How to add a superscript or subscript in Microsoft Word when you need to include a page note or special character

teen student using laptop and studying with textbooks
There are a few different ways to insert superscripts and subscripts in Word for Windows, Mac, and Word Online.

  • You can add a superscript or subscript in Word using the appropriate buttons in the Font section of the Home ribbon.
  • You can also use keyboard shortcuts to format text as a superscript or subscript.
  • You can insert special characters, like the trademark symbol, automatically as a superscript.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

You might occasionally need to insert superscripts and subscripts in Microsoft Word, especially if you create academic documents.

A superscript – which is slightly raised above the main line of text – is commonly used to indicate footnotes as well as the trademark symbol. Subscripts are less common, but like superscripts, can be used in science and math and are just as easy to use.

How to insert superscript or subscript in Word for Windows

No matter your reason for adding a superscript or subscript, there are several ways to do it. Use the method you find easiest to remember.

Using the superscript and subscript buttons

1. Select the text you want to format as either a superscript or subscript.

2. In the ribbon, click the Home tab and then click either the Superscript or Subscript button, found in the lower row of the Font section.

Microsoft Word Home tab superscript and subscript buttons
Click the “Superscript” or “Subscript” button in the “Home” ribbon.

Using keyboard shortcuts

1. Select the text you want to format as either a superscript or subscript.

2. To convert it to a superscript, press Ctrl + Shift + + (that’s the Ctrl, Shift, and Plus sign keys). To make a subscript, press Ctrl + = (that’s Ctrl and the equal sign).

Using the Font dialog box

1. Select the text you want to format as either a superscript or subscript.

2. In the ribbon, click the “Home” tab and then open the Font dialog box by clicking the arrow in the bottom-right corner of the Font section.

3. Click the box for either “Superscript” or “Subscript” and click “OK.”

Microsoft Word Font window
The Font dialog box has checkboxes for “Superscript” and “Subscript.”

Using the Symbol box

Use this method when you want to insert a symbol as a superscript or subscript (such as the copyright symbol, for example).

1. Place the cursor where you want the superscript or subscript symbol to appear in your document.

2. At the top of the screen, click the ribbon’s “Insert” tab.

3. In the ribbon, click “Symbol.” In the drop-down, choose “More Symbols…”

Microsoft Word ribbon
Choose “More Symbols” from the “Symbols” tool in the ribbon.

4. In the “Font” drop-down, choose “(normal font).”

5. In the “Subset” drop-down on the right, choose “Superscripts and Subscripts.”

6. Now scroll through the character list and find the symbol you want to insert. When you find the symbol, click it and click “Insert.”

Microsoft Word Insert Symbol
Insert the symbol you want into your document.

How to insert superscript or subscript in Word for Mac

There are several ways to insert superscripts and subscripts in Word on a Mac.

Using the superscript and subscript buttons

1. Select the text you want to format as either a superscript or subscript.

2. In the ribbon, click the “Home” tab and then click either the “Superscript” or “Subscript” button, found in the lower row of the Font section.

Microsoft Word Home ribbon superscript and subscript buttons
Click the “Superscript” or “Subscript” button in the “Home” ribbon.

Using keyboard shortcuts

1. Select the text you want to format as either a superscript or subscript.

2. To convert it to a superscript, press Command + Shift + + (that’s the Command and Shift keys along with the Plus sign key).

3. To convert it to a subscript, press Command + Shift + – (that’s the Command and Shift keys along with the Minus sign key). If you’re using Word 2016, the shortcut is Command + Shift + =.

Using the Symbol box

Use this method when you want to insert a symbol that’s pretty much always printed in superscript, such as a trademark symbol.

1. Place the cursor where you want the superscript or subscript symbol to appear in your document.

2. At the top of the screen, click the ribbon’s “Insert” tab and then click “Symbol.”

3. Now scroll through the character list and find the symbol you want to insert. When you find the symbol, click it and click “Insert.”

How to insert superscript or subscript in Word Online

1. In a Word Online document, select the text you want to appear as a superscript or subscript.

2. At the top of the page, click the “Home” tab in the ribbon and then click the three dots to open the “More Font Options” dialog box.

