If you use Microsoft Word in your daily work, you're almost certainly wasting
an hour of your time per week, maybe more.
Most users spend more than an hour per week on repetitive tasks that could be
accomplished instantly with one of the time-saving tools built into the world's
most widely used word processing program. Consider these five clever ideas
for putting Word to work for you.
Let Word Type Names for You
Are you still typing your name, your boss's name, or your organization's name
manually? If so, you're throwing away ten to 15 minutes per week. Get that time
back in three easy steps:
- Type your organization name and select it with your mouse.
- On the Tools menu, choose AutoCorrect.
- Type a two- or three-letter abbreviation for your organization name and
click Add, then click OK.
From now on, simply type the abbreviation into your document and press the
spacebar. Word will type your organization name for you. Note that you must
have the Replace text as you type option selected on the Tools/AutoCorrect
dialog box for this feature to work correctly.
Let Word Type Your Favorite Paragraphs
Do you copy favorite paragraphs out of old documents and paste them into new
ones? That's better than retyping the paragraphs manually, but you're still
throwing away ten to 15 minutes per week compared to someone who lets Word do
this automatically. Here's how to free up that time:
- With your mouse, select a favorite paragraph (or group of paragraphs).
(Or hold down Shift+Ctrl and use the arrow keys to select
- On the Insert menu, choose AutoText and then choose AutoText
(This sounds strange, but give it a try.)
- Type a name (at least four characters) for the selected paragraph and click
Add, then click OK.
From now on, simply type the name of the paragraph (or the first four characters
of the name) and press Tab. Word will paste in the paragraph for you.
Note that you can also use the Alt/F3 shortcut key to insert/retrieve
Let Word Type Information About Your Documents
In each document, do you include certain information about that document, such
as its file name or the date it was last saved or printed? Don't waste time
looking up this information or entering it manually. Word will look it up and
enter it for you:
- Type one of the following key words: filename, filesize, createdate, savedate,
printdate, numwords, numchars, revnum, edittime, author, or lastsavedby.
- Select the entire word and press Ctrl+F9
- Point at the word with your mouse (or position the cursor in the field)
- Click the right mouse button (not the left one) and choose Update
Field. (Or press F9 to update the field.)
As your document changes, you'll need to update the field again by repeating
Steps 3 and 4 as needed (or press Ctrl/A to select all
of the document and hit F9 to update all fields). Word will reflect the
changes automatically. You will also want to make sure the Update Fields
option is checked on the Tools/Option/Print dialog to ensure printouts
have the most current information in the field.
Let Word Alphabetize Lists for You
Do you occasionally need to alphabetize a list of names? You could waste an
entire hour on that single task, but Word can sort the list instantly:
- Type a list of names, pressing the Enter key after each name. Your
list should look something like:
- Select the entire list.
- On the Table menu, choose Sort.
- Click Options, then click Other, then press the spacebar
and click OK.
- Choose "Sort by Word 2", then click OK.
Now your list looks like this:
Repeat Steps 15, but choose "Sort by Word 1"
and your list will look like this:
Change the Way Word Works
Are you one of those users who detests something about the way Word works? Chances
are, you may be able to change its behavior as follows:
- On the Tools menu, choose Options.
- Choose the type of option you want to modify.
Choices include View, General, Edit, Print, Save, Spelling & Grammar,
Track Changes, User Information, Compatibility, and File Locations.
- Right click over each option and choose What's This? to learn
more about what each option controls.
- If the option sounds helpful, place a checkmark next to it. If not, remove
the checkmark if present.
- On the Tools menu, choose AutoCorrect or AutoCorrect Options
(depending on which version of Word you use), then repeat Steps 2 - 4 to customize
these settings, too.