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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Productivity

11 Time-Saving Microsoft Word Hacks You Won't Know How You Lived Without

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Microsoft Word tips? I know what you’re thinking: Is it 1995 again? Am I back in seventh grade?

No–we’re definitely squarely in 2016. But that doesn’t mean that Microsoft’s software is a relic of the past. In fact, its Office suite is used by over 1.2 billion people around the world. Most likely, including you, too.

While you might look at the program as a familiar annoyance that’s been around since your middle school days, you can get some serious work done with it if you know how to use it correctly. And no, I’m not just talking about knowing how to create columns and change text size.

Here are 11 lesser-known but highly effective tricks to make Word you new best work friend.

1. If You Waste Time Formatting the Same Report Every Single Week

You don’t have to waste another minute playing with every style feature for every doc you create. Instead, save your favorite formatting so you can easily apply “Quick Styles” to any text in just seconds.

Here’s How

2. If You’re Constantly Having to Cut and Paste Different Sections of Text

Usually you can only work with one text selection at a time. And that can be frustrating if you’re moving a lot of text around. But, with Word’s “spike” function, you can collect several selections and paste them all at once to a new location. Less scrolling, more working!

Here’s How

3. If You Don’t Understand Why Your Formatting Isn’t Showing Up Right

Save yourself from those I’m-gonna-smash-this-computer moments by showing formatting marks. Then you’ll see where every space, tab, paragraph (and so on) really is so you can weed out what you don’t want. Because who hasn’t gone crazy at automated double-spacing that you didn’t sign up for?

Here’s How

4. If You Can’t Control Auto-Corrections

One of the most common complaints I hear from users is that they can’t stop their computer from changing certain things they type. It’s meant to be helpful, but you don’t always want three dashes turned into a horizontal line or bullet points for every list. End those “argh” moments by turning off automatic formatting.

Here’s How

5. If You Want to Collaborate With Others Simultaneously

If you’re also a Google Docs user, you know how handy it is to be able to edit a document simultaneously with your co-workers. Word 2016 now keeps a copy of your work in the cloud so you can “co-author” with other people even at the same time. Plus, you’ll be able to access it from different devices so you can edit it from any device.

Here’s How

6. If You Need to View Two Docs Side-by-Side for Comparison

When you need to look at two documents compared to each other, you could always open them in two separate windows. But, use this trick and you’ll be able to “sync” the text of both so that they scroll together—making your checking easier than ever.

Here’s How

7. If You Want to Do More in Less Time

How about making your own keyboard shortcuts for any task you do repeatedly? You can assign (or change) shortcuts to any functions that don’t have one already. Your whole life could be as easy as copy/paste is for you right now.

Here’s How

8. If You Need More Information About Your Current Doc Right Now

One useful feature of modern Word is the status bar at the bottom. You’ve probably noticed it, but also noticed the info there hasn’t been so helpful for you. By customizing it, you’ll see exactly what you need to know.

Here’s How

9. If You’re Tired of Typing the Same Words Over and Over

Your computer’s a powerful beast, so put it to work and save yourself precious keystrokes by having certain phrases or even whole sentences or paragraphs ready to be inserted anytime, anywhere.

Here’s How

10. If You Want to Keep Certain Docs Readily Available

Why not tailor your “Recent Docs” list to show the ones that you need most often? That means less time searching for file names you can’t quite remember and more time actually in the document you need to utilize.

Here’s How

11. If You Need to Know If Your Content’s Right for Your Readers

This is one (fast) way to find out how easy your text is to understand. That way, you can be 100% sure it’s appropriate for your audience.

Here’s How

There’s a reason Microsoft has kept its place as an important productivity tool all these years. And now you can get the most out of it with these tips to do your work faster (and with a whole lot less frustration).