Category Archives: Word Training

Office 2013: Easier File Sharing

It’s easy to see why Office 365 is now the most popular MS suite to date. With over 1 million subscribers since its launch earlier this year, it’s packed with all the great features that we know and love about Office, with the added bonus of online storage, file sharing and collaboration.

With new save and share functionality across Microsoft Office 2013 applications you can now share work instantly via a number of channels, both on and offline. This makes collaboration a whole lot simpler and echoes the sentiments of Office 365.


Share page in Word 2013Save directly to the cloud, a blog, email and more, the changes may not be revolutionary, but they will save you considerable time and effort compared to dated methods.

Integration with SkyDrive, Lync and other applications is helping offices across the globe run smoother. With the ability to save an offline document into your shared SkyDrive account, the possibilities for Office productivity are endless.

Both Office 2013 & Office 365 are revolutionising the way that businesses work. Starting with sharing, we see this as the first steps to a 100% online productivity suite.

How to: File > Share

For more tips and features on Word 2013 and other versions, browse Word training courses from Best STL, available London and UK wide.

Word 2013: New Read Mode

Previous versions of Word came with useful layout options optimised for printing and web viewing. Print layout and webpage layout were particularly useful in years gone by.

The recent addition to Word 2013 sees the introduction of a new Read Mode. Optimised for tablets and touch, your document will adjust according to screen size and orientation. Documents now scroll vertically instead of horizontally for a better user experience on tablet devices.

Read Mode in Word 2013

How to:

There are 3 ways to view your document in Read Mode.

  1. Click the book icon on the status bar of the Word 2013 window
  2. Select the View Tab > Read Mode
  3. Using shortcut keys > Alt + W + F

For more tips and features on Word 2013 and other versions, browse Word training courses from Best STL, available London and UK wide.

Word 2013: Open and Edit PDFs

new feature for microsoft office 2013A great way of preserving the look and feel of the original source document when sending to multiple devices, the PDF is a much loved office favourite. Compressing large file sizes into much reduced versions is one of the PDFs best features. However, up until recently, making changes to a PDF file in Word was all but impossible.

PDF Adobe

Thanks to Word 2013 you can open PDFs in Word format, edit them and then save them as another PDF or Word Document. That’s great for correcting small errors or updating data to make it more current.

How to: Open Word > Browse PDF file > Open PDF > Start Editing

Tip: The conversion works best with documents that are mostly text. The more images within the text can prompt formatting complications.

For more tips and features on Word 2013 and other versions, browse Word training courses from Best STL, available London and UK wide.


5 Reasons Why Your Word Documents Are Losing Its Readers

In a commercial environment you’re probably aware of the ever-deepening sea of paperwork that lands in your inbox or on your desk. Over time we develop skills in picking out key points from the entire document, but over time we also become passive viewers of content both at work and in our personal lives. How often do you challenge an advertisement you see, and how often do you actively de-construct documents you get at work without skim reading?

In this article I aim to outline five key functions you can use in Microsoft Word to make your readers actively digest the information you are trying to portray. Regardless of your profession you should be able to incorporate these features into your documents.

1. Visual Stimulants in your documents:

Keeping your readers engaged with coherent and engaging copy is obviously very important, but displaying that in a way which isn’t text heavy can be difficult. However here are just some tools you can use to maximize the visual engagement of your document:

Flowcharts instead of words:

You’ve been asked to outline a project workflow when conceptualising a new service that your company plans on offering to its customers.  Flowcharts will allow you to break up dense sections of copy into visually appealing, and fluid, structures. Not only do they encourage you to keep your copy concise but they also arrange your copy in a way which instantaneously makes the project’s stages linear and organised.

An easy way to visually identify key steps in a process.

An easy way to visually identify key steps in a process.

SmartArt process graphics:

These will allow you to essentially follow the same principles that a flowchart has to offer. However it offers a much wider variety of ‘SmartArt Graphics’ and layouts to display not only text but images, processes, cycles and hierarchy structures. Each one of these SmartArt Graphics contain their own self expanding menu, allow you to select from a dazzling array of pre-built options which will ultimately keep your documents original.

Just a few examples of the different types of 'Relationship' graphics you can chose from.

Just a few examples of the different types of ‘Relationship’ graphics you can chose from.

2. Formatting text:

There is nothing worse then reading trough several pages of dense copy. Subconsciously your brain will immediately start looking for well structured visual paragraphs and sentences. A decent understanding of paragraph formatting and basic grammatical practices are important, but this doesn’t mean you have to have a PhD in English Language to form a well-structured document! Try using the following tools:

Text Box:

A feature that has been an integral part of Word for many years now, and arguably a tool that hasn’t changed since its conception and for good reasons too. The Text Box tool allows you to place segments of concise text anywhere on your page, for example you may have an image that needs more of an explanation than a mere caption. The Text Box tool will also allow you to format its appearance by altering its border type, colour and size.

