Put Word to work for you!

By Bill Coan, Microsoft MVP

Applies to:
Microsoft Office Word 2003
Microsoft Word 2002
Microsoft Word 2000

5 time-saving tips for quickly harnessing the power of Word

If you use Word in your daily work, a few simple tips will help you save an hour of your time per week, maybe more. Best of all, these tips are so easy to use that you can put them to work immediately upon finishing this article. Yes, they are that easy to use!

 Note   Most users spend more than an hour per week on repetitive tasks that could be accomplished instantly (yes, instantly!) with one of the time-saving tools built into Word. No wonder Word is the world's most widely used word-processing program! Take a minute now to consider these five clever ideas for putting Word to work for you, then start saving hour after hour of work in the weeks to come.

Let Word type names and other words and phrases for you

Are you still manually typing your name, your boss's name, or your organization's name? If so, you're throwing away 10 to 15 minutes per week. Get that time back in three easy steps.

AutoCorrect dialog box

The AutoCorrect feature expands a two-letter or three-letter abbreviation into a complete name or other word or phrase, to save you from having to type it manually.

  1. Type your name (or your boss's name or your organization's name) and select it.
  2. On the Tools menu, click AutoCorrect or AutoCorrect Options and then click the AutoCorrect tab.
  3. Select the Replace text as you type check box, type a two-letter or three-letter abbreviation for the name in the Replace box, click Add, and then click OK.

From now on, simply type the abbreviation into your document and press SPACEBAR. Word will expand the abbreviation into the full name for you. Quick, think of all the names and other words and phrases that you'll never have to type again, because Word can type them for you!

Let Word insert your favorite text or graphics

Do you copy favorite paragraphs of text or graphics out of old documents and paste them into new ones? That's better than recreating the paragraphs manually, but you're still throwing away 10 to 15 minutes per week compared with someone who lets Word do this automatically.

Here's how to free up that time.

AutoText dialog box

The AutoText feature lets you specify a short name for a body of text or graphics and then lets you insert that body of material just by typing the short name.

  1. Select a favorite paragraph (or group of paragraphs). Or hold down SHIFT+CTRL and use the arrow keys to select one or more paragraphs.
  2. Press ALT+F3 (or on the Insert menu, point to AutoText and then click AutoText).
  3. Type a name (of at least four characters) for the selected paragraph, click Add, and then click OK.

From now on, simply type the name of the paragraph (or the first four characters of the name) and press TAB or ENTER. Word will insert the paragraph for you.

Let Word type information about your documents

In each document, do you include certain information about that document, such as its file name or the date it was last saved or printed? Don't waste time looking up this information or entering it manually. Word will look it up and enter it for you.

  1. Type one of the following key words: filename, filesize, createdate, savedate, printdate, numwords, numchars, revnum, edittime, author, or lastsavedby.
  2. Select the entire word and then press CTRL+F9 to convert the word to a field.
  3. Position the insertion point in the key word and press F9 to update the field, or point to the key word, right-click and then click Update Field.

As your document changes, you can update the field to reflect those changes by repeating step 3 or by pressing CTRL+A to select the entire document and then pressing F9 to update all fields.

 Note   To ensure that printouts have the most current information in each field, click Options on the Tools menu, and on the Print tab, select the Update Fields check box.

Let Word alphabetize lists for you

Do you occasionally need to alphabetize a list of names? You could waste an entire hour on that single task, but Word can sort the list instantly.

Sort Text dialog box

The Sort Text command can be used to alphabetize lists instantly.

  1. Type a list of names, pressing ENTER after each name. Your list should look something like:
    • Madeleine Kelly
    • Brian Cox
    • Tamara Johnston
  2. Select the entire list.
  3. On the Table menu, click Sort.
  4. Click Options, click Other, press SPACEBAR and then click OK.
  5. In the Sort by list, click Word 2, and then click OK.

Now your list looks like this:

  • Brian Cox
  • Tamara Johnston
  • Madeleine Kelly
  1. Repeat steps 1 through 5, but click Word 1 in the Sort by list, and your list will look like this:
    • Brian Cox
    • Madeleine Kelly
    • Tamara Johnston

Change the way Word works

Are you one of those users who detests something about the way Word works? Chances are, you may be able to change its behavior as follows.

Options dialog box

The Options dialog box lets you adjust various Word features so they work the way that's best for you.

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. Select the tab for the type of option you want to modify.

 Note   The tabs include View, General, Edit, Print, Save, Spelling & Grammar, Track Changes, User Information, Compatibility, Security, and File Locations.

  1. In Word 2000 and Word 2002, right-click each option and then click What's This? to learn more about what each option controls. In Word 2003, click the ? button in the title bar of the Options dialog box and then click the expandable links for the options that you want to learn more about.
  2. If the option sounds helpful, in the Options dialog box, select the check box for that option. If it doesn't sound helpful, clear the check box if it is selected.
  3. On the Tools menu, click AutoCorrect or AutoCorrect Options (depending on which version of Word you use), and then repeat steps 2 through 4 to customize these settings, too.

About the author

Bill Coan is a solutions provider specializing in Microsoft .NET and XML solutions for Microsoft Office Word, as well as templates, macros, and add-ins for Word. He has authored numerous articles on the Word MVP Web site. His thoughts on Word and Microsoft Office have been featured in Office Watch, WordTips, eWeek, PC Magazine, PC PRO, Information Week, and the Microsoft Developer Network. He is the developer of the DataPrompter add-in for Microsoft Word for Windows and the MacSimplePrompter add-in for Microsoft Word for Mac. For more information, visit his Web site at http://www.wordsite.com.

 
 
Applies to:
Word 2003, Word 2002, Word 2000