How to Use Microsoft Word

Use these Word tips to become pro

If you're new to Microsoft Word or have only typed up the occasional letter or simple document, you might not realize how much more MS Word is capable of doing. Learning how to use Microsoft Word like an expert could help you save time, increase efficiency, and simply make your life a little easier.

Instructions in this article apply to Word 2019, Word 2016, and Word for Office 365.

How to Pick up Where You Left Off 

Press Shift+F5 to return the selection to the last place you made changes.

How to Use Word With No Distractions

Changing the view in Word can be helpful in varying situations. Changing to Focus Mode could help when you need to zero in on your document. It hides all the toolbars from view, allowing you to concentrate on your work. Toggle between Focus Mode and other view options as needed.

  1. Select the View tab.

  2. Select Focus in the Immersive group. The document view will change to Focus Mode.

    Screenshot of Focus on View tab
  3. Press the Esc key to exit focus mode.

How to Research Without Leaving Word

Smart Lookup lets you check multiple sources on a topic, including Bing, Wikipedia, and the Oxford English Dictionary. This feature lets you research a topic without leaving the document you are working on.

  1. Select a word or phrase in your Word document.

  2. Right-click the selection and select Smart Lookup. The Insights pane will open showing relevant search information.

    Screenshot of Smart Lookup in right-click menu
  3. Select the Explore tab to browse articles and other search results, or select the Define tab to view definitions.

    Screenshot of Smart Lookup pane
  4. Select More to expand the search results and see more options.

  5. Select a search result to view it in full detail online.

  6. Close the Insights pane when finished.

Get Microsoft Word Help Fast

When you know what you want to do in a document, but aren't sure how to go about it, Word is there to lend a helping hand with a feature called Tell Me.

Screenshot of Tell Me in Word

To use Tell Me, find the search box at the top of the ribbon and enter a brief description of what you're looking for or the result you hope to achieve. Select an option from the provided results to use the tool or apply the formatting desired.

How to Change Case Quickly

If you've ever typed away while reading a hardcopy or talking to someone only to look back at your monitor to realize you had the Caps Lock on, you'll appreciate this feature in Microsoft Word, which lets you change the case of selected text with only a few clicks.

  1. Select the text you want to change.

  2. Select the Change Case drop-down arrow in the Font group of the Home tab.

  3. Choose the desired option from the following:

  • Select Sentence Case to capitalize the first letter of each sentence and change the rest of the letters to lowercase.
  • Select Lowercase to change all of the selected text to lowercase letters.
  • Select Uppercase to capitalize all of the letters in the selected text.
  • Select Capitalize Each Word to capitalize the first letter of every word and change the rest of the letters to lowercase.
  • Select Toggle Case to shift between two case views.

Press Ctrl+Z to undo a case change.

How to Proofread Your Work

Word's editing tools will check a document for spelling and grammar errors as well as potential issues with clarity.

  1. Select the Review tab.

  2. Select Check Document or Spelling & Grammar in the Proofing group. The Editor pane will open.

    Screenshot of Check Document on Review tab

    You can also press F7.

  3. Select Review all Results to move through the document checking for errors.

    Screenshot of Editor pane in Word
  4. Choose a suggested edit or select Ignore to skip to the next one.

    Screenshot of suggestions in Editor pane

How to Use Word to Check Your Score

Another way to review and potentially improve your work in Word is by checking a document's readability score. Set up Word to check the score of any document when you check spelling and grammar.

  1. Select File > Options to open the Word Options window.

    Screenshot of Options on File window
  2. Select Proofing in the left pane of Word Options.

    Screenshot of Proofing in Word Options
  3. Under the When Correcting Spelling and Grammar in Word section, select Check Grammar and Refinements in the Editor Pane and Show Readability Statistics.

    Screenshot of Show Readability Statistics
  4. Select OK to apply the changes.

  5. Press F7 or select the Review tab, then select Check Document or Spelling & Grammar in the Proofing group.

  6. Correct or Ignore all errors found in the document. When you're finished, the Readability Statistics window will open.

    Screenshot of Readability Statistics in Word

How to Compare Documents Side-by-Side

Open two files next to each other in Word to view, compare, or copy and paste from them.

  1. Select File > Open, then find the first Word document you want to view and open it.

  2. Select File > Open again and find the second Word document you want to view and open it.

  3. Select the View tab.

  4. Select View Side by Side in the Window group.

    Screenshot of View Side by Side
  5. Choose the name of the second document you want to compare in the Compare Side by Side with dialog box.

    Screenshot of Compare Side by Side dialog box
  6. Select OK.

Select Synchronous Scrolling on the View tab in the Window group to scroll both documents at the same time.

How to Spike Copied Text in Microsoft Word

Cutting, copying, and pasting in Word is pretty basic, but if you want to cut and paste several text selections, use the Spike feature.

  1. Select the first section of text you want to copy in Word, then press Ctrl+F3.

  2. Repeat the process for each bit of text you want to copy.

  3. When you're ready to paste all of the text selections, select inside of another document and press Ctrl+Shift+F3. Word will paste all of the text segments following the order in which you cut them.

If you want to use Spike, but would rather copy than cut the text, press Ctrl+Z to undo the cut. Doing so will not remove the text from Spike.

How to Use Microsoft Word to Create Quick Parts

If you use blocks of custom text on a regular basis, such as a signature, business information, or legal wording, creating AutoText with Quick Parts could save loads of time.

  1. Select the text you want to save. It can be a phrase, sentence, paragraph or any portion of a document.

  2. Select the Insert tab.

  3. Select Quick Parts in the Text group.

    Screenshot of Quick Parts menu in Word
  4. Select Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery.

  5. If you want to reuse the text after you save it to the Quick Part Gallery, select Quick Parts, then choose the selection from the gallery.