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10 Tips That Can Make Anyone A Microsoft Word Expert

10 Tips That Can Make Anyone A Microsoft Word Expert

Microsoft Office is one of the most popular office suites out there. It’s used by businesses both large and small. There are versions for college students and for home use. It’s available for both PC and Mac and word around the internet grapevine is that it’ll eventually be made available for some distributions of Linux. Even though most people use it, most people do not use it to its full potential. Here are 11 awesome tips to make you better at Microsoft Word.

1. See all of the symbols in Microsoft Word

Microsoft Office tips

    When you type spaces and hit the enter button, you don’t see all that much but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything there. There are actually symbols and characters all over your Microsoft Word document and you may not even know it. If you want to see all of them, Go to File, then Options, then Display, and select to Always Show These Formatting Marks on the Screen. You can also activate Draft Mode to see what the first doesn’t by going to the View menu and setting it to Draft View.

    2. Master the paragraph

    Microsoft Office tips

      You would be surprised just how many ways you can format a paragraph. You can indent the first sentence or you can indent every other line except the first line. What’s more, the paragraph mark (shown above) is actually fairly powerful. It contains information on how each paragraph is formatted which can make them pretty powerful. If you copy a whole paragraph with the paragraph mark, you end up copying the formatting too. If you don’t copy the mark with the paragraph, the paragraph will paste without formatting.

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      3. Master sections

      Microsoft Office tricks

        By using the various breaks in Microsoft Word, you can better organize your documents. The best way to do this is through the use of sections. You can access the breaks menu on the Page Layout menu. Microsoft Office doesn’t see pages as you and I see them. They see sections. If you set your document up in sections, you can format each section independently and give yourself far more control than you normally would if everything were in one section!

        4. Use styles

        Microsoft Office tips and tricks

          Styles are amazingly powerful. If you create a style template, you can use it over and over again for any document. If you write a lot of memos, you can create a memo style. You can repeat the process for virtually any document type. To see existing styles, to to the Home tab in Word. You can click on the down arrow to create your own. If you write a lot in a similar style, it’s definitely worth turning it into a style so you don’t have to format so much and save yourself some time.

          5. Prepare your document before writing

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          Microsoft Office formatting

            It’s always a good idea to get an idea of your formatting before you actually start filling in the blanks. That way you can format your headers, paragraphs, styles, etc all before you put your document together. Doing so can allow you to alter your document before you make it to make sure that everything fits appropriately. There’s nothing more frustrating than copying and pasting some information and having the formatting be all wrong.

            6. Configure your paste options

            Microsoft Office Paste settings

              Believe it or not, you can actually control how Microsoft Office deals with pasting words. This can be attained by clicking on the Office button (the logo at the top left), navigating to Word Options, and then to Advanced. From there you should be able to see a Cut, Copy, and Paste option that will let you configure your options. This can allow you to do things like disable hyperlinking when pasting and other formatting options to make life easier.

              7. Use full justification formatting

              Microsoft Office justified formatting

                An often unknown option in Word is the ability to use justification formatting. You can see an example of this above. Essentially, it just means that the left and right margins are perfectly aligned. Word is able to do this by altering the spacing of words in each line so that they line up. This gives documents a professional and formal look. To use this, click the Office logo, then Word Options, and then Advanced. Expand the Layout Options and you can set it there.

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                8. Hide the ribbon interface

                Microsoft Office hide ribbon

                  For those who may not know, the ribbon interface is the toolbar that runs along the top of Microsoft Word. Some people enjoy it and others find it distracting and too busy. Thankfully, there is an easy way to get rid of the ribbon. With Word open, click CTRL+F1. The ribbon will disappear. Repeat the process to make it reappear.

                  10. Remove all formatting

                  Microsoft Office formatting

                    Sometimes you need to blow up the formatting and start over. Formatting can get disorganized and your document can end up looking bad. When this happens it’s probably best to start over from the beginning. To do this, select any bit of text you want to remove the formatting from and click the button as shown in the screenshot above. The formatting will be removed and you will be left with just text.

