Top 20 Microsoft Office Tricks and Tips for Intermediate Users

A Collection of Quick Tutorials for More Complex Documents and Tasks

Step up your game with these suggested tools, tricks, and tips for Microsoft Office, whether you use a traditional desktop version (2010, 2013, 2016, etc.) or the cloud-integrated Office 365 (which includes the desktop version).

This is a great way to test a few intermediate skills!

01
of 19

Edit a PDF and PDF Reflow

Word 2013 - PDF reflow
Word 2013 - PDF reflow. (c) Courtesy of Microsoft

Later versions of Microsoft Office offer new ways of working with the popular PDF file format. PDF Reflow helps you convert text and objects in some PDFs, which can then be edited and saved back to PDF, or left as a Word document.

02
of 19
Skype Logo
Skype Logo. (c) Image Courtesy of Skype, a Division of Microsoft

As of this writing, Office 365 subscribers get free Skype minutes. Anyone can use some Skype services for free, as well. More »

03
of 19

Integrate with OneDrive, Including Creating Surveys

Microsoft Account Login on SkyDrive Screen
Microsoft Account Login on SkyDrive Screen. (c) Courtesy of Microsoft

Create surveys and capture responses between Excel and OneDrive. This is just one way to coordinate your Office programs with Microsoft's cloud environment, giving you more mobility.

Editing a Word Document in the Microsoft Office Mobile App for iOS
Editing a Word Document in the Microsoft Office Mobile App for iOS. (c) courtesy of Microsoft

Whatever your budget, mobile productivity can definitely be a part of your strategy for working in Microsoft Office programs. More »

OneNote Linked Notes in Microsoft PowerPoint
OneNote Linked Notes in Microsoft PowerPoint. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

Microsoft OneNote can be used to capture information on the go, and Linked Notes can help you connect those notes with other notes or Office documents created in programs including Word and PowerPoint. More »

06
of 19

Track Changes with More Visual Comments and User Profiles

Track Changes in Microsoft Office 2013
Track Changes in Microsoft Office 2013. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

Personalized profiles have really changed the experience of collaborating on a document with others.

07
of 19

Merge Shapes, Crop to a Shape, and Eyedrop Colors

Eyedropper Tool in PowerPoint 2013
Eyedropper Tool in PowerPoint 2013. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg

In more recent versions of Microsoft Office, you can copy colors you see in one element to another, even if you don't know its name or code. This is known as the Eyedropper Color Tool. Pretty cool!

Also, you can Merge Shapes which means to combine shapes in interesting ways to create all-new shapes or a unique design. Or, Crop an Image to a Shape such as a star, circle, or dozens of other designs.

Remove Image Background Tool in Microsoft Office 2013
Remove Image Background Tool in Microsoft Office 2013. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

You may run into situations where the document flows better without fills or backgrounds on some of your images. You can do this in-program in later versions of Office. More »

Symbols and Special Characters in Microsoft Word
Symbols and Special Characters in Microsoft Word. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft
Microsoft Office includes a whole catalog of symbols and special characters with codes that can be used with keyboard shortcuts, which is nice if you use certain characters quite often. More »
10
of 19

Use Ruler Tricks

Ruler in Microsoft Publisher 2013
Ruler in Microsoft Publisher 2013. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft
The vertical and horizontal ruler is a measurement reference point, but these can also be a clickable space. You can actually think of it like a tool. Here's why.
11
of 19

Take Control of Headers, Footers, and Page Numbering

Header and Footer Options in Microsoft Word
Header and Footer Options in Microsoft Word. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft
Whether you are working on a report or a presentation, the printable or viewable page has extra real estate on the top and bottom margins. You may have noticed people will place document information such as page numbering in these areas. Here's how.
12
of 19

Create a Bibliography of Citations or Index

Citations and Bibliography Tools in Microsoft Office
Citations and Bibliography Tools in Microsoft Office. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

Cite sources in APA, MLA, Turabain, Chicago, Harvard, GOST, IEEE, or other formats, to create a bibliography.

Also, longer documents may benefit from an Index based on topical words you flag.

Create Links in Microsoft Office 2013
Create Links in Microsoft Office 2013. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft
Several kinds of links are available within Microsoft Office, bringing your readers the ability to jump to different areas in that document, connect to a web site, and more. More »
14
of 19

Master Page Breaks and Section Breaks

Master Page Breaks and Section Breaks in Microsoft Office
Master Page Breaks and Section Breaks in Microsoft Office. Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft
Page Breaks allow you to continue text on the next page, without pressing Enter a bunch of times. Section breaks create formatting zones. These tools help your document stay cleanly formatted.
15
of 19

Understand How to Mail Merge

Mail Merge in Microsoft Word 2013
Mail Merge in Microsoft Word 2013. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

If you ever have a whole bunch of people to send a letter to, a mail merge helps you personalize a form letter by connecting your document with a data source.

But you can merge more than just mailings. Consider this tool for personalizing all sorts of things, from labels to email messages.

Page Background Options in Word 2013
Page Background Options in Word 2013. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

Whether you want bold background design elements or something subtle, these kinds of document elements can tie everything together in interesting ways. More »

17
of 19

Leverage Live Layout and Static Alignment Guides

Improved Smart Guides for PowerPoint 2013
Improved Smart Guides for PowerPoint 2013. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg

Microsoft Office has always included gridlines and alignment tools, but in later versions of Office, lines are more intuitive thanks to Live Layout, a system for working with images and other objects.

18
of 19

Insert Web Video and Video Effects

Word 2013 - Embed Web Video
Word 2013 - Embed Web Video. (c) Cindy Grigg

Did you know you can now insert a web video from sites such as YouTube into a Microsoft Word document? Some programs in Microsoft Office also allow you to utilize ​video effects.

Window Options in Word 2013
Window Options in Word 2013. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

Using more than one window in a Microsoft Office program is a great way to compare documents side-by-side.

Using multiple monitors can offer even more space for working with more than one document, and more! More »

Was this page helpful?