10 Things You Didn’t Know Word Could Do

Has anyone ever boasted to you that they are great in Microsoft Word? “I am a real Word wizard” is just not something you hear that often. Being great at Excel is impressive, but being able to use MS Word is just expected of most. It’s a word processor – how hard can it be?


What a lot of people don’t know is that there is a big difference between being able to write a letter in Microsoft Word and actually being able to make best use of the extensive features that Word offers. Knowing just a few of the shortcuts below could seriously make your life easier, increase your work rate and leave you more time to learn other things, like Excel maybe. When your office chums are saying “You’re a [MS Word] Wizard Harry”. Then you’ve made it.


1. Convert PDF Files to Editable Word Documents

PDF files can be converted to editable Word documents simply by opening them in Word.

• Open Word
• Click the File tab
• Click Open
• Select the PDF from its saved location
• Click Yes on the warning message

The PDF will convert to a Word document. It is worth noting that if the PDF contains a lot of images, it may not convert completely cleanly and some re-organising may need to be done.


2. Quickly Create a Bulleted List

Bullets are a popular way of showing lists of items. Bullets can be applied from the Home ribbon, Paragraph group but there is a way of using shortcut keys to apply bullets.

• Type * and press the spacebar

This saves time as your hands do not need to leave the keyboard to apply bullets making you more efficient.


3. Use the Navigation Pane to Navigate and Move Text Around


The Navigation Pane has a number of different uses. It can be used to navigate efficiently around a document which is particularly useful when working in a large document that contains a number of headings.


• Click the View tab
• Check the Navigation Pane box



You can navigate by Headings or Pages by clicking on the relevant link to jump to that part of the document. You can also use the Search field to search for specific text.
The Navigation Pane can also be used to reposition paragraphs of text. Simply drag and drop the heading to move it. The associated paragraph text will also move along with the heading.

4. Count the Number of Words in a Document

Count the Words as you Type
Word automatically counts the number of words in your document and displays them in the status bar provided you have Word Count turned on.
If you don’t see the word count in the status bar:

• Right-click in the status bar
• Select Word Count

Count the Words in a paragraph:

• Highlight the paragraph
• The Word Count will show in the Status Bar

To Include the Text in Footnotes, Endnotes and Text Boxes in Word Count:

• Click the Review tab
• In the Proofing group, click Word Count
• Ensure ‘Include Endnotes, Footnotes and Text Boxes’ is checked


5. Permanently Remove Cropped Areas of a Picture

The Crop tool is great for removing areas of a picture that are no longer needed. However, if you use the crop tool but do not remove the cropped areas permanently, the areas that were cut out can be reinstated very simply by anyone you send the document to. This could have consequences if you have cropped out some particularly sensitive information. It is best practice to remove the cropped areas permanently.

• Select the cropped image
• Click the Picture Tools ribbon, Format tab
• Click Compress Pictures
• Check the ‘Delete cropped areas of picture’ check box




6. Use Spike! A different way to Paste

Spike pasting is really helpful. You can cut different words from a document and then paste them all together.
To gather information into the Spike in Word, select the text and/or images you want to add and press “Ctrl + F3”.
This cuts the information from your document and places it into the Spike. You can continue to cut parts of your document and Word will continue to add the cut text to the Spike. If you do not want to cut, then just ensure you click Undo (CTRL+Z) after cutting to put the text back. The text will still remain on the Spike.
Once you are ready to paste all of the text together, press CTRL+SHIFT+F3.

7. Get Insights into what you’re working on with Smart Lookup

The Insights Pane, powered by Bing, offers more than just definitions. When you select a word or phrase and choose Smart Lookup, the pane will open with definitions, Wiki articles and top related searches from the web.

• Select a word or phrase in your document
• Right-click and select Smart Lookup




8. Find Auto-Recovered Documents

Word documents can be lost in certain situations. A document might be lost if an error occurs and Word is forced to quit or if you close the document without saving changes. However, don’t panic, as Word provides some options for recovering lost documents.

• Click on the File tab
• Click Open and then click Recent Documents
• Scroll to the end of all Recent Documents and then click Recover Unsaved Documents

If you find the Word document that you are looking for, double-click it to open. Save the document immediately.

9. Pick Up Where You Left Off

Have you ever opened up a Word document in the morning after having worked on it yesterday and had trouble finding where you left off last time? Worry no more! Just press SHIFT+F5 and words ‘Go Back’ feature will take you back to your last edit.


10. Check Compatibility

You can check the compatibility between version of your Microsoft Office files to see if features in a file are supported by older versions of Office by using Compatibility Checker. This is important as some features that are available in newer version of Word such as SmartArt are not available in older versions.
To check compatibility with an older version of Office:

• Click the File tab
• Click Info
• Click Check for Issues and then click Check Compatibility

By Deborah Ashby – Microsoft Office Specialist and Microsoft Certified Trainer with 21 years supporting Microsoft products. To learn more about Microsoft Word, take a look at our course.