For most people, working on a computer usually includes using Microsoft Office. It’s not hard to see why. Microsoft released Word back in 1983, and Excel followed in 1985. With the rise of email, Outlook launched in 1997. These three applications have become ubiquitous in the workplace.
No matter how long you’ve been using any of these apps, you likely don’t know every feature or shortcut. This week, we’ll focus on a few tricks to add to your Microsoft Word toolbox. Tips for Excel and Outlook will follow in the weeks to come.
1. One-Click Highlighting For Whole Sentences
Hold down Ctrl in Windows or Command in Mac, and click anywhere on a sentence. Word will automatically select the entire sentence. You can cut, copy, or delete that sentence. Unfortunately, you can’t select more than one sentence. You’ll have to fall back to highlighting the old-fashioned way for multiple sentences.
2. Add Text Anywhere
We’ve all added untold numbers of tabs and spaces to get text exactly where we want it on the page. Did you know there’s a much easier way? Simply click twice on any blank area of the page. Word will automatically put the cursor on the nearest line really close to where you clicked. Welcome to your new whiteboard. Just be careful adding anything above your text. It’s still just Word and not a design program.
3. Add A Signature Line
You’ve probably also used the underscore or line tool to create your own signature lines. Again, Word makes this task so much simpler. Go to the Insert tab. On the right side, you’ll find a button dedicated to signature lines. It even gives you the ability to add a name and title (or whatever text you put there).
4. Automatic Date & Time Updates
Sometimes, it’s handy to have the date or time on your documents when printing them. Sure, you can manually type the date in there, but what if you forget to change it the next time you print it? Go back to the Insert tab and click the Date & Time button (near Signature Line). Choose your preferred format and check the “Update automatically” box. From now on, Word will update it every time you open or print that document.
5. Save As PDF
PDF files remain one of the best ways to send documents across the internet. You can skip printing to a virtual PDF printer. Some people actually print and scan a document just to get a PDF file. Word can create PDFs on its own in a few clicks. Click File in the menu. Then click Save As. When naming the file, change the file type from “Word Document (*.docx)” to “PDF (*.pdf)”.
6. View Hidden Characters
Anyone that’s worked on complex Word documents is familiar with phantom formatting. Some invisible force just will not let you align text or columns the way you want. Press Ctrl+Shift+8 on Windows or Command+8 on a Mac, and you’ll see all that invisible formatting. Editing should be much easier now.
7. One-Step Capitalization Change
Wish you would’ve made a word or sentence all caps? You don’t have to go back and retype it. The Change Case button will do all the work for you! Choose from a variety of options including tOGGLE cASE (for those of you who didn’t realize your Caps Lock key was on).
8. The Search Box Is Amazing
This tip goes beyond just Word. In most Microsoft Office apps, you should see a search box either in the menu bar or top of the window. Feel free to type anything in that box. It can find text in whatever you have open in that window.
On Windows, it will also pull up actions or even settings. Stop searching each tab looking for that feature you use once a year. Just type part of the name, and it’ll show up in the results.
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