Five Important MS Word Tools to Help You Out With Your Writing
by Nayab Imran
Microsoft Office needs no introduction. There is not a person alive who has operated a computer in the last twenty years and not known what MS Office stands for. It is has emerged as the top leading software to be used among the masses; with regular updates and fine tuning to give its customers that much needed edge. Among its many, easy to use programs (PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook et cetera); MS Word is by far – according to me, anyway, the most sensational tool to created by man. A few of its features, essentially helpful in writing, are mentioned below:
1. Auto Correct:
Auto Correct is a built-in tool in the Word program that writers use to automatically correct any spelling mistakes that may occur whilst typing fast or when the writer is too engrossed in inputting their work. At first glance, one would think all autocorrect does is capitalize words on its own when necessary and point out misspelled words. However, that is not the case. We can customize the tool according to our preferences. For example, when there are some words that users occasionally have trouble with due to their difficult spellings and frequent usage, we apply the Find and Replace command to find the misspelled words in whichever documents we type and replace them with their correct spellings.
If you prefer to take notes on electronic devices, you can also use this command to expand the abbreviated words. In the tool column, select AutoCorrect Options. The options will appear on the right side of the screen and you can enter the word that you wish to be replaced when typing the abbreviation. But remember to only use non-word abbreviations so that Word doesn’t get confused. For example, do not use the word ’it’ as an abbreviation for information technology as the computer might get it mixed with the pronoun ‘it’.
2. Reversing Caps Lock:
This is the absolute best thing to have been created for fast typists, especially someone like me! Sometimes writers are on the brink of a deadline (ahem, ME), trying to wrap up their work as quickly as possible and can accidently hit the Caps Lock while typing. They might not even notice this (being so occupied with getting the work done) until it’s too late. Two, three paragraphs later, they will suddenly realize the mistake they have committed.
But let us not worry about this minor issue as with a click of a button (two, to be exact) the capitalized sentences can be reversed. When you press Ctrl+F7, you can easily reverse Caps Lock. It’s that simple – I just wished I had paid attention in computer class before instead of learning about this life-saving tool so late in life.
3. The Clipboard:
The fact that I did not learn about this seemingly easy and useful tool in class just proves that even my teacher was ignorant of this wonder. The Clipboard tool in the Word version can hold up to 24 items that you can store for later use by selecting the cut or copy command. This can be extremely helpful when you have frequently mentioned citations, names with difficult spellings and confusing dates. You can access this tool by clicking on the drop-down arrow in the Home tab next to the Clipboard. You can also click Ctrl + C twice as a shortcut to open up the Clipboard panel.
4. The Thesaurus:
Another wonderful tool invented by the technology gurus is the Thesaurus. It might be basic and well known but it is a miracle for us writers who sometimes stumble upon a word in the midst of creating the most beautiful piece of writing and cannot think of new words. All you have to do is bring your insertion point over the word that you want to change and click Shift+F7 (function key). A window will pop open providing you with a long list of similar words, categorized into adjectives, nouns and verbs. You can also use a short-cut if you right-click the mouse. The menu list that pops up contains various options among which ‘synonym’ will be your savior of the day. It will provide you with a smaller version of words similar to what you are looking for.
5. Research Tools:
MS Word has many tools and you might be familiar with these features as they are a great help to writers everywhere. A dictionary, thesaurus, spelling and grammar tools et cetera. Among them is the Research command which appears when you right-click on a word. When the menu list appears, go select Look up > Research Options and choose which ever option suits you. Remember though, some options require an internet connection and in some cases, money so as to sieve through proper information for you.
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