3. Multimedia content:

If you’ve read my other article on Cloud based storage you would have picked up on the ever growing consumer reliance on being able to not only store but view digital files wherever they may be. Therefore you are able to utilise these multi-media tools in Word to effectively incorporate your brands assets including your logo, promotional video and even an audio file.


The most interactive form of communicating a message, however not every document would require a video file to be produced and incorporated. However if you have a launched a new service, or product, you may want to film the response of your clients which could then be attached to your monthly review of said service. Initially however it isn’t immediately obvious how to play a video file if you have shared the document directly, to play the file you have to double click its icon which will then bring up its command bar.

A very basic example of an attached video into a Word document.

A very basic example of an attached video into a Word document.


Word doesn’t shout about this feature, however it’s something that can be used extremely effectively given most situations. To use my previous scenario some customers/clients may be uncomfortable with filming their response to your new product. However by offering a follow up meeting to receive this invaluable feedback you could effectively kill two birds with one stone. If your client were happy to record the meeting in an audio format, you would be able to gain accurate and quotable comments as well as being able to directly import this audio into commercial reports.

4. Fonts and Font Sizes:

Something that is quite easily over looked when writing your articles, I’m sure that you have probably come across lengthy documents in size 8 font in the past. There seems to be a tendency in some people to try and bloat a document with as much copy as they can, normally resulting in detraction from the readers intended outcome. Again you brain will be telling you that reading 5000 words in size 8 font is going to be a struggle, so settle for a minimum of size 12. Also try to avoid flamboyant type faces, but try to select one which avoids the standard Times New Roman or Arial to make your document stand out from the others your boss will receive.

Just a few examples of Words bank of typefaces.

Just a few examples of Words bank of typefaces.

5. Connectivity:

We are always striving to expand our knowledge in areas that interest us, however reading through commercial sales reports and staff reviews don’t overly tend to engage our imagination. You can change this though, as I said before in my Cloud based storage article more and more people are consuming media on digital devices. This can allow you to add endless connectivity to your documents; one way to do this is to incorporate hyperlinks. This would allow your readers to expand their knowledge in competing companies, as an example, you could reference a video game trailer for a product from a rival publisher. This would not only inform your boss of competing brands but also allow them to engage with the content.

By simply utilising some of these tools in Word you can effectively add a new lease of life into your documents. What do you think, are these techniques really something you think could make a difference? Or do you think that most commercial organisations wouldn’t want to allocate more time into making their documents more engaging?

Want to use Word like a pro? Find out more Best STL Word Training Courses London and UK wide.

Using the Outline View in Word 2010

Outline View 

I didn’t use this at all in 2003, but in 2010, this view can help me to plan the structure of my document.

The Outline View allows me to insert headings for each section, including sub-headings, and even paragraph headings.  This acts as the map of my document.  Outline View is a great tool if you suffer from writers block when you see a blank white page in front of you – you can add the general outline and work on each section as you feel like it.


This shows the Outline View, with the headings and sub-heading, with the Navigation pane acting as an overview of the entire document.

I can easily switch to other views, such as the normal view, to add content to my document and switch back to my outline to see how it is shaping up.

I like to add the Navigation pane to the Outline view.  I can click on a heading in the navigation pane (extremely useful when working with a large document) and Word will take me directly to that section in the text.

This Outline View is also helpful when you have several team members working on the document with you.  They can see the sections they need to contribute to, and the writing will flow far better if the contributor can see what comes before and after their section.

With the heading styles set, I can also benefit from the Table of Contents function. This is a great tool for navigating through large documents – both as a writer and as a reader.

In my upgrade to 2010, I’ve learned a lot of new things.  One of them is that I was under-using Word’s tools when I was using Word 2003.  Fortunately, I have been making the most of our Word Training Courses London.  Perhaps you can too!

Use more shortcuts in Word – One of your new five a day?

Learning to use more shortcuts in Word can be a bit playing Top Trumps.

Person 1:  “Control + Y , redo, time-saving value of 6.5″
Person 2: “Control + Z, undo, time-saving value of 9″, I win, hand over the card!”

Ok, so I don’t actually play top trumps with shortcuts (it’s generally Ben 10 or Transformers) but I do genuinely feel chuffed when I’ve learned a new shortcut that saves time, and I gain a new skill (small, but still useful). So as an early Christmas present, I will share some of my new favourites with you.

