Microsoft Word has had something of a rocky history with Mac owners, although by and large the folks in Redmond appear to have succeeded in pleasing the majority of users with the latest 2011 edition released in October of last year. Here are a few ways to make the most of the slick new version, including a few hidden gems.
Microsoft Word: Those two simple words (pun intended) have been the bane of many a Mac user’s existence since the first version debuted with the original Macintosh in 1984. Thankfully, Word has improved over the years-despite a few rough patches here and there-and the version released last year as part of the Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac suite has actually reclaimed some of its former glory as the premiere word processor on the platform.
To celebrate that newfound love, let’s take a look at this handful of tips, tricks and secrets for Microsoft Word 2011 so you can make the most of this flagship application’s big comeback.
Ribbon Be Gone!
Word 2011’s new Ribbon toolbar isn’t for everyone, especially those of us with smaller laptop screens. Gain back some much-needed vertical screen space by clicking the small upward arrow to the far right of your Ribbon tabs, which collapses those space-gobbling tools. Need them back again? Simply click the now downward-facing arrow and all will be right with the world again.
Keep Words Together with Nonbreaking Spaces
There’s actually so much hidden power inside Word, we tend to overlook the little things-such as adding what’s known as a “nonbreaking” space to keep words together in your text. It’s as simple as holding down the Option key as you hit the Space bar at the point where the text would normally break-now it will all stay together like one happy family.
Be the Master of Your Own Hyphens
Word also allows you to choose where a hyphen gets used at a line break, rather than simply accepting whatever the software gives you. With your cursor inside the word you want hyphenated, hold down the Command key as you press the Hyphen key. You won’t see the hyphen appear unless the text is at a line break, but you can turn on the ability to always see it by checking Preferences > View > Optional hyphens.
Quick Access to Reference Tools
Looking to find the meaning of a word or come up with some more interesting variations on it? Thankfully, Word keeps both a dictionary and thesaurus just a keyboard combination away. Select the word in question and use Shift+F7 and it’s done. Word also includes translation tools (into 13 other languages) and even a Bing web search of your selected word.
Group Your Cut Text with Spike
The hidden Spike feature of Word has been with us for a long time, but it’s a nifty feature that’s worth keeping alive. If you ever need to cut a bunch of different text from a document and then paste it all together somewhere, Spike is for you. Use the Command+F3 combination to cut text to the Spike-and it’s good for multiple cuts-then paste it all together with a simple Command+Shift+F3 combo. Nifty!
Make Your (Sentence) Selection
You probably already know that you can double-click to select a word in Word or triple-click to select an entire paragraph, but what about just one sentence? It’s not only possible, but here’s how to do it. Simply hold down the Command key as you click your mouse and watch as Word selects an entire sentence. Now that’s a pretty handy tip!
Lose the Distractions with Full Screen
Some days, you want to be able to write without the distraction of a bunch of tweets, emails or even other Finder windows. It’s all happening under the View > Full Screen menu option, which catapults your document into a spartan black background with slimmed-down Write and Read modes so you can get to the task at hand. Click Exit or use the Esc key to get things back to normal.
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