3. Click either “Superscript” or “Subscript.”

Microsoft Word Online ribbon
You can choose superscript and subscript formatting in Word Online from the “More Font Options” dialog box.

How to undo a superscript or subscript in Word

If you want to revert superscript or subscript text back to normal, just do the following on a PC or Mac:

1. Select the text that’s formatted as superscript or subscript.

2. Press Ctrl + Spacebar.

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A guide to cloud computing, the multibillion-dollar industry that powers your favorite apps

man using phone and several computer screen desktop laptop
Cloud computing transmits data to your computer via the internet, rather than letting you download it permanently.

  • Cloud computing is the delivery of on-demand computing services over the internet.
  • Cloud computing can include online data storage, writing apps, media streaming, and more.
  • Popular apps like Spotify, Netflix, and DropBox all run using cloud computing.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

You may have heard of “the cloud” countless times, but only have a general idea what it means. Cloud computing is the delivery of “on-demand” computing services – whether it’s storage, software, processing power, or other resources – over the internet. You typically pay as you go, billed only for the resources you use or the storage amount you’re subscribed to.

Though cloud computing isn’t an especially new innovation (it’s been around for decades), it’s become increasingly important to the most popular apps around today.

What to know about cloud computing

Types of cloud computing

The term “cloud computing” masks a lot of complexity. Where is the server? “In the cloud” – most users generally don’t need to know more than that.

The name obscures the fact that there are several different kinds of cloud computing architectures.

  • Public cloud: Perhaps the most common kind of cloud computing architecture, a public cloud is owned and operated by a third party and makes its resources available to customers, generally on a subscription basis. Every common commercial cloud service you know, from Dropbox to Microsoft Azure, is on a public cloud.
    Dropbox app
    Dropbox uses the cloud to store your data and back up your files.

  • Private cloud: The only difference between a public and private cloud is who owns and operates it. A private cloud is generally owned by a single business or organization and is used exclusively by that entity. It’s a private network that reserves all of its resources for the business, but is still accessed remotely rather than in data centers on site.
  • Hybrid cloud: A hybrid cloud combines public and private clouds in a way that data, software, and other resources can flow seamlessly between them. It allows for more flexibility, generally by letting public clouds meet shortfalls in computing requirements when the private cloud is fully saturated.

Types of cloud applications

Not only are there distinctions between the architecture of cloud services, but there are some key differences in the kind of applications that cloud computing is used for.

Cloud computing services tend to fall into one of three main categories, and you can read more about this in our guide to cloud applications.

  • Software as a service (SaaS): This is often the simplest kind of cloud computing platform to understand; with SaaS, the cloud computing operator offers software (running on the SaaS operator’s computing hardware) you can access remotely. Microsoft 365 is a common example of SaaS.
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The Microsoft 365 subscription service is a cloud-based SaaS platform.

  • Infrastructure as a service (IaaS): In this case, a third party provides the computing hardware to run your software. For example, a software developer might rent space on an Amazon Web Services (AWS) server instead of owning and maintaining a large server locally.
  • Platform as a service (PaaS): Slightly different from IaaS, PaaS includes the hardware, operating system, and middleware needed to host the software you want to run in the cloud. Google’s App Engine is an example of PaaS.

Common uses for cloud computing

While cloud computing was a novelty in years past, the proliferation of online services, web apps, broadband, massive commercial data centers, and other technologies have made cloud computing a core part of today’s technological landscape. Here are some of the most common applications for cloud computing today.

  • Data storage: It’s common today to rely on cloud storage for data storage, backup, and recovery solutions. Not only is data backed up to the cloud, but the cloud is commonly an extension of local storage as well.
  • Software-on-demand: Many businesses and individuals now rent software using SaaS rather than purchasing it outright – like Microsoft 365 and Google Docs.
  • Streaming audio and video: Services from Spotify to Netflix to HBO Max are all examples of streaming services that operate from the cloud. They’ve essentially replaced local media playback, making the cloud an integral part of most people’s daily life.
Netflix
When you watch something on Netflix, you’re accessing content from the cloud.

  • Analyzing business data: Many businesses now store their critical business data in the cloud. They then use cloud services to analyze that data for business intelligence solutions.

The advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing

While cloud computing has become a critical part of the modern computing landscape, it’s not without its disadvantages.

For example, despite the appeal of “renting” rather than “buying,” cloud computing isn’t necessarily cheaper. Long-term, it can be more cost-effective to own and operate your own computing resources, especially if you need those resources indefinitely. If the company hosting your cloud computing service of choice shuts down, you could lose all your data.

Additionally, there are security concerns. If a third party is hosting your data, it’s a potential risk vector for hackers and corporate espionage.

Companies may also want to own their own computing resources as a way to differentiate their capabilities. If you are using the same third-party services as the competition, for example, it’s difficult to offer capabilities that are better than, or even different than what they offer.

On the other hand, cloud computing is popular today because it still offers significant advantages over local computing. It’s less costly, at least in the short term, compared to owning your own servers.

It also allows for greater mobility and portability of your data – it’s already in the cloud and can be accessed from anywhere. And it moves responsibility for factors like security and disaster recovery to a third party that theoretically has that expertise.

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What is Cortana? A guide to Microsoft’s virtual assistant, and how you can use it to improve your productivity

Cortana on background
Microsoft’s Cortana assistant can handle a wide range of tasks on compatible devices and apps.

  • Cortana is Microsoft’s virtual assistant available for use across various devices and Microsoft 365’s suite of services and products.
  • To use Cortana, you must have the AI-powered assistant enabled through your Microsoft account and on relevant devices and services before saying the wake phrase “Hey Cortana,” followed by a prompt.
  • Cortana’s current iteration is geared towards productivity, focusing predominantly on saving you time and increasing your focus with tools like Briefing emails and Play My Emails.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Microsoft’s Cortana is a cloud-based personal assistant that operates outside the realm of standard voice-enabled AI.

Cortana doesn’t just understand voice commands and carry out tasks but is integrated for use across Microsoft’s 365 suite of products and all Windows 10 operating systems, version 2004 and later.

If you or your team rely on Microsoft 365, here’s everything you need to know about how to harness Cortana to improve your productivity.

What is Cortana?

First launched in 2014, this virtual voice assistant’s name and concept were inspired by a 26th-century artificial intelligence character of the same name from the popular “Halo” video game series. Designed to integrate with the Windows Phone – and by 2015, Windows 10 PCs – Cortana’s capabilities included organizing and managing your daily meetings, reminders, and more alongside traditional web searches – all through typed text or voice prompts.

Everything you turned to Cortana for was then stored in a virtual “Notebook,” an approach to the virtual assistant that was based on the work of actual human assistants who spoke to Microsoft during Cortana’s development process, according to a 2014 Verge report.

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Cortana is integrated across Microsoft 365 products to keep your work and life synced.

From there, Cortana’s presence grew as Microsoft integrated it everywhere from Xbox and smart speakers to Apple and Android apps and third-party skills for Fitbit, Spotify, and more. But in the years since its launch, Microsoft users’ needs have changed, and the company’s vision for its digital assistant has evolved along with it.

What can Cortana do?

Nowadays, Cortana’s focus puts it in a different space than other voice-enabled AI assistants. Cortana primarily connects Microsoft 365 users to every element of their product suites and helps you track, organize, and manage your daily work.

Still available on Windows 10 and client applications like Outlook for iOS and Android, users can now go hands- and worry-free when it comes to managing their personal and professional work.

Included with any Microsoft 365 price plan, you can use Cortana with Windows 10 computers, the Edge browser, and Bing search engine; apps like Word, PowerPoint, and OneNote; email and calendar services Outlook and Exchange; as well as file services like OneDrive and Forms; and finally, social and meeting products like Teams and Yammer.

With Cortana enabled, using the assistant’s waking phrase followed by a command prompt can open apps, fetch the news and weather, add to your lists in Microsoft To-Do, schedule calendar event reminders, locate a file in OneDrive, join meetings, or navigate through presentations in Teams.

Voice assistant on phone

But Cortana can go one step further with personalized and interactive tools like Briefings and Play My Emails, both designed to ensure you’re at your most productive each day.