                    11. Use the Spike to copy and paste

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                    Microsoft Office Spike Pasting

                      Spike pasting is actually a lot of fun. Here’s the premise. You cut various words from a document and then you can paste them all together. There isn’t really a specific use-case for this tool but you’ll know when you need it. To use it, use CTRL+F3 to copy. You can do this as many times as you like. When you paste as usual, it’ll paste everything that you copied using the CTRL+F3 command. This can be useful for collecting snippets of a document and putting them together.

                      With these tricks and a little practice, you’ll be able to create amazing documents that’ll look professional and clean. In a word place where just knowing how to use Word isn’t enough anymore, these tips can give you a slight edge that’ll make you stand out!

                      Featured photo credit: New Horizons via newhorizons.com

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                      Joseph Hindy

                      A writer, editor, and YouTuber who likes to share about technology and lifestyle tips.

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                      Last Updated on July 29, 2020

                      19 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

                      19 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

                      Whether you use your Mac for work or just for your personal projects, you’ve likely found yourself wondering how to improve your productivity. There are only so many hours in a day, and so much mental stamina you can muster before you run out.

                      There are dozens of tricks you can use to improve your own productivity and outlook, but if you’re looking for a more objective, comprehensive fix, the best thing to do is equip your Mac with productivity apps designed to help you do more in less time.

                      This Lifehack-exclusive list has some of the best productivity apps to help you feel less tired, improve your energy, and ultimately help you get more done every day:

                      1. Todoist

                        Available for all iOS devices, Todoist is a note-taking and organization app that can keep you on top of all your projects—both personal and professional.

                        Its best features are all free to use, including browser extensions, task creation, and interactive boards you can use to organize all your notes.

                        If you want to pay the optional $29 yearly fee, you can get even more advanced features like backups and automatic reminders. Even with the free version, you’ll stay far more organized.

                        Download: Todoist

                        2. 1Password

                          You may not realize it, but you probably spend a ton of time recalling your passwords, especially if and when you forget one to an app you use on a regular basis.

                          1Password is an app for Mac that saves and remembers all your passwords for you in one place, so you can access all your favorite sites with a single click.

                          You’ll save time and keep all your accounts secure simultaneously. A personal plan is $2.99 per month.

                          Download: 1Password

                          3. Bear

                            Bear is a unique kind of note-taking app designed to make it easier for Mac users to jot down notes on the go. With it, you can create to-do lists, give yourself reminders, and outline concepts for future brainstorming sessions.

                            It comes with many different inline styles so you can customize your notes to your personal preferences, and remember the context in which you wrote them. The core version is free, with a $14.99 per year version available as well.

                            Download: Bear

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                            4. Hazel

                              Hazel by noodlesoft is an automated organization tool designed for Mac that will help you automatically organize your files based on any custom rules you want to create.

                              For example, you can set it to move untouched items from one folder into another folder labeled “action items” if they haven’t been addressed within a week. It can save you hours of organization over the course of a few weeks. A single license is a flat $32.

                              Download: noodlesoft

                              5. Alfred

                                Alfred is an all-in-one app designed to save you time with Mac shortcuts and convenient custom actions. You can use it in a variety of ways.

                                For example, you can access Alfred’s clipboard memory so you don’t copy and paste the same material over and over, or set up custom workflows to automate some of your most repetitive tasks.

                                It’s a paid app, with multiple price points based on the features you desire.

                                Download: Alfred

                                6. TextExpander

                                  TextExpander does exactly what the name suggests; it allows you to type a short snippet of text, and expand that text automatically.

                                  For example, you can create a custom expansion that allows you to conjure a full paragraph you type repeatedly by simply typing a unique abbreviation. Once you get used to your custom combinations, you’ll spare your fingers from typing thousands of words.

                                  An individual account is $3.33 per month.

                                  Download: TextExpander

                                  7. Backblaze

                                    If you’ve ever experienced a crash, or theft of your Mac, you know how much time a system restore can cost you. You’ll spend hours replacing the files you lost, and lose thousands of files that are irreplaceable.

                                    Backblaze is an automated, inexpensive way to back up your entire Mac for just $5 a month.

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                                    Download: Backblaze

                                    8. Keyboard Maestro

                                      Keyboard Maestro is an older app that still has the power to make your life easier. With it, you can automate any number of tasks based on a certain trigger (such as a hotkey combination, or an event like connecting to a wireless network). A single license only costs $36.

