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For most people, Microsoft Word is a basic word processor. They type words, mess around with formatting, and never dive deep into the system’s features.
That’s unfortunate, because Microsoft Word has plenty of valuable features that make it the world’s best word processing software.
Today, I’m going to tell you about my favorite Microsoft Word tips that you’re probably not using:
5) Measure the readability of your writing
Are you a good writer or a bad writer? Do you use passive voice too much? Is your writing easy for anyone to read?
Microsoft Word can answer those questions for you with a simple tip.
Go to Options > Proofing and check the boxes beside “Check Grammar with Spelling” and “Show Readability Statistics”.
Then, highlight a text and click the little book icon beside ‘Word Count’ on the bottom of your Word window. Your test results will pop up
Now, you can highlight text to learn more about its readability. Microsoft uses linguistic tests to measure the readability of your writing. Those tests include the Flesch Reading Ease test as well as the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level test.
According to Microsoft, your Flesch Reading Ease test score should be between 60 and 70. It’s a 100-scale test where 100 is extremely easy to read and 0 is extremely difficult to read.
Meanwhile, the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level test states which U.S. grade level your writing is appropriate for. Microsoft recommends aiming for a rating between 7.0 and 8.0.
This test isn’t foolproof, but it’s surprisingly accurate. If you regularly use long sentences with high numbers of syllables, then your readability ratings will suffer. Write smarter.
4) Highlight a square section of text
This is one of those tips that’s ridiculously simple but will only appeal to a niche group of users. Hold down the Alt key while clicking, holding, and dragging your mouse across your text.
The highlighted box will be square. Instead of highlighting words, Word highlights all of the individual letters within that square field.
There aren’t many cases where you’d need to use this. However, if you’re creating visual documents where you need to highlight a square section of writing using a different color (say, if there’s a background image), then this tip may be usable.
3) Automatically create hundreds of paragraphs of nonsensical text
This tip is fun for making yourself look busy. You can type a code into Microsoft Word to automatically generate paragraphs upon paragraphs of nonsense text.
There are two ways to do this: you can tell Word to use an old Latin text to create paragraphs, or you can tell Word to create text from random documents and Microsoft support articles.
If you want lines of Latin text, type in this code:
Or, if you want random Microsoft documentation text, type in the following code:
Replace the letter ‘p’ with the number of paragraphs you want, and the letter ‘l’ with the number of sentences you want.
After typing in either of those codes, all you need to do is press Enter and Word will populate with lines upon lines of nonsense. Trick your boss into making it look like you had a productive day! But if someone actually reads your work, you’re in big trouble.
2) Highlight an entire sentence with a single click
This is another tip that falls under the “ridiculously easy” category. Unlike the “highlight square text” tip, however, this one is actually useful.
To highlight an entire sentence with a single click, just hold down the Ctrl key and click on any word in the sentence you want to highlight.
This is a great way to reduce editing time and avoid wasting time holding down delete keys.
1) Switch between ALL CAPS and no caps
ALL CAPS should probably be illegal. But it’s not, and there are some cases where you need to use ALL CAPS while writing.
If you need to switch between all caps, no caps, or some combination of the two, then you can easily do that with Microsoft Word. First, simply highlight the text you’re trying to change, then click on the ‘case’ icon on the top menu bar (it’s the icon with a capital A and lower case a side-by-side).
That icon reveals a dropdown list of capitalization options. You can do cool things like capitalize each word, tOGGLE cASE, use ALL CAPS, or use all lowercase letters.
Have any more tips to add? Let us know in the comments section below. If they’re any good, we’ll add em to the list!