8 Hidden Microsoft Word Features That Aid Writing Processes
Tips and tricks that make you write smarter.
Microsoft Word is almost a household name for office utility. The features in it are designed for productivity in the office and other formal settings.
In a business setting, particularly for writers, the features available in MS Word make documentation or drafting easier. Microsoft Word is particularly user-friendly; anyone can hop in and get most of their written works done.
As a writer, there’s a need to ensure efficiency in your production process. Whether you’re getting the job done yourself or through a second and third party, it is very crucial that you familiarize yourself beyond the simple, user-friendly utilities that are available to ensure an excellent production.
If you are a writer with the desire to overcome everyday challenges that hamper efficient processes of production, the following tips will help you utilize some tools and tricks that you may not be familiar with in Microsoft Word usage.
8 Tips And Tricks That Make You Write Smarter With Microsoft Word
1. Organize your Ideas and Research
No matter the advancement and sophistication in technology, a good writer will always appreciate the traditional materials for writing – a pen and a notepad.
Depending on the deadline and volume of your project, starting the process by putting down your ideas and research in paper might be old but efficient.
To replace the old pen and notepad when you’re researching and outlining your novels, OneNote is always an excellent tool to use.
It enables you to make a highlight of your research and writing guidelines easily and then create your draft on MS Word while ensuring that you are on track at the same time.
How to do this is pretty simple. Move to the Review Tab on OneNote and click on Linked Notes. Then, find the notebook or section you need.
Remember, you don’t need to exit any of the programs; you can easily switch from one program to the other by using the minimize button.
The objective is to move your ideas into your draft. You can also attach images, which is very useful since it gives you the freedom, for instance, to write beautiful descriptions of locations or characters for your story.
When you’re ready, you can attach your Microsoft Word drafts to your notebook to keep your entire story from start to finish all in one place.
Simply use the Insert and File Attachment buttons on OneNote to add the Microsoft Word document.
2. Customize Your Vocabulary
Fictional writers use words and weird names of places that are not in regular dictionaries.
For instance, names such as Daenerys and Dothraki in Game of Thrones must have been input into the program dictionary during production.
MS Word provides you with the option to customize the dictionary in order to accommodate fictional words and unique names as you produce your fantasy novels and other fictional genres.
The essence of this is to avoid default settings like autocorrect and error checkers, which annoyingly make you review highlighted texts over and over again because you thought they are errors.
For example, if you’re entering a correct word from another language that isn’t English, it is typical for the software to mark the selected text as errors.
Simply right-click on the new word and select Add to Dictionary to get rid of constant spell or error checks on it.
3. Auto-save Your Work
One of the worst things that can happen as you try to put down those ideas in your head is a sudden interruption from an external source.
This could be a power outage, system glitch, or virus invasion. These problems could erase important data, including the work you had recently begun. So, you may want to ensure you have default backups.
You can easily do this in an MS Word program. Before you begin typing, go to File >> Options >> Save (Check where it says Save AutoRecover information every “X” Minutes) >> Ok.
This procedure will keep your work safe.
4. Reorganize With The Outline View
Productivity while writing demands that you outline your main ideas and complete your first draft quickly.
If used well, the Outline View on Microsoft Word can increase your productivity with large documents by fifty percent.
To locate this, go to View and click on the Outline button on the ribbon.
Outline View helps you fine-tune the organization of complex documents by reordering text blocks and levels of headings. Also, with the help of a special toolbar called Outlining, which comes with Outlive View, selected texts can be promoted or demoted.
Do you want to get to a specific point in a lengthy document? Simply switch to Outline View and jump to a particular heading level.
If you also want to draft quickly, plan out the main sections on Outline View and then switch to the other layouts to write the body.
To move huge blocks of text and thereby reorganize your reports, drag and drop a heading to move the heading and all the sub-levels under it, including the body text.
Use the upward-downward arrows to work them. It works like magic.
5. Distraction-free Writing
Another distinguishing factor about Microsoft Word is its distraction-free writing feature.
This feature means that your document will take up the entire screen. You won’t see tabs, margins, or other features except you hit the ESC key.
To activate, press CTRL+F1 and the Microsoft Word ribbon will disappear, leaving the workspace and giving you a cleaner look.
To see those features again, press CRL+F1 again.
For Mac users, this feature is quite different. You can use the Focus Mode to adjust the view.
6. Translate Languages
The Translate feature of your MS Word can be used to translate an entire document and then display it in a separate Word document.
There are hardly any languages the feature cannot translate, so you don’t have to worry about not coming across translations to Celtic or Greek words.
To locate this feature, go to the Review Tab and click on the Translate button to select or change languages.
Use the sidebar to highlight each word and explore its meaning in full.
7. Find, Replace and Select Texts in an Entire Document
Have you ever changed your mind about certain words you’ve used while typing?
As you continue to write, you may discover that a specific character’s name does not reflect the purpose you intended for it.
To find and replace such a name, go to the Home Tab on the Menu bar (if it’s not already on display).
Move to your extreme right on the MS-Word environment, click on Replace, type in the specific texts, then click on Find and Replace All.
You can do this with any text.
8. Beauty Fonts With Kerning
With Kerning, you can adjust spaces between two individual letters for a better visual look.
When designing a document, each typeface requires its own specific kerning. So, Kerning is typically essential when you are designing with large fonts on Microsoft Word, e.g., an e-book cover.
MS Word has kerning switched off by default because it’s not a regular feature for users. However, if you need to deliver a seven-page project, save yourself some effort by increasing the width between the letters instead of having lapses in your texts.
To get this done, click the little pop-out arrow on Font (on the Home tab) OR press CTRL+D, go to the Advanced tab and select the checkbox for Kerning for fonts.
With these features and lots more that you may discover as you explore Microsoft Word, writing processes become much easier, thereby increasing productivity.