Microsoft's Word has always been an impressively powerful piece of software, with dozens, if not hundreds, of features most people never knew existed. The new"Ribbon" interface in Word 2007 attempts to make some of those features easier to find and use, but there are still a lot of really handy features that you may not even know to look for.
Here are six quick things you can do with Word 2007 that will save you oodles of time. Once you give them a try, you'll never want to do without them.
(Editor's note: Some of these tips work in earlier versions of Word. We've noted where that's the case, along with the variations in the steps you'll need.)
1. Highlight all appearances of a word or phrase in a document.
Traditionally, to find a word or phrase in a Word document, you would hit Ctrl-F (or select Edit --> Find from the pull-down menu), enter your search term and click Find Next to go to the next instance of the word in the document. From there, you'd continue to click Find Next to search for the next usage, and the next one after that, and rinse and repeat.
In Word 2007, you can run a single search that highlights every instance in the document, making it easy to scan through and find the exact instance of the word or phrase you're looking for (or to see if you've used the phrase far too often).
Start a search as you normally would by hitting Ctrl-F and entering your search term. But instead of clicking Find, click on the Reading Highlight button at the bottom of the search window and select Highlight All. Every instance of your search term will be highlighted in whatever highlight color you have selected on your Home tab (yellow by default).
To remove the highlighting, simply hit Ctrl-F again to bring up the search window, click the Reading Highlight button and select Clear Highlighting. The highlighting will disappear.
2. Search for a word and all its variations.
Another powerful feature in Word 2007's search function is the ability to search for variations on a word, like plurals or verb tenses. (Earlier versions of Word can do this as well.) Click Ctrl-F to open the search form as usual, enter your search word and click the More button at the bottom. Check the box next to "Find all word forms."
When you run the search, Word will locate not only the word you entered, but all its variations. For example, say you want to find every time you describe the sport of running in your document. Enter "run" and Word will locate not just every instance of the word "run," but also "ran," "running" and "runs."
Note that Microsoft's terminology here is a little misleading. It doesn't actually find all forms of all words. For example, if you search on "music" and select "Find all word forms," it won't find "musical" or "musician." But if you enter a verb, Word will find all its tenses; if you enter the singular form of a noun, it will find the plural as well; and if you enter an adjective like "good," it will also find "better" and "best."