8 simple steps

Unless you really know the ins and outs of what Microsoft Word can do, many of its great word processing features can remain unseen and unexploited by even the most frequent users.

Here are six of our favourite word processing features in Microsoft Word:




1. Quick Access Toolbar

If you’ve ever found yourself flicking between the Microsoft Word tabs trying to find your favourite functions every time you want to use them, set yourself up with a Quick Access Toolbar. This way, your chosen icons are on screen all the time – saving you some vital minutes over the course of a week.
To set this up, access the Options menu and select the features you wish to appear in the Quick Access Toolbar.



2. Show Paragraph Marks and Hidden Text/Formatting

If you’re not quite sure why some text is behaving in a particularly odd way, or if you can’t figure out the correct spacing needing in a tracked changes document, select the ¶ symbol on the “Home” tab. This will clearly show up all spaces, page breaks, section breaks and hidden text so you can work out what’s really going on.


3. Markup Modes

Tracked changes documents can be frustrating – both in their source files and translated forms. The names of the Markup modes can vary depending upon the version of Word you are using, but the functions are the same.


“Original” allows you to see what the document looked like prior to the changes you (or a client) made, providing the “Track Changes” button was selected.

“All Markup” enables you to see all of the changes made to the document, including comments, insertions and deletions, and formatting. If there have been a number of different editors, you can select to view your own changes only by selecting “Specific People” under the “Show Markup” dropdown menu.

“No Markup” mode shows you what the document looks like with all changes accepted, as your client would see the file, should they choose to accept the amendments. It’s always worth checking this one after completing a translation to make sure that everything appears as it should.

You can even set up keyboard shortcuts to switch between No Markup and All Markup modes, which can really help to save time on a long project.


4. Half page screens

OK, so technically this one is not a Microsoft Word only trick, but nevertheless it is one that works well in this software and deserves to be mentioned. If you get fed up minimising and maximising windows or switching between tabs, a quick way of seeing two windows side by side is to “Restore Down” a window (next to the “Close” cross in the top right hand corner), then clicking, holding and dragging the top bar over to one side of your screen. It then expands out to fit a half screen perfectly. If you do the same with another window on the opposite side of the screen, you can quickly refer to one document whilst working in another.


5. Tables

There are more to tables than budgets and lists.
Tables are a great way to help with formatting a document with text all over the place. Simply create a table with no borders showing and, with some cells in the right places, you can make your text neatly appear wherever you need it to. Just merge and split cells as required.
A letter could be laid out as follows, for example:

No more tabbing across lines or dragging indents to the right place for each section of text!


6. Headers and Footers

Although most people use these regularly, they can often be forgotten in the heat of the moment. Save time and effort by ensuring your headers and footers are set up as you start working on a document. The main body of text then flows seamlessly from one page to the next. There’s no need to copy and paste your text into the bottom of each page, which makes editing a hassle when everything has been aligned manually. If you need different headers and footers throughout your document, be sure to read our previous blog “4 helpful tips to make Microsoft Word work more effectively for you” which contains some more ideas to ensure your documents look professional at all times.


Do you have any other word processing tips that you find invaluable? Please do let us know either by email or via our Twitter account (@parallel_trans).
Don’t forget to check out our previous blog “4 helpful tips to make Microsoft Word work more effectively for you” which contains more tips and tricks for this software.