10 Great Word Productivity Hacks

This blog post looks at some productivity hacks for creating professional, consistent and awesome MS Word documents.

These 10 skills are sure to save time and improve overall efficiency in MS Word.

1. Quick Parts and Building Blocks

Building Blocks is a fantastic feature in MS Word where you can store frequently used content for quick insertion to a document.

There are many galleries to the Building Blocks feature including cover pages, tables, headers, footers and text boxes. Quick Parts is the gallery for miscellaneous content that does not fit any of the other galleries.

For example, say I work for a company with 4 different offices. I frequently have to enter the address of these offices into documentation. This entails looking up the correct postcode etc. and then typing and formatting it. With Quick Parts these can be stored for easy re-use. Continue reading

Formatting Mail Merge Fields from Excel

When performing a mail merge from Excel to Word, your mail merge fields tend to lose their Excel formatting. This is especially common with date, time and currency fields.

This tutorial will look at how you can correctly format date, time and currency mail merge fields from Excel. Once the formatting is applied to the mail merge document it will be remembered for future use.

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Type Special German Characters in Word/Excel

I have started to learn German as it has always been a goal of mine to learn the language. So I started to list some vocab in Excel to test myself.

I am using an English keyboard and the German language contains 4 special characters that do not appear on an English keyboard. You have the 3 umlaut accented characters ä, ö, ü and the ß (esszet).

There are two main ways to enter these letters into Word or Excel. One way is to insert the symbol, and the other is to use the number code associated with each character.

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Insert a Non-Breaking space into a Word Document

When entering text into a document, MS Word wraps your text onto different lines for you. This is expected and very useful but can cause problems when you do not want a word to be broken over different lines in a document.

Examples of this may be when entering text such as 20 kg, or a customer reference code like AD TYH 3506.

To prevent a word from being broken across different lines you need to insert a non-breaking space instead of a traditional space.

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Using the Custom Dictionary in Word

When you spell check your Word documents, there are bound to be some words that you have used which Word incorrectly identifies as a spelling mistake.

Instead of just telling Word to ignore these words, you can go one step further and add them to your custom dictionary.

The custom dictionary is a built in dictionary for you to store words that you use often, and are being incorrectly identified as spelling mistakes. Common examples include the names of people, companies and locations.

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Format Footnotes in a Word Document

Footnotes are text displayed at the bottom of a page used mainly for references or comments. When footnotes are added to a document in Word they appear in the default font and size. For Word 2010 this is the Times New Roman font and size 10.

The footnote text and reference can be formatted to be consistent with the documents body text or to improve clarity. The footnote separator can also be changed or removed if no longer desired.

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Automatically Add the Chapter Heading into a Documents Header

If you are working on a long document you may want to display each chapter heading in the relevant header. For example, to display chapter 1 in the header for pages 2 – 15 and then chapter 2 for pages 16 – 21 and so on.

You may have previously thought that this technique would require inserting multiple section breaks and using the Link to Previous option you get with Headers and Footers. This is how most training sessions and online tutorials approach this.

However Microsoft Word contains a fantastic feature that will enable you automatically insert each chapter heading into the relevant page header. This also means that the header can be updated when content is moved or changed. And all without a single section break. Continue reading

Change the Default Paste Setting in Word

When pasting data from another program such as the Internet into a Word document, it is normally a good idea to paste as unformatted text. This removes any source formatting from the copied text.

This can be achieved by using Paste Special rather than a normal paste or Ctrl + V. However if you regularly copy data from the Internet into a Word document you might find the need to use Paste Special each time quite irritating.

Fortunately Word provides a way for you to change the default paste setting for when pasting data between programs. Continue reading

Control the Flow of Text with Pagination Settings

Microsoft Word will control the flow of text across pages automatically using a number of settings. These include the paper size, the printer you are using and the margin sizes.

Another factor that will affect the flow of text across pages are each paragraphs pagination settings.The pagination settings are used to control how a paragraph breaks across pages. Continue reading