If you work in any kind of office environment, you probably use Microsoft Office (or, for our purposes, Microsoft Word). There is good reason it (Microsoft Word) has become the industry standard word processing software; nothing even comes close to its functionality. But, unfortunately, there are so many things you can do with Microsoft Word that people often don’t know about.
Publish Blog Posts
When you think of blogging, you usually think of WordPress, Blogger, or even Windows Writer, but not Microsoft Word. Nevertheless, the brains at Microsoft, not wanting to leave any feature left out, gave Word the ability to publish blog posts. I’ll cover the exact details in a future post, but for now, if you want to check it out, open Word and click the File tab, New, and Blog post.
Format Using Styles
I don’t have many pet peeves, but usually the ones I do have I’m passionate about. In the business world, one of my biggest vexations are large Word docs that either have sloppy formatting or simply don’t use styles; especially if it’s some kind of 50 page agreement that uses an outlined format. Like blog publishing, it’ll take another separate blog post to effectively cover all the basics—but for now, I’ll give you the 3-sentence explanation of styles.
In short, styles allow you to format different portions of a Word doc. Take this blog post for example, if this was a Word doc, there would be three kinds of styles: one style for the body of the article (i.e. the paragraphs), one style for the title of the document, and one style for the subheadings. By attributing a style for each element of this article, if, for example, I wanted to change the font size of the subheadings, all I would have to do is change the font size in the style and all the subheadings would change. There is much more to it, but that is basically how it works.
Create flow charts (or any kind of chart)
Ah, the classic flow chart. The business world’s way of uniting pictures with boring text so non-interested people will be more likely to retain non-interesting info. But how the heck do people make those suckers without using a pen and paper? In Word of course!
Go to the Insert tab, click Shapes, and at the very bottom, there is an option for a New Drawing Canvas. Once you insert a canvas, you can add any shape available, resize them, colorize them, etc. The chart is your oyster!
Compare two documents
Another invaluable tool that is new to Word 2010 is the Compare feature under the Review tab. Basically, if you have two versions of the same document and want to see the differences, you run them both through the compare function and the differences will show up in redline (depending on which document you ran as “revised” or “original”). You can even combine revisions from multiple authors.
If you fill out a lot of the same forms in Word, this is very handy. Chances are you understand what a template is. Basically, if you save a form in Word as a template (.dotx), every time you open it, it will force you to save your changes as a new documents, preserving the template for future use and saving you the time of creating a new document and repeatedly deleting populated fields.
Of course, there are many other underutilized aspects of Microsoft Word 2010, this list is simply a result of my own experience. Have any favorite, not-so-well-known features of Word? Share the knowledge and tell me about them in the comments!