College students spend most of their time writing and editing academic papers. Whether you study IT, business, law, or medicine, you’ll need to spruce up your Microsoft Word skills to make ends meet.
According to recent data, 30% of students consider that they lack certain digital skills necessary for them to succeed professionally. Furthermore, over 70% of them believe that industry leaders also have a poor understanding of digital skills and technologies, Microsoft Word being only the tip of the iceberg.
Familiarizing yourself with Microsoft Office and MS Word in particular isn’t as daunting as it may seem. Let’s look at several practical tips and tricks you can use to improve your MS Word skills and thus improve the quality of your academic papers moving forward.
Diversify Your Fonts and Style Choices
Despite its long legacy, Microsoft Word is still a very competent and versatile text editor. One of its main appeals lies in just how flexible it is with what it enables its users to do. You can easily download and install hundreds of fonts to use in different college papers, presentations, and other projects. Some of the best font sources you should check out include:
All you have to do is browse the selection of fonts and download the ones which speak to your project the most. While you’ll get by in writing your papers with Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri, you can spice things up with more modern fonts.
This will separate your academic papers from your peers and make your writing more attractive to the eye. Paired with quality essay services that can help you write or edit your papers before submitting them, using original fonts in MS Word will truly help elevate your writing.
Take Full Advantage of Shortcuts
Keyboard shortcuts are the way to go when writing any kind of paper through MS Word. Navigating to certain options and right-clicking all the time to bring down menus can be bothersome. What you can do instead is learn how to use shortcuts to your advantage. Some of the most useful ones include:
CTRL+C/V – Copy/Paste selected text
CTRL+A – Select all text on the page
CTRL+F – Find certain text in the document
CTRL+G – Go to a certain section
CTRL+B – Highlight selected text
There is a vast array of MS Word shortcuts that you can use on a moment-to-moment basis while writing papers. The best way to learn more about them is to consult Microsoft Word’s “Help” section and learn more about them. You’ll quickly realize how faster and more convenient it is to do basic actions that will make your papers shine.
Learn How to Proofread Papers
Plagiarism is a huge red flag in academia – you’ll have a difficult time explaining why you’ve plagiarized an existing paper on accident. However, Microsoft Word can amend some of that by helping you proofread papers more precisely. By navigating to “Review > Spelling & Grammar”, you’ll get an overview of your academic paper so far.
This feature is even more useful when paired with Grammarly, which features an official MS Word plugin that you can install easily. Your academic and creative writing efforts can be more legible and less prone to grammar or formatting errors if you use Microsoft Word’s spelling features regularly. You’ll have a much easier time ensuring that your papers and essays are plagiarism-free, and well-formatted, with MS Word’s “Review” tab at your side.
Attaching Multimedia to Your Documents
Multimedia files can enrich your academic papers and presentations – you’re not limited to plain text in Microsoft Word. Attaching multimedia can make your papers easier to read and more approachable even to laymen. Some of the file types you can include in your written documents include:
Depending on the type of paper you’re working on, these files can truly elevate your work to the next level. Subsequently, you can export your MS Word file as a PDF and easily share it via email or external drives. Microsoft Word is anything but a limited text editor – it’s a dynamic tool capable of improving the quality of your work on a fundamental level.
Easily Collaborate on Your Papers with Comments
MS Word’s “Comments” feature is one of the most useful options available in the text editor. By simply right-clicking and selecting “New Comment” in the drop-down menu, you’ll be able to write comments about the selected piece of writing. This makes asking for feedback, sharing the workload, or simply taking notes while writing extremely easy.
New comments will appear sequentially on the right-hand side of your screen, and you’ll easily be able to tell who wrote which comment. This makes working on group projects more efficient and less time-consuming, for example. Likewise, offering your thoughts on your friends’ writing is much simpler and more convenient with built-in comments instead of using other means to do so. Even if you’ll never collaborate with others on your academic papers, comments will still be a worthwhile feature for you moving forward.
Improving Your Microsoft Word Skills
The more you use Microsoft Word to write papers, prepare presentations, or share your research with others, the more comfortable it’ll become to use. MS Word is a powerful text editor which can help you with your college applications as well as make sure that your thesis paper looks professional.
Use these tips and tricks to start using Microsoft Word more productively. Don’t be afraid to explore its navigation bar and simply play around with its variety of options to find the ones most useful to you. Once you get into the habit of using it daily, MS Word will become a natural extension of your college toolset alongside your notebook or to-do list app.
Bio: Joanne Elliot is a professional content writer and social media marketer with in-depth knowledge and familiarity with academic publishing. She is a passionate writer who understands the needs and pain points of the audiences she writes essays, papers, and articles. Joanne loves to hike, bike, and spend as much time outdoors as possible.