Useful Microsoft Word Features for Freelance Writers
Updated on: by Erica Martin
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If you’re a freelance writer, you might use Microsoft Word to type your articles. If so you’re probably familiar with a lot of the useful features that Word as, such as spell check and grammar check. However, there are a few others that you may not be aware of that are very useful – they include Find and Replace, the Thesaurus, Comments, and Language options. This post will provide information on how to use these features.
Find and Replace
If you need to find out how many times you used a word or phrase in an article, such as if you’re writing an article that requires that certain keywords are used a specific number of times, you can use the Find feature to see how many times you used that word or phrase without having to go through and manually count the words yourself.
In the “Editing” section of the Home tab, click “Find” and a Navigation window will come up on the left side of your screen.
Type in the word or words you want to find in your article, and all of the instances of that word or phrase will be highlighted.
You can then make whatever edits you need to make.
If you want Word to replace some or all instances of a certain word or phrase, click “Replace” and a window will come up – type the word or phrase you want replaced in the “Find what” box, and then in the “Replace with” box, type the word or phrase you want substituted.
You can then choose to have Word replace all instances of that word or phrase, or you can click “Find next,” and each time Word finds an instance of that word or phrase, it will prompt you to either replace with your new word or phrase or find the next instance, until Word has gone through the entire document.
This great feature eliminates the need to have a thesaurus at your desk when you’re using Word.
It works just like a regular thesaurus – just put your cursor on the word you want to look for a replacement for, click the “Review” tab, and then click “Thesaurus” – the thesaurus will look for words or phrases with similar meanings – you can select one that you like and Word will substitute it in your document.
If you just want to look up alternate words for a certain word that may not be in your document, you can click “Thesaurus” and a window will pop up on the right side of your document where you can type in a word or phrase, choose the type of thesaurus you want used, and then click the arrow.
This feature is very useful if you’re editing your own writing or someone else’s writing.
It’s used when you want to make a note about something that needs to be changed. For example, when I was going through the first draft of my work from home eBook.
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I made a few notes to myself to expand on certain things that I’d mentioned. I did this by highlighting a few words, clicking on the “Review” tab, and then clicking on “Comment” – that put brackets around the text and put a bubble out to the side where made a note to myself about what I wanted to do, as shown below:
Once I added the information I wanted to add, I clicked on the comment and then clicked “Delete Comment.”
This feature is useful for people write articles or blog posts that are supposed to be in other languages, or even other forms of English such as UK English – it allows Word to go through your document and make sure you’ve typed “realise” for example, instead of “realize.”
To change Word so that it runs the spell check in a different language, click at the bottom of the document where it says “English – US” to bring up the language menu.
You can then go through and select the language you’re typing in, and if you want Word to run spell check in that language, make sure the “Do not check spelling or grammar” check box is unchecked:
So for example, if you chose UK English and ran a spell check, and you had “realize” in your document, you would be prompted to change it to “realise.”
These are a few useful Word features that freelance writers can take advantage of to improve their writing – if there are others that you like to use I’d love to hear about them!
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