A Forrester report suggested that more than 90% businesses offer Office to their employees. This stat alone captures the essence of the kind of stronghold that MS Office has in terms of enterprise document management and productivity software. Among all Office sub-products, MS Word and MS Excel, without a doubt, are applications that most office employees use at least once a day. These applications have become the mainstays of how ‘text’ and ‘table’ formats of data are essentially interacted with, by end users. MS Word, specifically, is a pillar of office productivity.
Here’s Something Interesting about MS Word
So, almost everyone who’s anybody thinks he/she knows MS Word. Maybe you are, but maybe you’re not. That’s because Microsoft keeps on adding more features to its Word application, and not many users realize how much value these lesser known features can add. Microsoft has recently acquired a startup called Intentional Software, to ramp up its abilities around automation and simplifying programming for collaborative Office 365 products. Emails, reports, proposals, and letters – you name it, and there’s MS Word involved. It’s surprising how even the busiest and smartest IT managers don’t do the effort of understanding lesser known Word features to get the most out of the software.
With this guide, there’s no looking back; here are some super cool productivity hacks for MS Word.
Extracting All Images from an MS Word Document
Stuck with a product manual with 100+ screenshots, and tasked with creating a new guide, re-using the old pictures? How do you copy and paste so many images separately without losing a lot of valuable time? Here’s a trick.
- Use the Save As the option to save the Word document.
- Select Web Page as the target format.
- Once you save it, Word creates a .html file, along with a folder that contains all the embedded images.
- Now, all you need is to go to this folder, and you have your images waiting for you.
Copying Multiple Sections from a Long Document
For IT manager who needs to go through long reports, and is tasked with creating executive summaries, MS Word’s Clipboard feature is a godsend.
Using this feature, you can quickly review the last 24 selections of text and images you copied from the document! All you need to do is to go to the Home tab, look for the Clipboard button, and click on it.
This saves you vital time as you can visit the Clipboard anytime to take a quick look at whatever you selected and copied. This, for obvious reasons, proves invaluable particularly when you are trying to mark important content sections, to review them or collate them later.
For IT managers hard pressed for deadlines, and those working closely with other managers and executives to prepare proposals and review documents, co-authoring is a tremendous productivity hack. This is the equivalent of co-authors sitting next to each other and working on the same content.
Co-authoring enables users to see everyone’s changes as they happen in the document, facilitating super quick feedback. MS Office support guides explain co-authoring as a 3-step process.
- Save your document to SharePoint Online, or OneDrive.
- Send out invites to people to edit the document along with you.
- When this shared document is opened, each invitee will see the work that was done by others (supported by MS Word 2016, Word Android, and Word Online).
View Documents Side By Side
Pressing ALT + Tab to switch between two simultaneously opened Word documents can be disorienting. It certainly isn’t the best way to compare documents. If you don’t want to use the ‘Compare’ feature in the ‘Review’ tab of MS Word, and only want to go through two documents side by side, there’s an option.
- Open the two documents you wish to view side by side.
- Go to the View tab.
- In the ‘Windows’ section, click on ‘View Side by Side’ option
- If you also want the two documents to scroll simultaneously, you can click on the ‘Synchronous Scrolling’ button.
Pin Files to ‘Recently Used’
Ask an IT manager who needs to prepare daily, weekly, and monthly reports, as to what a mess it can be to maintain basic templates, which you can edit and repurpose into newer reports. No more ‘search’ hassles, because you can keep your trusted and ready-reckoner files pinned to the ‘recently used’ tab.
Here’s how you can add a document here:
- Go to the File tab
- Click on Open to see a list of files that have been only recently used
- Click on the ‘Pin this item to the list’ button
Make Your Documents Easier to Read
If your supervisor or boss keeps on requesting re-work on documents because of ‘readability’ issues, you know how much time can be lost in attending to the ambiguous feedback. No need to put up with any of it any longer, because MS Word brings you two globally trusted readability tests, built right into the tool. These tests are:
- Flesch Reading Ease test
- Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level test
Here’s how you can use this feature:
- Go to File, and click on Options.
- Go to Mail > Compose Messages > Spelling and AutoCorrect
- Select Proofing.
- Look for an option called ‘When correcting spelling in Outlook’; under this, check the ‘Check grammar with spelling’ box.
- Check the ‘Show readability statistics’ box.
More Productivity Hacks
Apart from all the nifty tricks we covered above, there’s a lot more you can do with MS Word. For instance:
- Transferring ODT files with Microsoft Word Online and Google Docs (useful while you’re working with startups and vendors that use open source document management software, saving files in ODT format)
- Keyboard shortcuts, such as Ctrl + Alt + V, to access formatting options while pasting content from one section to another.
- Press ALT, see how shortcut indications pop up at the top of the menu bar, telling you which key you can press to access the associated action quickly.
Chances are that it will still take time before you get your personalized AI-powered robot assistant to take away your Office applications work. Till then, trust the kind of productivity hacks as presented in this guide to make work quicker, better, and more fun.
Author: Rahul Sharma