  • Briefing emails: Set up through Outlook, these briefs are sent within two hours of your workday to help you stay on top of the day ahead of you. Expect notes about outstanding commitments, requests, and follow-ups that you may have forgotten, documents relevant to the day’s meetings so you can review before you attend, and suggested focus times to help you get the most out of your unscheduled hours.
  • Play My Emails: If you need to go hands-free, this Outlook Cortana feature reads out your emails, so you don’t have to slow down to keep up. Best used with Bluetooth-enabled wireless or wired audio devices like headphones or your car audio, you can use simple voice commands for a touch-free inbox search and response experience.

How does Cortana work?

Regardless of the device, service, or program you’re using Cortana in, the Microsoft voice assistant helps users quickly get information using typed or spoken queries that connect you with other people, your work, and your plans. And with a stricter focus on assisting you with Microsoft products, Cortana can work more like an actual assistant than ever before.

While signed in to your Microsoft account and with the app or service you’re using open, just say “Cortana” or “Hey Cortana.” Cortana then responds to your requests and queries before completing relevant tasks. Simultaneously, it’s collecting certain data about you, such as your searches, calendar, contacts, and location, to help make future experiences with Cortana more personalized.

There are several ways you can prompt Cortana once enabled. These include clicking or tapping the microphone icon in Cortana-integrated products and services, executing the keyboard command “Shift + Windows Key + C,” or by saying “Hey Cortana,” followed by a vocal command. If you haven’t enabled Cortana on your PC, you’ll need to do so.

Cortana command prompts

Once Cortana is activated, you can use it for just about anything. Commands span basic requests about the weather, making calls and sending emails or messages, scheduling meetings, reminders, and alarms, as well as updating your device settings.

Cortana 8
Cortana keeps track of your past commands in one easy to read scrolling chat window.

But you can also use it for more complex things like math, translations, and definitions; food and travel recommendations; music and entertainment app control; personal health and fitness updates; technical support for connected devices; and fun or factual conversation.

Here are a few common prompts you can try:

  • “What’s the weather like?”
  • “Go to / Open [app name / website].”
  • “What’s [percentage] of [dollar amount]?”
  • “Where is my package?”
  • “Find photos from [date / time].”
  • “Find restaurants near me.”
  • “What is this song?”
  • “What was my step count yesterday?”
  • “Turn on/off Bluetooth.”
  • “Set an alarm for [date and time].”
  • “When is my [event name]?”
  • “Send email to (contact): (message).”
  • “Show me public transportation directions to [location / address].”
  • “Track flight [flight number].”
  • “Call (contact) at home/work.”
  • “Who’s my next meeting with?”
  • “How do I change default apps?”

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How to insert a checkbox in Word that readers can print out or check off on their computer

small business carpenters using laptop taking inventory
Adding checkboxes in Microsoft Word is a great way to make surveys, tests, and more.

  • You can insert a checkbox in a Word document in 2 ways, depending on how you want it to be used.
  • If you want to print empty checkboxes that people can fill in real life, use Word’s “Home” tab.
  • By enabling Word’s Developer ribbon, you can add functional checkboxes that can be filled on a computer.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

We live in a world of checklists and checkboxes, so it stands to reason you might sometimes want to include checkboxes in documents you create.

There are two different kinds of checkboxes you can create in Microsoft Word: decorative ones for printed documents (that can be checked off in real life with a pen or pencil), and functional checkboxes that users can check with a mouse click if they’re viewing the document on a computer.

How to insert a checkbox in Word for printed documents

1. Position the cursor where you want to place the checkbox in your Word document.

2. In the ribbon at the top of the screen, make sure you’re on the “Home” tab and then click the down-arrow beside the Bullets button.

3. In the drop-down menu, click “Define New Bullet.”

How_to_insert_a_checkbox_in_Word 1
Click the arrow to display the drop-down menu and then choose to define a new bullet.

4. Click “Symbol.”

5. In the Symbol dialog box, find a symbol that looks like a checkbox. There are a number of options to choose from, but here’s a good choice: In the “Font” drop-down, choose “Wingdings 2” and then in the “Character code” field, enter “163.” If you like this option, click “OK.”

How_to_insert_a_checkbox_in_Word 2
Find a checkbox style you like – many people use character 163 in Wingdings 2, but there are many other similar options.

