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Tricks to make yourself a Microsoft Word Master

Microsoft Word is a beloved application used by typists all over the world. The program is packed with with all kinds of features, many of which you might never come across when you’re typing up a report, short story, essay, or whatever else you might be working on. To help you uncover some of the lesser-known tricks the software is capable of, we present a bunch of our current favourites.

1) Select arbitrary areas of text

Need a text selection that goes vertically rather than horizontally? Want to start a selection in the middle of a word? Just hold down Alt before you click and drag, and you’ll be able to select any rectangle of text you like, ready for formatting or deleting.

2) Hide spelling and grammar mistakes in one document

Newer versions of Word let you turn off those red and green lines for the current document only if you don’t want them cluttering up your pages. Open the File menu, then click Options and then Proofing. Tick the two Hide… options at the foot of the dialog box.

3) Add text to the spike

The spike is a temporary holding place for text cut from the document. Use Ctrl+F3 to add text to the spike, or Ctrl+Shift+F3 to paste it. On the Insert tab, open the Quick Parts menu (above the Text heading), then pick AutoText to view the spike’s current contents.

4) Make your own AutoCorrect rules

AutoCorrect can be by turns very useful and very frustrating, but you can set your own rules by opening File and Options, then the Proofing tab, then clicking AutoCorrect Options. You can set up your own auto-replace rules for text snippets if you like.

5) Get rid of unwanted formatting

The wrong formatting can really mess up a document, whether you’ve edited it yourself or pasted it in from somewhere else. Use Ctrl+Space or click the Clear All Formatting button (an eraser on an A on the Home tab) to remove formatting from highlighted text.

6) Save yourself some eye strain

Ploughing through long documents isn’t usually much fun (depending on the document), but you can save some of the strain on your eyes by switching to Read Mode (from the icon on the View ribbon) and then selecting View then Page Colour and Sepia from the list.

7) Delete entire words at a time

This is quite an elementary one that you might not be aware of. You don’t have to peck away at the keyboard to delete text. Hold down Ctrl while pressing Backspace and you can erase entire words at a time, making it much easier to clear out your unwanted prose.

8) Replace all the images in a document

There’s a quick way to swap every image in a document. Get your replacement image on the clipboard from inside Word, then open Find & Replace (Ctrl+H): put “^g” (all graphics) as the find value and “^c” (the clipboard contents) as the replacement, then Replace All.

9) Use Word’s built-in calculator

Open the Quick Access Toolbar menu (top left) then pick More Commands and All Commands and add the Calculate option. Choose this from the Quick Access list whenever a sum (e.g. “=2+2”) is highlighted and the result appears on the status bar.

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