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Tech Tips

7 Easy Ways to Make Microsoft Word Less Annoying

By Danielle DavisRoe

Whether your font randomly changes mid-document or Microsoft Word grabs control of your mouse, most people find themselves annoyed at Word more than they’d like. A large part of the problem is Word’s default settings. Once you adjust the settings, many annoyances go away.

adjust Word’s default settings

Want more tricks like these? Check out Affinity Consulting Group’s “Microsoft Word for Legal Professionals” for in-depth instructions on getting the most out of Word.

Adjust Word’s Default Settings to Ease Your Workflow

Here are seven common annoyances that drive Word users to the brink — and how to fix them.

1. Take Back Control Over Your Mouse

Ever try to select part of a word when Microsoft Word suddenly grabs your cursor and selects the entire word and the space after it? Word is just trying to be helpful. Maybe in a world where words are short, this isn’t an issue, but in legal documents, it can be extremely annoying.

To change the setting, go to the File menu. Then, click on Options. On the left-hand side, click on Advanced. Uncheck “When selecting, automatically select entire word.”

2. Get the Mini Toolbar Out of the Way

When you select text in Word, the Mini Toolbar pops up and shows you frequently used formatting buttons. That’s great if you want quick access to those buttons. But what if you want to see the words above the text you selected? That toolbar can get in the way.

To turn off the Mini Toolbar, go to the File menu. Then, click on Options. It’ll bring you into the general options. There, uncheck “Show Mini Toolbar on selection.”

3. Type “(C)” Without Getting ©

How often have you typed a statutory reference that included a “(c)” just to have Word automatically convert it to a © symbol? There’s a setting to stop that too.

Go to the File menu and click on Options. On the left-hand side, click on Proofing. At the top of the options on the right, click on the Auto Correct Options button.

Click on the AutoCorrect tab. Under “Replace text as you type,” select (c) ©. Click on the delete button.

You can delete in the list that you’d prefer Word to stop automatically replacing.

4. Don’t “Cc” People on Letters

If you’ve ever typed a letter and put “cc:” followed by someone’s name at the bottom, chances are Word assumed you wanted to “Cc” not “cc” someone. That initial capital C looks pretty silly.

The issue is that Word assumes that every new line is the beginning of a new sentence, and new sentences normally start with a capital letter.

To adjust Word’s default settings, go to the File menu. Then click on Options. On the left-hand side, click on Proofing. At the top of the options on the right, click on the Auto Correct Options button.

Click on the AutoCorrect tab. Uncheck “Capitalize first letter of sentences.”

5. Strip Off Funky Formatting

Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do, you’ll have text in your document that just doesn’t behave as expected. Instead of wrestling with the problematic text, strip all of the existing formatting off of it and start from scratch.

Select the text giving you the issues. Then, on the Home ribbon, click on the Clear All Formatting button in the Font group.

Adjust Word’s Default Settings

This button will strip off all font and paragraph formatting, taking the text down to the document’s default formatting. From there, you can reformat it to meet your needs.

6. Stop the Wrong Font From Randomly Appearing

If you’ve ever had a document where the wrong font keeps randomly appearing on you, you most likely have a mismatch between the font you’re using and the font set as the document’s default font. It’s not obvious, but every Word document has a default font. Word assumes the default font is the one you want to use most of the time, so it’ll keep popping up.

To change the default font, on the Home ribbon, in the Font group, click on the launcher — it’s a little arrow in the bottom right-hand corner of the group.

Adjust Word’s Default Settings

Set the font and font size you want to use. Then click the Set as Default button in the bottom right-hand corner.

Select “This document only,” and click OK.

7. Give Yourself One-Click Access to the Buttons You Use Most Often

Toggling back and forth between multiple ribbons gets old fast. Instead of jumping back and forth, you can add the buttons you use most often to your Quick Access Toolbar, giving you one-click access to them no matter which ribbon you’re using.

Adding buttons to the Quick Access Toolbar is as simple as right-clicking on the button and selecting “Add to Quick Access Toolbar.”

Want to work faster? For in-depth information and instructions on getting the most from Word, order Affinity Consulting Group’s hands-on digital manual “Microsoft Word for Legal Professionals. Individual and site licenses are available for download in the Attorney at Work bookstore.


More Office 365 Training Manuals for Lawyers

Check out Affinity Consulting Group’s “Microsoft Word for Legal Professionals,” “Excel for Legal Professionals,” “Outlook for Legal Professionals” and “PowerPoint for Legal Professionals.” Each manual zeros in on your practice’s needs with in-depth instructions from Affinity experts on getting the most out of your tech.

About Affinity Consulting Group

Affinity Consulting Group inspires, enables, and empowers legal teams of all sizes to work smarter, from anywhere. The company’s holistic approach incorporates people, process, and technology. Affinity’s passionate, well-connected industry experts work hand in hand with you to help you better understand and optimize your business — from software to growth strategy, and everything in between.

Image © iStockPhoto.com.

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Danielle Danielle DavisRoe

Danielle DavisRoe is a senior consultant with Affinity Consulting Group (@affinitylegal). Whether it’s teaching clients a new skill through training, speaking at CLE events, or management consulting, Danielle is 100% focused on making the lives of her clients better. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business and a Juris Doctorate from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

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