6. Click “OK” again to close the other open window.

7. The checkbox will now be added to your document.

To add more checkboxes, just use the Bullet button and it’ll be inserted automatically (to get your usual bullet back, click the down-arrow next to the Bullet button and choose the symbol you prefer). In the future, you can choose either the usual bullet or the checkbox from the menu without needing to select it from the “Define New Bullet” dialog box.

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You can get back to the checkbox symbol from the Bullets menu.

How to insert a checkbox in Word for electronic documents

If you want a “clickable” checkbox in electronic documents, you’ll need to enable the Developer ribbon in Options. You’ll only need to do that once, and then you can add a functional checkbox anytime you need it.

1. In the ribbon at the top of Word, click the “File” tab and then click “Options.”

How_to_insert_a_checkbox_in_Word 4
Open “Word Options” from the “File” tab of the ribbon.

2. In the Word “Options” dialog box, click “Customize Ribbon” in the navigation pane on the left.

3. In the “Customize the Ribbon” section on the right, choose “Main Tabs” from the drop-down menu and then click the checkbox for “Developer” in the list.

How_to_insert_a_checkbox_in_Word 5
Enable the “Developer” options so it appears as a tab in the ribbon.

4. Click “OK” to close Word Options.

5. In the ribbon, click the new “Developer” tab.

6. In the “Controls” section, click the checkbox icon. You should see it appear in the document. It’s clickable – you can make it appear checked or unchecked by clicking.

How_to_insert_a_checkbox_in_Word 6
You can now add clickable checkboxes to your documents.

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How to use Track Changes in Word to effectively collaborate on a document

teacher student in classroom on laptop typing
Microsoft Word’s Track Changes feature makes it easy to collaboratively edit documents.

  • You can use Track Changes in Word to record every edit made in a document, either by yourself or others.
  • Word’s Track Changes feature lets users suggest changes, leave comments, and more.
  • To turn on Track Changes, select it from the “Review” tab.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Track Changes is a feature built into Microsoft Word that keeps track of all the edits made to your document and lets you make comments. When Track Changes is turned on, the edit you make are highlighted, appearing in different colors or styles to separate them from the original text.

This is particularly useful for documents with multiple authors or editors, who can review and approve (or reject) each other’s changes.

How to turn on Track Changes in Microsoft Word

To turn Track Changes on, click on the “Review” tab, then click on the icon above “Track Changes.” To turn Track Changes off, just click this icon again. You can also toggle Track Changes on and off by clicking on the “Track Changes” menu arrow and then clicking “Track Changes” in the list.

Track_changes_in_Word_ _1
Track Changes can be toggled on and off in the “Review” tab.

When Track Changes is on, you can leave changes in the document simply by typing or editing as you would normally. The changes will be formatted differently than the rest of the document, and will contain a mark in the margin to indicate that a change has been made.

For example, if you delete a paragraph with Track Changes on, the paragraph you deleted will remain visible, but will appear in red font with strike-throughs so you don’t confuse it with the remaining text.

Track_changes_in_Word_ _2
Text you’ve edited or deleted will appear in a different color and format than the rest of the document.

How to make and remove Track Changes comments

To make comments in the document without adding to the text, use your mouse to highlight the text you want to comment on, and then click “New Comment” in the “Review” tab. A bubble will appear in the margin of the document, containing your name and a color assigned to you. Once the comment bubble appears, type your comment.

To reply to a comment, just click “Reply” on the comment you want to respond to, and type your response. You can click anywhere outside of the comment bubble when you’re finished.

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Each of your comments in the document will be the same color, allowing you to differentiate between your own comments and someone else’s.

There are two ways to remove a comment. Click on the comment you want to remove. If you want to keep the comment in the document for the time being, but want to indicate that it’s already been addressed, click “Resolve” in the comment bubble. The comment will still be visible in the document’s margin, but will now appear grayed out, distinguishing it from other comments.

If you want to remove a comment completely, leaving no trace of it in the document, click on the comment and then click the icon above “Delete” in the “Review” tab. It’s located right next to the “New Comment” icon.

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When a comment has been resolved, it’ll appear slightly grayed out.

How to accept or reject changes

After changes have been made to your document, you can either accept or reject the changes. To do this, right-click on the part of the document that’s been changed. In the menu that appears, click on “Accept” if you want to keep the change, or “Reject” if you want to reject it.

