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Tech Tips

3 Ways AI Can Help You Write Faster and Better Without Leaving Microsoft Word

By Danielle DavisRoe

Tips from Affinity Legal’s Danielle DavisRoe. Microsoft Word’s editor, dictation and text prediction features are all based on AI.

microsoft word speech to text

You can take advantage of cutting-edge technology, AI, without leaving Microsoft Word or adding to your tech stack. Word’s editor, dictation and text prediction features are all based on artificial intelligence. With dictate and text prediction, you can write faster. With the editor, you can quickly become a better writer. 

Want to learn how to get even more out of Microsoft Word? Check out Affinity Consulting Group’s “Microsoft Word for Legal Professionals” for in-depth instructions on getting the most out of Word.

1. Write Faster With Dictate

You’ll find the Dictate button on the home ribbon in the voice group. Clicking on the button will open a floating toolbar and automatically turn on dictation. You’ll know it’s ready when it indicates that it’s listening to you. 

Microsoft word speech to text Word Dictation button menu
Click on the Dictate button to activate Microsoft Word’s speech to text.

Initially, when you start talking, it may look like nothing is happening. Give it a moment, and you’ll see the words start to appear in gray. You can keep talking while you wait for them to appear. 

Whenever you pause, the speech-to-text feature will take the moment to figure out how to punctuate your text. Since the feature does this automatically, you don’t need to interrupt your train of thought with punctuation instructions. You may, however, want to tell it to start a new paragraph with the command “new line.” 

Dictate only has a few settings. From the gear icon on the dictate toolbar, you can change the language, turn on/off automatic punctuation, and turn filtering sensitive phrases on or off. 

You can also use the dictation feature when drafting emails in Outlook or preparing PowerPoint presentations. 

2. Type Faster With Text Predictions

Even if you aren’t ready to start dictating, you can still harness the power of AI to type faster with text predictions. The text prediction feature offers to finish typing a word or suggests the next few words for you based on what you’ve already typed. This is similar to how texting works on your smartphone. 

When Word has a suggestion, you’ll see the suggestion in gray to the right of your cursor. If you like what it suggests, hit the tab key to keep the suggestions. If you don’t like what it suggests, you can ignore the suggestion and just keep typing or hit the ESC key.

If you use the same phrases frequently, you may find text predictions to be especially helpful.

If you’d prefer to turn text predictions off, you can toggle it off and on from the status bar (the bar at the very bottom of your Word document).

If your status bar doesn’t indicate whether text predictions are on or off, right-click anywhere on the status bar and click on text predictions to add the feature to the status bar. Once it’s showing, click on it to toggle the predictions on or off. 

3. Write Better With Word’s Built-in Editor

Whether you are writing a complex legal brief or a blog post for your website, Word’s editor can help. On the home ribbon, click on the Editor button to open a panel full of suggestions. It starts with spelling and grammar check. Those are followed with refinement suggestions, such as clarity, conciseness, punctuation conventions and vocabulary. 

Click on a type of correction or refinement to learn more. Some refinements will come with suggestions on how to rewrite the phrase at issue. For others, it will be up to you to figure out how to improve them. 

Word's Built-in Editor

Editor also comes with the ability to check your writing for similarity to online sources and document stats (such as word count). 

About Affinity Consulting Group

Affinity Consulting works with law firms and legal departments on strategy and technology engagements that help them create a great place to work and deliver excellent services to clients by improving how work gets done, aligning their stakeholders, while focusing on profitability.

©iStockphoto.com

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Danielle DavisRoe 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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