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6 ways to get more out of Word


By J. Carlton Collins, CPA

Microsoft Word is one of the world’s top tools for communicating, with the distinct advantage of providing the opportunity to review, edit, or refine one’s message before pressing print or send. To help you get the most out of this powerful tool, here are six simple tips for using Microsoft Word (note that the answers below are specific to Word 2013):

1. Hide white space. You can make your Word documents a little easier to read or edit by temporarily hiding page breaks, footers, headers, and excessive blank spaces. In Microsoft Word’s Print Layout view, position your cursor between two separate pages until the Double-click to hide white space option appears, and then double-click your mouse button. To restore page breaks, footers, headers, and excessive blank spaces, position your cursor on the break line separating any two pages until the Double-click to show white space option appears, and then double-click your mouse button.

2. Automate your table of contents. You can create a table of contents in a Word document that can be automatically updated as the document changes. Highlight each paragraph heading in the document that you want referenced in the table of contents and from the References tab select Add Text, Level 1. Once you have referenced each paragraph, position your cursor where you want the table of contents to appear and from the References ribbon select Table of Contents, and then click on the table of contents format you desire. Thereafter, to update your table of contents as the document changes, click the table of contents to select it, and then press the Update Table button that appears at the top of your selected table of contents to update the table’s verbiage and page references.

3. View two separate parts of your Word document simultaneously. To simultaneously view two separate parts of your Word document, select Split from the View tab, click and drag the split to the desired position, and then scroll the separate viewing areas to view separate portions of the document at the same time.

4. View three or more separate parts of your Word document simultaneously. To simultaneously view three or more separate parts of a Word document, from the View tab select the New Window option (as many times as necessary) to launch additional copies of the document in separate windows. Next, from the View tab, select the Arrange All option to display the duplicate Word document windows side-by-side on your monitor. Thereafter, you can scroll in each window separately to view multiple portions of the Word document simultaneously.
 
5. Create newspaper formatting. You can create multiple columns in Word so your document flows and reads like a newspaper. To format a document into newspaper-style columns, from the Page Layout tab, select Columns, and then select the desired number of columns (three columns, eg). Thereafter, as you type, the columns will automatically flow from one column to the next similar to a traditional newspaper layout.

6. Use a shortcut to insert a comment. You can insert a comment into Word as follows: Select the text or position where you want the comment to occur, press Alt+Ctrl+M to launch a blank comment box, and then enter your comment. (A comment can consist of text, images, hyperlinks, or even videos).

J. Carlton Collins (carlton@asaresearch.com) is a technology consultant and a contributing editor for CGMA Magazine.