The appearance of the section may change depending on your choice, but it will be consistent with the rest of the document once you’re finished working and turn Track Changes off.

Track_changes_in_Word_ _4
You can accept or reject a change by right-clicking on it and choosing the preferred option in the menu that appears.

How to hide all the changes and comments

You can control which changes and comments you see by adjusting the markup options.

In the “Review” tab, next to “Track Changes,” there’s a drop-down menu with four options that show different levels of changes made to the document.

  • “All Markup” will show all changes and comments that have been made since Track Changes was turned on.
  • “Simple Markup” will show a simplified version of changes and commentary, represented by notes in the document’s margins rather than visible formatting.
  • “No Markup” will hide all change markings and comments but retain the changes.
  • “Original” will show the document as it originally appeared before Track Changes was turned on.
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The markup options allow you to view all changes, simplified changes, no changes, or the document’s original format.

You can also customize the types of changes you see by clicking on “Show Markup.” This will open a menu with checkmarks next to the various options. If an option is checked, it’ll be included in the markup. To check or uncheck an option, simply click on it.

This allows you to customize which changes are visible to you, including specific users’ comments and the visual appearance of the comment bubbles (or “balloons,” as they’re called in the list).

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The “Show Markup” menu lets you customize what changes you see.

How to use the reviewing pane

If you want to review all the changes made to the document in sequence, you can do so using the Reviewing Pane. Next to the Track Changes button, click “Reviewing Pane.” If you want the pane to appear on the side of your screen, click on the “Vertical” option; if you prefer it at the bottom of your screen, click on the “Horizontal” option.

Whichever your preference, the Reviewing Pane will appear, containing all changes and comments made on the document. The total number of changes will also appear at the top of the Reviewing Pane. To close the Reviewing Pane, just click “Reviewing Pane” again.

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The Reviewing Pane shows you all of the changes and comments made on the document, so you can scroll through them in sequence.

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What is Outlook Web App? A guide to Microsoft’s web email service.

woman at home working desktop computer typing
In addition to the desktop and mobile apps, Microsoft Outlook can be accessed in a browser with Outlook on the web.

  • Outlook Web App, also known as Outlook on the web, allows you to access your Outlook email account from a web browser.
  • While Outlook on the web doesn’t include all the features found in the desktop Outlook app, it’s still convenient and useful.
  • You can set up out of office messages, see your tasks and calendar, change your theme, and more when using Outlook in a web browser.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Outlook Web Access (OWA) is a browser-based way to access your Microsoft Outlook email. While it’s also been known as Outlook Web App, it’s now more commonly referred to as Outlook on the web.

OWA once applied exclusively to the online version of Outlook which came with Microsoft Exchange Server. These days, Outlook on the web is more commonly accessed from a Microsoft 365 or free Outlook.com account.

While the version of Outlook that runs on your desktop as an app for Windows or Mac still gives you the most flexibility, power, and features, you don’t need to use it – Microsoft makes it easy to open your Outlook inbox in a web browser instead. That means you can see your Outlook inbox from any computer.

How to open Outlook on the web

To open Outlook on the web, just open the URL that’s associated with your Outlook account. That should be the Microsoft 365 sign-in page or, if you have a free Outlook account, Outlook.com. Enter your email address and password and then select “Sign in.”

If you do happen to be using an Exchange Server rather than a Microsoft 365 account, you might need to ask your network administrator for the URL to the OWA website for your account.

How to use Outlook on the web

While Outlook on the web is a simplified version of Outlook, you’ll probably still recognize it as the email program you already know from the desktop. Here’s how to find your way around:

  • At the far left of the browser window is the folder list. It includes your Inbox, Sent items, and all the usual folders you have access to in Outlook.
  • To the right of the folder list is the message list. This displays all the messages in the currently selected folder, and the selected message appears in the Reading pane on the right.
  • You can also access additional features and settings from the toolbar at the top of the page and switch among Outlook’s modes (Inbox, Calendar, To Do, and Contacts) using the array of icons at the bottom left of the page, under the folder list.
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Outlook on the web displays your Outlook email in a web browser you can access from any computer.

