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Other Skills Professional Microsoft Word Users Know

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While I’ve covered what I consider the top 5 sets of skills in Microsoft Word that professional users know how to do, there are other skills that are really useful, and I thought I should at least give a mention to these other skills, and share how they can be helpful, and link to some good learning resources.

Inserting Quick Parts -> Document Properties

A feature of Word that is nice for templates, or documents that may be reused in different situations, is to have some common metadata, such as the author inserted in a way that if the author’s name changes, it gets automatically updated.  The Insert -> Quick Parts -> Document Properties can do this, along with inserting the Publish Date, and having it easy to update what date the document is actually published.


SmartArt is a feature of Microsoft Office that makes inserting diagrams very easy.  There is a good tutorial about how do SmartArt Graphics from GCF.

Working with Pictures, and Understanding text wrapping

Pictures are a great feature of Microsoft Word, but a lot of people struggle with them, because when they are first inserted, they act like a character on the screen, and can’t be moved around.  To have it become easier to move your pictures around, you simply need to change the text wrapping option.  There is a good tutorial from GCF about Inserting Clip Art and Pictures for Word 2010, although this has changed a little in newer versions of Word, and GCF has an updated tutorial for the newer versions also.

Find / Replace, including Finding Formatting

Find and Replace is a great feature of Word, and professional users know how to also use it to find formatting, so for instance, if you want to find anything that is colored red, you can use the advanced Find feature to find only red fonts.  Check out How-To Geeks article about How to Find and Replace Formatting in Microsoft Word to see how to do this.

Headers and Footers

Headers and footers are often useful to put information such as a last updated date, or the filename of the document, or a letterhead, on each page.  There are some techniques about how to connect and disconnect headers and footers from one section of the document to the next, so they can be different from each other.   It is also possible to set it so that left pages have a different header and footer than right pages, in 2-sided printing, helping to have page numbers be consistently on the outside of the page. GCF has a good basic introduction to Headers and Footers, and there are lots of other resources to learn the advanced skills.

Inserting Equations

If you ever need to put any type of mathematics in a document, the Insert Equation feature makes it fairly easy to insert these, and have them look fairly professional. There is a video about Writing Math Equations in Microsoft Word from Albert Rodriguez, that shows the basics of inserting equations, which while geared for math instructors, can help anyone who wants to write math equations.

Inserting Symbols

Often you may want to insert the copyright symbol, trademark symbol, or other type of symbol.  Insert Symbol makes this pretty easy to do.  There are lots of cool symbols under the Wingdings and Webdings.

Mail Merge

Mail merge is a very common function that businesses want to be able to do.  Word has a fairly powerful process, although I have found it tends to work best with a spreadsheet or csv file as the data source.  GCF has a fairly good Using Mail Merge lesson, but before diving into mail merge, you should have a good understanding of file management and file types, as otherwise, I find people often get their data source, and form letter files confused with each other.

Commenting and Tracking Changes

Professional Word users often will have people edit their work, whether it is an Editor, a manager, a committee, etc.   The Review Tab has a good method of commenting on documents, and if changes are made by someone, to have those changes being tracked, so the original author can choose which to keep and which to not keep.  Again, GCF has a good lesson on Track Changes and Comments.


I hope this blog series has helped explain where features and skills in Microsoft Word are valuable.  Please leave me thoughts about any other feature of Microsoft Word that you find is valuable on a regular basis, in a professional capacity, and share your thoughts on what I have shared in the comments.

Thanks for reading, and I hope this has been helpful!

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Written by Jacob Walker

December 8th, 2018 at 11:59 am

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