a tab and start writing like you would in a book is impressive. It needs no training. But this ease of use is often overlooked by the professional text-editing market. When it comes to more complex tasks (e.g. handling data, tables and equations), users tend to drift towards other programs. They don’t always realize how versatile MS Word is.
From 2007 to 2016, Microsoft made Word appreciably more productive and easier to use with every update. New features were constantly added. In some cases, features that people thought to be new were there before. They just hadn’t noticed them. What Office has tried to do is bring important features as near to the surface as possible. To make sure you get the most out of Word and don’t ditch it without good reason, let’s look at some of its best features.
Whatever industry you work in, you can set Word preferences to reflect the output you need. For example, you can add exceptions to the dictionary so they don’t show as typos every time you write them. You can alter the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) so it displays the commands you feel are most handy. That way, you don’t have to dig around for the tools you need (e.g. quick print, email, draw table).
The good thing about customization is that you can turn it off and on. When you need to write a creative text, for instance, you can switch off auto-correct to allow a bit more artistic license. For formal writing, you can make it stricter again.
This feature appeared with Office 2010 and has become even better in later versions. It allows multiple people to work on the same document simultaneously. Coworkers can make edits or create new sections that appear on other users’ screens in real time. The changes made to the document can be seen using the ‘Review Changes’ option. Editors can highlight areas with a colored pen or leave notes for other team members.
The co-authoring feature appeals to many professionals as a time-saving function. It helps teams to meet deadlines. It may seem needless when creating short documents but becomes invaluable when it comes to long-term reports and projects. Coauthoring lets you collaborate with anyone, either from inside or outside your organization.
3. Distraction-Free Reading and Editing
The working area of Microsoft Word is customizable. You can create a clean, uncluttered writing environment by collapsing the ribbon. If you want, you can make the whole screen a writing area by switching to “Web Layout”. The view becomes even cleaner in “Read Mode”, with an extra option to hide the reading toolbar if wanted.
4. Spelling and Grammar Check
MS Word will check for spelling or grammar errors even while you write if you so wish. You can fine-tune settings to pick up certain grammatical mistakes and ignore others. Of course, spelling mistakes are corrected according to the text language that you’ve set. If, for example, you switch between American and UK English, spelling and grammar corrections will also change. The only proviso is that you first need to download the relevant language dictionaries.
To some extent, Word can help you learn a foreign language, as it will refine your text if you are not fluent. It also works seamlessly with the online Microsoft Translator service if you need to create text in an unfamiliar language.
5. Writing Style and Readability
As well as technical mistakes in spelling and grammar, Word also highlights other possible errors in writing style. For instance, it can show you instances of the passive voice, which is undesirable in excess. It’ll help you avoid wordiness and jargon, too, among many other things. You can even choose whether to favor the Oxford comma.
MS Word also grades your text with a Flesch readability score. This will penalize you for overly long sentences or too many long words. Careful writers often aim for a Flesch rating of 60 or more, though this is not always realistic with technical texts.
6. Easy Bibliography Creation
Word makes it easy to insert citations into copy. The citations may be saved for future use, or you can create new sources. The program will also generate a bibliography section for insertion at the end of a text. Research and data professionals will find this especially useful. These features are available under the Word “References” tab.
7. Sophisticated Documents
Although Word cannot replace data-oriented apps like Excel, it does have its own share of complex capabilities. For instance, it is easy to convert Word tables into visually appealing charts. You can add your own photos to documents or insert online pictures, and there’s a switch to take screenshots of your open desktop. You can also insert equations, detect and format fractions, and use superscripts and subscripts. All this is easily accessible under the “Insert” tab.
8. Multiple Clipboard Items
Office work involves a lot of copying, cutting and pasting, which are all standard Word features. However, the clipboard aspect of these features is less well-known. Many people return to the same spot over and over to copy text, and they often lose it when they highlight another section. The Word clipboard holds up to 24 selections for use in different parts of the document.
Pasting options in Word include “Keep Text Only,” “Merge Formatting,” and “Keep Source Formatting.” You get a live preview of each when you hover the cursor over the icons, so it’s easy to make the right choice.
Word for Windows’ very best feature is its ability to host our software family: TheFormTool PRO, Doxserá, and Doxserá DB. With one of these easy to use programs, any repetitive document can be converted into an intelligent form that eliminates errors and stress while reducing time and expense by up to 90%. The most common comment from users is, “This changes everything.”
Microsoft Word has improved hugely over the years while retaining the same ease of use. The program still tends to suffer from its own depth, with potential users believing they’ll never get the hang of it or that it’s too complex. In reality, you can easily jump in and discover Word’s extensive capabilities as you go along, many of which you’ll find genuinely useful. With any luck, this article will help you get more out of Word in a professional office environment.