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When the latest version of Office comes out, the new features often grab the most attention. But for each new release, Microsoft also tinkers with existing tools to make them easier to find and use. Here are two Word tools that aren’t new, but are definitely worth learning how to use:

STYLES If you’re old-school, you probably format your document headings manually as you go and rarely bother with using Word’s Styles feature. But there’s good reason to join the 21st century — styles are now easier to use, can save you time you would otherwise spend formatting text and line spacing, and enable you to automatically generate extras like a document map and a table of contents. If you aren’t happy with Word’s built-in styles, you can customize them as much as you wish.

The quick how-to: To apply a style set to your document, select the Design tab, and choose one of the built-in options. As you are working in your document, you can apply the appropriate styles to your text (Heading 1, Heading 2, Title, Subtitle, etc.) via the Home tab.

To modify a style, such as Heading 1 for example, go to the Home tab, the Styles section, and click the dialog box launcher in the bottom right corner. At the bottom right of the dialog, click the rightmost icon to open the Manage Styles box. Customize as you wish, and save your changes.

For more helpful information and tips on using styles, see Microsoft’s Word Blog.

AUTOTEXT/QUICK PARTS I suspect that many people don’t use AutoText or Quick Parts because they haven’t taken the time to set them up or learn how to use them. When you’re up against a deadline, which is often the case, it just seems easier to type it out.

Do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to learn how to use these valuable tools. You’ll gain time and lose needless typing.

Creating Quick Parts and AutoText in Word.

Creating Quick Parts and AutoText in Word.

Here’s the overview: The Quick Part Gallery is an area where you can create, store and find reusable bits of content, including AutoText, document properties and more. Microsoft refers to the pieces of content as Building Blocks, and they are a snap to create.

For example, if you often use a standard reply in a letter, you can create an AutoText or Quick Parts entry for it. To do so, select the phrase, go to the Insert tab, click the down arrow next to Quick Parts, and choose Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery. In the dialog box that appears, choose how you would like to save it, fill in any other information, and save.

If you saved it as AutoText, the next time you begin typing the phrase, a pop-up will appear asking if you want to insert the AutoText you created. If yes, hit enter. If no, simply continue typing. If you saved your item as a Quick Part, you can insert it by going to Insert tab, then Quick Parts, and choosing it from the dropdown list of saved content.

For more info on using Quick Parts and AutoText, check our Tips and Tricks Library  or Microsoft’s how-to.

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