Writing is a skilled art no matter you are a native English speaker or learnt English as a second language. It is common getting struck to find appropriate word when making a sentence. However, word processing tools as Microsoft Word has few functions to help in such situations. In this article, let us explore how to use synonyms and translations in Microsoft Word to find alternate words.
Using Synonyms in Context Menu
Are you sometimes not happy with a sentence formation? You would like to use a different expression but cannot think of the right words. The synonym dictionary in Word, also known as the thesaurus, can help you in such cases.
- Right-click on the word in the text and hover over the “Synonyms” submenu.
- Word will display a list of alternative terms with the similar meaning.
- Click on the appropriate synonym to replace the original word in the text.
You can always find the alternate words for complex words on your documents to improve the readability of the content.
Opening the Thesaurus
Though context menu is useful, it only shows a small selection of the available synonyms. The thesaurus offers synonyms and translations and is a very helpful function. Contrary to the context menu, you will find all propositions here, not just a small amount.
- When you want to see the whole range for a term, first highlight or place the cursor on that word.
- Now, go to “Review” tab and click “Thesaurus” option using the button with the book icon. It is available under “Proofing” group.
- Word will show “Thesaurus” tab on the right sidebar. It automatically inserts the selected word in the search box and show all possible synonyms.
- You can view synonyms for different groups like noun and verb.
- When you hold the mouse over an item, Word will show a small dropdown arrow. Click on the arrow and select “Insert” option to replace the text with the synonym.
You can also simply click on any of the synonym without replacing to get the thesaurus list for that word. Use the “Back” arrow button to go back to the previous results list.
Translating Terms in Word
Translating individual words is also easy in Word. Using the thesaurus, you can select words and translate them into many different languages.
- Select the word you want to translate and go to “Review” tab.
- Click on the “Translate” menu in the “Language” group and select “Translate Selected Text” option.
- The “Research” bar will appear with the “Translate” function.
- Select from and to languages from the dropdowns.
- Word will automatically show the translated content in the pane.
Note: The availability of the language settings depends on the installed dictionaries.
Translating Entire Document
Instead of single term, you can also translate the entire document by clicking the arrow button against “Translate the whole document”. Word will prompt you to confirm, as the content needs to go through the third-party web translator.
Click, “Yes” button to open the translation in Edge browser like below.
Using Mini Translator
In addition to the thesaurus and reach bar options, Microsoft Word also offers a more direct way to translate terms. You can use the mini translator to get propositions for foreign words.
- Go to “Review” menu and click on the “Translate” button.
- Click on “Mini Translator” option.
- If you have never used mini translator before, Word will show a pop-up where you can setup a language for mini translator. Alternatively, you can also click on “Choose Translation Language…” option below the “Mini Translator” menu item. In our example, we have selected “Chinese (PRC)” as a “Translate to” language.
- If you have already used mini translator before, or after setting up the language you will see the selected language in the bracket as shown below.
The language in the bracket indicates that you have enabled the mini translator to translate the content using that language. Word will also ask you to confirm the use of third-party translation service.
After enabling mini translator, all you need to do is move the mouse pointer over individual words and you will receive a translation in context. First, you will see a faded box when hovering over the text; you can hover over the faded box to view it with proper visibility as a tooltip.
You can click on the “Expand” button on the tooltip to open the translation in the “Research” sidebar as explained above.
Note: Only the installed languages will work with the mini translator. In addition, you need internet connection for all translation services to work.
Synonyms and translation are useful features to find alternate words when you get struck with sentence making. In addition, you do not need to open Google or Bing translator every time to find the meaning of a word. You can find the meaning in the language you like just by hovering over the word. However, you should have installed required language packages and have internet connection for the translation to work.