                                      Download: Keyboard Maestro

                                      9. Snagit

                                        There are many applications for a good screen-capture app, whether you’re trying to illustrate a tech problem you have or just want to make an interesting meme. Snagit makes it easy, with built-in editing for both still images and video. A single license covers two machines, and costs $49.95.

                                        Download: TechSmith/Snagit

                                        10. Bartender

                                          Bartender is the cleverly-named app that helps you clean up and organize all your menu bar icons. You can also access them quickly with keyboard shortcuts.

                                          If you’re like most Mac users, those icons get cluttered quickly and stop you from working efficiently. It’s free to try for 4 weeks, after which you’ll need a $15 license.

                                          Download: Bartender

                                          11. Otter

                                          Otter is the Mac app for the note taker who hates typing. It’s an intelligent voice-recognition system and note-taking app that will help you transcribe your conversations, keep notes during meetings, and even take contextual notes to yourself in your own time.

                                          Best of all, it’s free to get started!

                                          Download: Otter

                                          12. Flux

                                            Do you often find yourself feeling tired throughout the day, or feeling unable to get to sleep after a day of staring at your computer? That could be because of the unnatural blue light that radiates from your Mac.

                                            Flux naturally adapts your display to emit light that matches the time of day, so you can sleep better and feel less tired. It’s also free!

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                                            Download: Flux

                                            13. PDFpen

                                            If you deal with PDFs on a regular basis, you probably find yourself wishing for some kind of tool that can let you mark up those PDFs however you want. Without a dedicated app like PDFpen, this can be difficult.

                                            PDFpen lets you edit PDFs in almost any conceivable way, giving you more power and saving you time. A single license is $74.95.

                                            Download: Smile Software/PDFpen

                                            14. OmniFocus

                                              OmniFocus is all about task management. It has a clean interface that allows you to tag your tasks, schedule events, and even automate certain features.

                                              It’s one of the most comprehensive solutions on the market, so there’s a bit of a learning curve to get the most out of it.

                                              A standard license is $39.99, while the pro version is $79.99.

                                              Download: OmniFocus

                                              15. Franz

                                                It’s tiring to switch between dozens of different chat programs like Facebook Messenger, Slack, and WhatsApp, whenever you want to have a conversation with a different contact.

                                                Franz’s solution is simple; offer access to all these apps in one convenient package. And best of all, it’s completely open source.

                                                Download: Franz

                                                16. MindNode

                                                  If you’re the brainstorming type, you need an app like MindNode to help you efficiently organize your thoughts. There are dozens of tools you can use to connect ideas in a mind map, or simply jot down notes for future reference.

                                                  The core app is free, with in-app purchases available.

                                                  Download: MindNode

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                                                  17. Focus

                                                    The internet is a wonderful thing, but it can be awfully distracting. And if you’re like the majority of us, you’ve interrupted work on a project because of some attention-grabbing site or bad online habit. That’s where Focus comes in.

                                                    This app allows you to block the worst offenders with custom time limits and other constraints, so you can focus on the task at hand. A single license is $19.99.

                                                    Download: Focus

                                                    18. CleanMyMac

                                                      Chances are, your Mac isn’t working as fast as it could, thanks to gigabytes of clutter and unnecessary files on your system. CleanMyMac helps you scan your Mac, monitor its health, and ultimately clean it up—so you can handle all your tasks that extra bit faster. A single license is $39.95.

                                                      Download: CleanMyMac

                                                      19. Grammarly

                                                        A spelling error or grammatical mistake can cost you big time. It could be the source of a worse grade on a big paper, or compromise your credibility in the workplace. Thankfully, Grammarly can help you.

                                                        This Mac-integrated writing assistant monitors all your writing and makes live corrections, so you’re alerted to your potential mistakes before they become permanent.

                                                        A free version exists, but the premium version will cost you between $11 and $30 a month, depending on how you pay.

                                                        Download: Grammarly

                                                        The Bottom Line

                                                        These productivity apps should help you squeeze more productive hours out of every day, but they aren’t the only tools you’ll have to help you find success.

                                                        Make the time to learn about and experiment with all the life hacks that can make you more productive. By improving your devices as well as your outlook and focus, you’ll be able to get far more done in a day, and feel better doing it.

                                                        More to Boost Productivity

                                                        Featured photo credit: Patrick Ward via unsplash.com

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