While Microsoft Word is the default word processor for businesses and governments, private users and NGOs, and you have probably been working with it for most of your life, it’s still too big a thing to boast of complete knowledge. Maybe you consider you have found your way of dealing with it to get the most productive. You have learned hotkeys, you know where to find stats, where to share your document, how to comment it, how to format it, and so on.
But – bet there are more features most of us sometimes need, though we don’t know they exist? They demonstrate the developers’ attitude. In a time when rival office suites show a similar set of features and similar looks, it’s these minor things that prove the class. So here are Microsoft Word tricks and tips that can increase your productivity. Knowing them, you can save some time to do more work at your computer. All of these tricks are possible when you’re using the latest Microsoft Word on your PC or Mac, but not the mobile version.
When you’ve finished a new document, you may often notice a blank page (or multiple ones) below it. No wonder: Enter is so easy to press more often than you need, and no characters are visible. Well, there are two ways of removing it in a blink.
Undo (Back) button. When you position the cursor at the top of the blank page, click the Undo, and the page will be deleted. And after that, your actual last change is still undoable.
No matter if the page is or isn’t blank, select everything on it and press Delete or Backspace. The page will be deleted with its contents. To do it quickly, you can either drag a mouse with the left button pressed, or position the cursor in the beginning, press Shift, and move it to the end. The traditional Ctrl-A is no help: it will select the entire document, not the current page.
Normally these pages do not harm. But if you intend to print your document or convert it to PDF, you better remove them.
Sometimes your document requires double space between lines – in order, say, to make it better readable. To reach the settings to do it, open the document, select the Design tab in the menu, and go to Paragraph Spacing section (normally, it’s on the right side). It contains the list of supported headings. Click it to see the drop-down menu. At the bottom of the “Built-in” section you will find Double. Click it to apply, and space between lines will be double by default in the document or its section.
If you prefer to do everything as long as possible, you can press Alt-G to go to the Design tab and Alt-PS to open Paragraph Spacing. This is the instruction for Windows, and on Mac you can create a custom shortcut.
This feature is necessary when you prepare a multipage document, especially if it’s meant for printing. To give pages their numbers, click Insert tab, next to Home, and select Page Number (normally the icon is in the right middle of the menu). This menu lets you insert page numbers in Microsoft Word, remove them if they are already present, or rearrange them. Select the format, decide whether to include the chapter number and where to start. When you decide on all that, you’ll be offered to select the position for the number on the page.
As you edit your main text, numbers are not affected. They are inserted automatically. If you want to review anything about them, go to the Format Page Numbers menu under the same icon. The shortcut is Alt-N (to go to Insert) and then Alt-NU for the number menu.
If you want to visually highlight that some portion of the text needs to be read separately, it makes sense to use breaks. So, to insert a break, position your cursor where you want the break to start. Then go to the Layout section and click the “Break” icon to select the type of break you want to apply.
Otherwise, you can use the following shortcut: Alt+P+B. If you don’t find the selected sort of break the right one, you can easily undo it with the default Ctrl-Z.
It’s so easy to draw a line on a sheet of paper. The same is with graphic tablets and touchscreen devices. But Microsoft Word is also capable of that. Of course, the line there consists of certain repeated symbols, like hyphens, equal sign, minus sign, underscore, or others. An old ASCII artist would now reassure that any symbol will do.
So, all it takes is typing the same character three times (with no spaces between or after) – like this: ___, or ===, or whatever – on a new line. And then press Enter. The trick is done: three symbols unfold into a full-width line.
There is an alternative, as usual. Go to Insert tab and find the Shapes menu. There you can find various elements to insert, including various sorts of lines.
Also, you can select Shapes under the Insert tab or use the keyboard shortcut is Alt+N+SH. You can insert all kinds of shapes, lines, arrows, etc.
If the document you are making is of several chapters or sections, you can add a table of contents into it. It will be dynamic, so, as you edit headlines or add new sections, the table of contents will display it. All the headlines of the documents will be shown as links, so readers can easily navigate through the contents.
For that, you’ll need a References tab (rarely visited by most users). Table of Contents is the first icon in it. Click it and then select the best design for your document.
The power of fonts is realized long ago. The meaning of a sentence can be different if it’s typed in various fonts. Say, any patriotic slogan can look ambiguously if you use gothic fonts for it. Any famous speech of a politician or a general will look like a parody if shown with fonts used in comic books.
Selecting the current font is easy: open Home tab, and to the left there will be a drop-down menu with all the fonts installed. As for the default font of the document, you can select it as you have just created a new file. Press Ctrl-D on Windows (or Cmd-D on Mac) and select the font from the drop-down menu in the opened window. The selected font will be the default for the document.
Alas, there is only one way to duplicate a page. First, you need to copy the content of the page you want to repeat. Select it with the mouse or with Shift and arrows – whatever you prefer. Press Ctrl-C (or Cmd-C on Macs) to copy it. You don’t need any extra options for copying and pasting (though there are some). The regular Ctrl-C will copy all the content, including media and formatting.
Then you need to create a blank page. You can go to Insert tab, select Pages, and then Blank Page. Position the cursor in its beginning and press Ctrl-V (or Cmd-V) to paste the source content.
Have you tried any of these tricks? Did you find them useful? What other tricks you know remain unnoticed by other users? Rate the article or share some more tricks in your comment. We’ll appreciate that.
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