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Using Microsoft Word for Older Adults

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When it comes to word processing, MS Word is still a gold mine. As part of the Microsoft Office productivity suite, reports indicate that more than one billion users rely on this program every day to create impressive documents. 

Although most people use Microsoft Word, not everyone understands how to maximize the capabilities of the program. Word is packed with a plethora of features, which can help the creation of documents, text files, and reports much more undemanding. If you master some of these top Microsoft Word tricks and tips, your work becomes stress-free, and you become more productive and efficient, which is the ultimate goal of any software. 

How to get around Microsoft Word Easily

Highlighted below are the top 14 secrets of our favorite tips, shortcuts, and tricks to supercharge your mastery of Microsoft Word. Note that most of these tricks should work with all word versions. 

1.Determine Your Document Readability Statistics

Apart from judging your spelling and grammar, Word can determine the complexity of writing style. For instance, does your writing style meet the comprehension of the 5th grade of someone with a post-grad degree? Word uses the Flesh Reading Ease test to calculate your score on a 100-point scale. The higher the percentage on the scale, the easier it’s to understand. In most circumstances, Office documentation suggests that the score should be above 60. 

Besides, the Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level test indicates which US grade level your text is written for; in any scenario, you should always aim for 7.0 to 8.0 according to Microsoft documentation

To activate this feature; follow the procedure below:

  • Go to File > Options
  • Select Proofing
  • Under When correcting spelling and grammar in Word, check the box; Check grammar with spelling.
  • Next select Show readability statistics.

After enabling this feature, open a file that you want to check, press F7 or go to Review > Spelling and Grammar. When Word finishes checking grammar and spelling, it displays the information about the reading level of your document. 

2. Generate Lorem Ipsum Random Text to Your Document

Do you want to add some random text to your document? Word has you covered. You can do this easily using Microsoft tricks and tips. To do this, type: =lorem (P, I); and replace “P” with the number of paragraphs you want, and “I” with the number of sentences you need. Once you have defined the variable (P, I), hit enter to generate the text.

As well, you can use random Office documentation “gobbledygook” as the primary source material for your place filer. To do this, use the equation =rand (P, I).

Generate Lorem Ipsum Random Text to Your Document

3. Highlight a Sentence with a Click

To highlight an entire sentence, hold down Ctrl Key + Windows. If you’re are a Mac user, use the Command Key and click on the beginning of the sentence and Word will take care of the rest. 

4. Use Auto-Update date and Time

Do you have a document that you use again and again by only updating a few key details? If the document includes time and or date, one of the nifty tricks is to allow Word to update the date automatically.

To insert a date that updates automatically, follow the procedure below;

  • From the Insert tab, in the Text group, click Date & Time
Insert tab
  • From the Date & Time dialog box, select the format you like.
  • Next, select the Update automatically checkbox.
 Update automatically checkbox

The date will be inserted as a field and will update automatically.

5. Microsoft Word Tricks and Tips-Show Hidden Characters

Working on a complex with different columns, styles, and formats; editing can be a tedious exercise. To see what’s going while formatting your document, it’s advisable you make all the invisible marks, including spaces, hard returns, tabs, and soft returns visible. In Windows, you can achieve this by pressing Ctrl + Shift-8; for Mac, use Command-8.

6. Replace Invisible Characters and Formatting.

Find and Replace feature in Word is a lifesaver. It helps you make quick changes without having to peck and hunt for every instance you need to be changed. Besides, you can use the Find and Replace for hidden characters in your document. 

To find and replace special characters in a document, follow these steps;

  • From the Home tab, in the Editing group, select Replace
Editing group
  • Click More >> button
More Button
  • Select the Special button, and choose the unique character you want to find and replace.
  • Position the cursor in the Replace with textbox.
  • From the Special button, select the Special character you want to add to the Replace with textbox. 

Note: You can add more than one particular character to the text box. 

  • Ensure all that All option is selected from the Search list box. However, if you want to limit the search text after or before the insertion pointer, select Up or Down options from the Search box.
  • Once done, you can do the following:
  1. Confirm each replacement on a one-by-one basis, by using Find Next. Then click Replace to replace the text or Find Next to skip to the next search occurrence. Or
  2. Replace all events by clicking Replace All. 
  3. Once the replace session is completed, a dialog box with how many replacements done will pop up. Click Ok to close the dialog box
  4. Click close to end the session. 

 7. Insert Complex Math Equations 

With the new improvement in Microsoft Word, you can now insert complex math equations into your word. To achieve this, click Insert > Equations, then choose the equation you wish to use in your document. Once the equation is inserted into your word document, you can easily change the formatting by replacing letters with numbers. 

 8. Get rid of unwanted formatting 

A wrong document formatting can mess up your work; especially when working on a document copy-pasted from another source. Therefore, there’s a need to inspect and clear all the wrong formatting to make your document more presentable and appealing. To achieve this, use Ctrl + Space or use Clear All Formatting button to get rid of formatting from highlighted text.

 9. Protect You Document

 Microsoft Word has various built-in protection that will help you encrypt your writing.

  • Click File > Info > Protect Document
  • From the drop-down menu, you can choose either, Restrict Editing, encrypt with Password, or Restrict Access. 

Choosing Encrypt with Password allows you to manage viewing and editing permissions. 

 11. Remove the Toolbar Ribbon

 If you want an interruption free-writing, you can hide the toolbar ribbon which sits at the top of your document by pressing Ctrl + F1. Once done with your work, you can press Ctrl +F1 to bring it back into view. 

 12. Use “Tell me what to do.” 

New word version like MS Word 2016 features “Tell me what to do” a shortcut that allows you to type in an action you want to perform and provide you with answers you can take advantage of; for instance, typing “Insert Pictures” provides you with options on how you can insert an image on your doc. The tool is incredibly helpful, especially if you’re trying to find a function, but you’re struggling to navigate the menus or cannot remember the shortcuts

 13. Quickly Lookup a Word

If you’re editing a Word report but require context, you can use the Smart Lookup toolHighlight the wordright-click on it, and select Smart Lookup. Doing so will open a small panel that contains information relating to the word. This saves you from moving to your browser to perform a search. 

 14. Delete Words with One Key Press

 If you need to delete a big chunk of text, instead of holding down the backspace bar, use Ctrl + Backspace. This allows you to remove one word each time you press the backspace button, instead of using backspace to delete character-wise. 

Like copy and paste commands, mastering keyboard shortcuts for adding web links to your document is critical. You can use Ctrl + K command in windows to quickly add links to your work. 

Mastering your way around Microsoft word can make you save time and be more productive, highlighted above are just the Microsoft Word tips and tricks that can quickly supercharge the way you use MS Word. 

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