12 Microsoft Word Tips to Improve Productivity

Word is a part of Microsoft Office package and is one of the most popular word processing tools. Millions of businesses and individual users depend on the capabilities of this powerful tool. People create starting from proposals, reports and almost every other document on a daily basis. Word has numerous features that make preparing and formatting any text file or documents faster and easier. However, despite its popularity and the fact that the majority of computer users are proficient in using Word, only a few people know how to use this powerful program to its full capability. Below are some tips to help you save time and improve your productivity when using Microsoft Word.

12 Microsoft Word Tips to Improve Productivity

  1. Auto Recovery and AutoSave
  2. Recover unsaved documents
  3. Customize paste options
  4. Use content from clipboard
  5. Applying styles quickly with format painter
  6. Maintaining formatting consistency
  7. Add table of content
  8. Move content blocks with navigation pane
  9. Insert quick screenshots
  10. Adding dividers
  11. Insert pull quotes
  12.  Use keyboard shortcuts

1. Auto Recovery and AutoSave Documents

One of the biggest frustrations for Word users is losing all their work in case of an unexpected system or program crash. For this reason, it is important to keep saving your document after you make a few changes. However, you can use some Word features to avoid a situation where you may have to repeat what you had already done.

  • Use the keyboard shortcut keys “Ctrl + S” to save a document for the first time or changes in the documents.
  • You can also set “AutoSave” to enable automatic saving of the document after a few minutes. Go to “File” and select “Options” at the bottom of the list on the left pane.
  • From the resulting pop-up, click “Save” on the left side and on the right side go to “Save documents” section.
  • Check both the “Save AutoRecover…” and “Keep the last…” boxes and then specify the after how long Word should automatically save the documents (between 1 and 10 minutes) by clicking the up or down arrow. Click “Ok” at the bottom of the window.
Set Autosave Options in Word
Set Autosave Options in Word

2. Recover Unsaved Documents

  • You can also recover unsaved documents by navigating through “File > Info” menu.
  • Under “Manage versions”, click “Recover Unsaved…”.
Recover Unsaved Document
Recover Unsaved Document
  • This opens a list of unsaved files. Double click a file to open.
Unsaved files Option
Unsaved files Option
  • Click “Save As” to open and save a copy of the file.
Save As Document
Save As Document

3. Customize Paste Option

Copy and Paste combination is very helpful when you are working on a Word document but at times, it can get tricky especially when you are pasting a pre-set format. You can avoid the frustration by:

  • Press “Ctrl + Alt + V” and choose the “Unformatted Text” to merge the added text with your document’s format automatically, then click “Ok”.
Paste Options
Paste Options
  • You may also configure the paste options. To do so, go to “File” choose “Options” and click “Advanced”.
  • Scroll down to the “Cut, copy & paste” section, customize the paste options to your preference and click “Ok”.
Customize Paste
Customize Paste

4. Using the Word Clipboard

If you are copying various blocks of text or images, you can increase your productivity by storing the various copies in the clipboard.

  • To add text or an object to the clipboard, select the item and press “Ctrl + C” twice.
  • Expand clipboard on the “Home” tab to see the copied items.
  • Click the arrow on an item and click “Paste”. The “Delete” option removes the item from the clipboard.
Clipboard Documents
Clipboard Documents

5. Maintain Format Consistency with Text Styles

Use the Word in-built text styles to structure your and create a consistent document. Select the theme and set layout for your document, so that the readability is consistent throughout the document.

When you want to style particular portion of your document then highlight the text and select one of the text styles on the “Styles” ribbon under “Home” menu. By applying proper formatting to your documents, you can easily convert Word documents to beautiful PDF eBooks.

Text Styles in Word
Text Styles in Word

6. Applying Styles Quickly

You probably know applying formatting of one segment to another segment by using “Format Painter”.

Format Painter in Word
Format Painter in Word

However, you don’t need to click the “Format Painter” every time for applying the selected style to multiple parts on your document.

  • Select a text portion and double click on the “Format Painter” option under “Home” menu.
  • Now select different text portions on different places on your document to apply the style.
  • Press escape to exit the format painter.

7. Use Table of Contents

Create document with appropriate headings. The headings facilitate ease navigation (Outline view) and help when generating an automatic table of contents on “References” tab.

Table of Content in Word
Table of Content in Word

When you have lots of headings, simply go to “References” tab and insert table of content to your document. This helps your reader to understand the summary quickly.

8. Navigation Pane to Move Content Blocks

Creating a very big document is a hassle. Especially when you want to re-structure the document, you don’t need to cut and paste through the documents. The navigation pane helps you to easily drag and drop the content blocks. You can enable the navigation pane under “View” menu. On Mac, you can enable the pane under “View > Sidebar > Document Map Pane”. 

Document Map Pane in Mac Word
Document Map Pane in Mac Word

You can change the pane settings to view the document in page by page thumbnail view or as a document map view.

9. Insert Screenshots Quickly

Screenshots help to show with a single picture exactly what you explain in hundreds of words. In order to insert screenshot in Word, go to “Insert > Screenshot” menu. You can either insert the full screen capture of any of the open app or only capture the required portion of the window using “Screen Clipping” option.

After inserting pictures, use “Picture Tools” to add borders as choose different layouts for your screenshot.

10. Adding Divider

Do you know type three dots and pressing enter key will create a full width divider line in Word document?

Try with different keys like dot and asterisk to create different types of dividers. Learn more on how to add and remove dividers quickly in Word documents.

11. Insert Pull Quotes

Having thousands of words without any picture or table in a document makes people bored. Don’t worry!!! You have an option to insert colourful quotes to keep the reader on your documents. Go to “Insert” tab and select “Text Box” option. You can either choose a pre-defined quote style from the text box drop-down or create a default text box and format to different style. 

Insert Pull Quote in Word
Insert Pull Quote in Word

12. Master Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts can really save your time when working on a Word document. Here are some of the underutilized shortcuts that save your time and energy.

  • “Shift + F5” – To move to the sections where you were working on the document last.
  • “Ctrl” and then press anywhere within a sentence – Quickly select an entire sentence.
  • “Shift + F3” – To switch the capitalization case of the selection.
  • “Ctrl + Space” – To remove formatting on selected text.
  • “Ctrl + F” – To find a word or a phrase within a document.
  • You can use “Find and Replace” together to replace a word(s) in your document.
Find and Replace in Word
Find and Replace in Word

Conclusion

Microsoft Word is a standard gold tool for creating any type of document. It has a host of features, which makes it easy to edit and format text, images and other illustrations to suit our requirements. However, with the right knowledge, you can use the various Word features to become more efficient and consistent in your daily tasks. The above are just some of the tips of enhancing your productivity with MS Word but there is so much more you can do to save time and get the right results.

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