Repeat last action.  This is F4.  Very useful for repetitive tasks, from text to formatting.

As a quick test, in a Word document type “this is my sentence” then press return, then press F4 –  the shortcut will repeat the whole sentence again (somehow this gives me an image of Bart Simpson writing his lines in the opening sequence. ..if only the blackboard had an F4 button…).  

Spelling and grammar check. This is F7.  (10 points if you knew this one).  Quick way to proof your document and blitz those errors.

Help is F1 – and it only works for Microsoft related questions…it’s rubbish for answering questions on trivia.  Just so you know.

Line spacing.  Word 2010′s default is 1.15 line spacing, so a quick way to change it is to use the following:
Single line spacing is Control +1
Line spacing at 1.5 is Control + 5
Double spacing is Control + 2.

Hyperlink  is Control + K.  This is a great for linking to another part of the document, or a Microsoft Office program, or a web page….

and the bonus two old favourites:

Open a document. This is Control + O.  An easy win on the shortcut scale, but a good one to incorporate into your day!

Open a new document.  Control + N.

So use five shortcuts a day, and if you are really up for a challenge, try five new shortcuts a day.  Swap them with friends, or keep them secret, it’s up to you.

For more information on the tricks and the benefits you gain in your work with our  Microsoft Word training courses




On the course I attended yesterday, I did learn and use more and found myself saying “oh, now, that is useful” on many occasions.

Speed up editing and proofreading with Word 2010

I have proofread and copy edited a lot of different documents.  Everything from policy documents, to articles and committee papers.  They all had different content and specialist language, but all of them needed thorough and systematic proofreading and it can take ages. It’s one of the reasons I drink so much coffee.

My old method was often to print out the document – read and mark it up for content and flow, then read it again for spelling or typographical errors, work on it again for formatting and any layout issues – and then I realised that Word could save me time and paper.

Word can complete lots of these proofing tasks for me, so I can concentrate on those elements that require a more human intervention.

Here is how Word can save you time with proofreading  

A whole tab devoted to proofreading and editing your document
Word encourages you to follow a clear process using the Ribbon, from creating your document, adding content and setting up page layout….and then for the next stage…The Review tab.  This has its own prompts for the process you can follow.


The Review tab takes you through the systematic review and editing of your document.

For starters, you have the Proofing tab:


The proofing section of the Review tab.

Spelling and grammar check
At the proofreading stage, Word has already flagged up the spelling errors, with its trusty red underline.  If it spots a grammar error, it gives you a green squiggly line.  See, Word is already helping you out.


The red underlines indicate spelling errors, and the green squiggly lines show you the grammar ones.

If you are working with a large document, and the errors are all over the place and you are not sure how many there are, there is a handy sign.  It’s on your status bar, at the bottom of your document.


The little book with the red cross – no, it isn’t a spell book, but a useful sign that there are errors in your document that need your attention.

If you click on the book, it will take you through errors individually – great for single errors but time-consuming if there are many. A quicker and easier way for larger documents is to use the Spelling and Grammar button on the Ribbon, which will lead you through the process.

Thesaurus and References
These buttons help you to access support from other sites, to replace over-used words or ensure facts and references are accurate.

Word count and character count
Don’t get caught out at the last minute by going over word or character limits.  You may be proofreading content in Word that will be inserted into an on-line form.  You may have a perfect copy of 2,000 words ready to be copied and pasted into a cell in your on-line form, only to find that the form’s limit is 2,000 characters including spaces.  And yes, that has happened to me…and no, I wasn’t happy.

The Word Count button gives you the full break down of information, which is essential if you are editing down a document to a 2,000 characters with spaces, at 11pm before a midnight deadline…hypothetically speaking of course…


Ah, word count…you have saved my bacon countless times.

Comments and Track changes
Proofreading and editing isn’t a lone activity – we work in teams, with shared documents, and Word has this sussed too.  So you and your colleagues can add comments with virtual post-it notes.

Tracking changes may be a headache if you haven’t been taught how to use them properly – and it is worth the training because it is brilliant.  It can help you see the original in one view, and then switch to the revised view with all the changes, or without, with the click of a button – and that’s before you’ve even accepted any changes.

Despite using Word for years, I still learn more from our Word courses – so whatever stage you are at with the program, from a refresher course or a move to advanced skills – it is worth the investment.  I invite you to have a look at the fantastic tools available on our Microsoft Word Course London.

