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Wise Word - Tips and Tricks When Working in Microsoft Word

Jeffrey M Allen and Ashley Hallene


  • New features and AI intelligence now built into this robust word-processing software.
  • The @mention feature that lets you connect with specific colleagues as you collaborate.
  • There is much more to discover. You are never too old to learn a few new tricks.
Wise Word - Tips and Tricks When Working in Microsoft Word
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We are all familiar with Microsoft Word, but sometimes that familiarity can lead to complacency. We forget that Microsoft is constantly updating its products with new tricks and features. Even though you have likely used Microsoft Word for the entirety of your career, we thought we would take a moment to look under the hood and explore some of the new features you may not be familiar with or using in this robust word-processing software.

Tip 1. Word’s Spell-Checker Tool Has Graduated to Full-On “Editor”

Microsoft’s Editor feature is an AI-powered service that helps bring out the best writer in you. You can easily find the Editor button in two places. The first is all the way on the right on the main menu bar. The second place you will find it is in the Review ribbon. Here it is all the way on the left. When you open the Editor, a separate pane appears with a bunch of features. Editor will at once begin editing and scoring your document. Editor now checks for spelling, clarity, conciseness, punctuation conventions, and vocabulary. It will underline any issues that it finds in your document. You can select the underlined word or phrase and then choose whether to accept or ignore the suggestion that Editor makes. Editor is available in Word and Outlook and as a browser extension for Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome. Although it is not enabled by default, you can enable Microsoft’s Inclusiveness feature for your proofing checks. Inclusiveness language proofing will suggest gender-neutral alternatives to common terms (for example, it will suggest replacing the term “chairman” with the term “chair” or “moderator”). To turn this feature on, go to File > Options > Proofing > Writing Style > Grammar & Refinements, and then select Settings. Here you can turn on or off the different grammar settings based on your wants or needs. It’s a little bit of a trip to get here, but it’s worth it. Pro tip: Write your emails or social media posts in Microsoft Word first and copy them into your email client to take advantage of this suite of editing tools when emailing colleagues or clients.

Tip 2. Be a Better Dictator with Microsoft’s “Dictate” Feature

On the Home ribbon of Word, just left of the Editor, you will find a microphone icon labeled “Dictate”. to use this feature, you must be signed into Microsoft 365 and have a microphone-enabled device handy. Before you ask, I did write this paragraph using the dictate feature. it is not as smooth as Dragon Naturally Speaking speech recognition, but it will get the job done. There are more than 50 languages available in the settings.

Tip 3. Immerse Yourself in the Immersive Reader Feature

The Immersive Reader feature is a tool that aids you with reading and comprehension. It can be found on the View ribbon toward the left side. You can adjust the column width, line spacing, text spacing, and more to make a document more readable. It also offers a Read Aloud feature that lets you listen to the text read aloud to you in either a male or female voice and with an American or British accent, among other options. You might try writing out a speech you are giving (for example, opening or closing statements) and let Word read it out loud to you to see if you are getting your message across effectively.

Tip 4. Come Over to the Dark Side with Word’s “Dark Mode”

The dark mode feature in Microsoft Word is a display setting that changes the interface from a bright background color to a darker color. This feature can be easier on the eyes, especially in low-light environments. It is a nice feature for people who prefer interfaces that are not quite so bright. It can also reduce eyestrain. There can be many hazards found in the workplace. We know that typing on a keyboard every day can cause carpal tunnel syndrome, cradling a telephone to your ear can cause neck pain, and prolonged sitting at your desk increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, and death. But one hazard that is often experienced but rarely considered is eyestrain. This strain that we experience has a name: computer vision syndrome (CVS). The symptoms of CVS can include blurred vision, burning, stinging sensation, and a need for eyeglasses. Using Dark Mode when working on a document in Word is one of many tools you can use to ease the strain. You can turn on Dark Mode by going to File > Account > Office Theme > Black.

Tip 5. Tag Your Colleague in a Document with @mention

Microsoft added an @mention feature that lets you connect with specific colleagues as you collaborate on creating documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. Using the “@” sign can open immediate access to search, pick, and tag people within your organization by name, alias, or email ID. You can use this feature to assign tasks in a document to members of your team. To get started, select words in a document and then select New Comment from the ribbon that pops up when you highlight the text. In the new comment box, type @ and then the first few letters of the person you wish to tag. Select their name, and then you can type the comment or request. You can then hit send, and it will email the people you tagged or bring it to their attention in Microsoft Teams if you are using that app. The people you tagged can go into the document and reply, or they can reply directly from the email notification that they received.

We have just begun to scratch the surface of new features you might not be using to your advantage in Microsoft Word. There is more to discover, including turning your documents into web pages with the digital storytelling feature Microsoft Sway. It just goes to show that you are never too old to learn a few new tricks.