Using split screen in a Word document

If you often scroll through large Word documents to edit text, you could save yourself time by splitting the screen instead of scrolling backwards and forwards. This way, you can see two sections of your Word document on one screen – which can be useful, for example, if you are comparing your introduction to your concluding paragraph. Or cutting and pasting paragraphs to a different location in the document.

Using the Ribbon. The split screen button is found in View tab, in the Window options section.


Use this handy button to split your screen and save yourself scrolling up and down a Word document.

You can split a document into two sections on one screen by applying horizontal sections.  This makes it much easier to cut and paste text from one section and apply it elsewhere in your document.

Your top and bottom pane work individually, and each pane with have its own ruler and scroll bars.



Alternative method. If you want to apply a split screen in a different way, there is a black line (like a minus sign) just above the vertical scroll bar.
split-screen-button-word-advanced I didn’t notice it before, it is that tiny, but once you spot it, you can quickly apply the split screen in a click and drag.  Your mouse will change to a double-headed arrow so you can then apply the split where you want it to be.  When you release the split box, there will be a horizontal split across the screen.

To remove the split screen
Hold your mouse over the split tab, then click and drag the tab all the way up or double-click the split box to refresh the screen to a single pane.

Compare two documents using a split screen
Make sure you have both of the files open.
Go to the view tab, and in the Window group, select the ‘View Side by Side’ button.

When you want to remove the ‘Side by Side’ view, click ‘View Side by Side’ in the Window group on the view tab, and your view will return to normal.

To get more out of this feature,  take a look at our Word advanced course.  For syllabus information see

How to add a watermark to a Word document

Here is a quick skill to add to your Word repertoire – a little touch of Basildon Bond to your paperwork.

Watermarks aren’t just to look fancy, they do perform a useful function of reminding the reader that a document is in draft, or it is confidential.


Using a watermark is a clear visual reminder for confidential documents.

To add a watermark to your Word document, you need to use the Page Layout tab, and use the Page Background section to find the Watermark button


The drop down menu from the Watermark button gives you ready-made options, or you can create your own using the Text Watermark option.

I want to add the Confidential watermark to my draft agenda. So I can just click on the “Confidential 1″ and click ok to apply it to my document.

It is that quick. I learned this in a few minutes but use it everyday.  For more tips from introduction to advances, take a look at our word training courses

Writing a Christmas newsletter the easy way with Word 2010

Either you love them or hate them, but Christmas newsletters can be great fun to create and a good way of sharing news with colleagues or family and friends.   If you volunteer for a charity or help out with your local school, you may be asked to sort out the newsletter.

You can save yourself time, and prevent pulling your hair out, by using one of the templates in Word.  Yes, if you have time, you can start from scratch and create the headings, and columns, sections for photos or background colours.  But, frankly, in between making sure my child learns Christmas songs for the school performance and organising the hundred and one other end of year activities, I don’t have time.

So, Word has a little gift for me.  The newsletter template.  All shiny, colourful and ready to go.  Now all I have to do is customise it, and add some content (compiled from different emails from other “willing volunteers”) and ta da! We have a newsletter, ready to go on the website, or added to school bags as a hard copy.

Here is my “I-don’t-have-time-to-start-from-scratch” newsletter survival plan….

Select your template in Word, from the File tab (backstage view). Look at how many you have to choose from…and what’s more, they are calorie-free.


Look the Microsoft Elves have come up with loads of templates for me to choose from. From a formal newsletter to a cheery family one.

Great, download the template you want, save it to your system and start customising it with your school//charity logo.  Change the colours if you want, or font.

Luckily you can preview changes before you apply them…or just use Control plus Z to undo them if you don’t like them.

I opt for the template “Weekly Class newsletter” and using this I can customise it to fit in with what I want.


ClipArt is in the illustrations section of the Insert tab.

I can use ClipArt to change the image at the top of the newsletter.  I delete the 2 images that are there (the boy, plus the image of the pencils) and replace them using the Insert menu, selecting ClipArt, and using the dialogue box to select the image of Santa that I want.  I can then work with the image to fit the format.  I can also now type in my headings and content, using the columns and formatting already included.  I now have a structure to add my photos, text, and images to.


I have changed the ClipArt image to a Santa one, and added a photo, and started to add the text.

This template has two pages, so I have space to add all my reminders for next term, updates on news from the Autumn term, and photos from the school play.  Within 10 minutes I have a newsletter up and running.  I can carry on customising it, and adding content and have a professional-looking newsletter in the time it takes me to drink  two cups of coffee.

Sometimes, shortcuts are the best way to go.  With Christmas bringing goodwill and cheer and extra work for work and home life, it is worth using your Microsoft Word Training London courses to give you the gift of a bit of extra time and less stress.