How to view your Outlook calendar

To switch to the Outlook Calendar, just click the Calendar icon at the lower-left corner of the page. Here, you can customize the view. By default, you’ll see the Month view, but click “Month” at the top-right and choose the view you prefer from the drop-down menu.

You can add events and appointments to your calendar using the “New event” button at the top-left of the page. For more tips on how to get the most out of your calendar, read our article on the best tips and tricks to manage your Outlook Calendar on any device.

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The Calendar can be opened from the icons at the lower-left corner of the webpage.

How to manage your tasks and to dos

To switch to your tasks, click the “To Do” icon at the lower-left corner of the page. If your left-most pane is too narrow, you might not see the icon; instead, click the three dots and then choose “To Do” from the pop-up menu.

The To Do page has a task list pane on the left side of the page and the list of tasks on the right. To create a task, click the list in which you want the task to appear. Then, in the task pane on the right, click to the right of the plus sign and type your to do. You can mark a task by creating it in the “Important” list or by clicking the star after creating it.

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You can just click the text field beside the plus sign and start typing to create new tasks.

The best Outlook on the web settings

While you can get up and running with Outlook on the web in minutes, there’s a lot more power and customization hidden just under the surface. Here are some ways to get more out of Outlook on the web:

  • Filter your email. You can control what email is displayed and how it’s sorted. At the top right of the message pane click “Filter.” In the dropdown menu, you can choose which messages you want to see – such as all messages, only unread, messages directly addressed to you, flagged messages, and so on. To change the sorting method, at the bottom of the dropdown menu choose “Sort” and select how you’d like the messages to be organized.
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Outlook on the web gives you a variety of sorting options.

  • Configure the reading pane. You can set the Reading pane to appear on the right of the message pane (which is the default), underneath the message pane, or you can even disable it entirely. Click the Settings icon (shaped like a gear) at the top-right of the page and, in the Reading pane section at the bottom of the page, choose “Show on the right,” “Show on the bottom,” or “Hide.” If you choose to hide the pane, messages will appear in a new window and take over the Outlook webpage when you click on a message in the message list.
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The Reading pane can appear to the right or below the message list – or you can turn it off entirely.

  • Change your theme. Want a different theme for Outlook? Click the Settings icon (shaped like a gear) at the top right of the page and then choose a theme from the top of the Settings pane. There are more themes available than what you see here – click “View all” to see more.
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Use the Settings icon to change the visual theme of Outlook on the web.

  • Turn on dark mode. Dark mode is a popular feature that some people find easier on the eyes, especially in the evening hours. Click the Settings icon (shaped like a gear) at the top right of the page and then and then turn on Dark mode by swiping the button to the right.
  • Turn on desktop notifications. If you’d like to see a pop-up notification about new messages even when your browser is not the focus of your desktop, you can turn on desktop notifications. Click the Settings icon (shaped like a gear) at the top right of the page and then turn on Desktop notifications by swiping the button to the right. In most cases, you’ll also need to enable your browser to show notifications – look for a pop-up from your browser to enable these notifications. If you’re using Chrome, for example, click “Allow.” In Firefox, click “Allow Notifications.”
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If you turn on notifications, be sure to enable notifications in the browser as well.

  • Customize display settings with display density. You can vary how many messages appear in the message list at once – you can pack them in more tightly or space them out, making them easier to browse. Click the Settings icon (shaped like a gear) at the top right of the page and find the Display density section. Choose “Full,” “Medium,” or “Compact.” Full is the most relaxed view and each message includes a small icon representing the sender. Medium removes the icon, which shrinks the size of each message slightly. Compact tightens up the spacing and puts the most messages on the page at once.
  • View and group your conversations. You might be familiar with Outlook’s Conversation view from the desktop version of the email app. Conversation view groups related emails together, making it easier to follow a conversation thread. You can control this setting in Outlook on the web as well. Click the Settings icon (shaped like a gear) at the top right of the page and find the Conversation view section. You can arrange your email so the newest replies in a conversation appear on top, appear on the bottom, or you can turn off conversation view entirely. If you do that, every message appears independently in the message pane, regardless of its relationship to other messages.
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You have several options for configuring how to group and view messages in Outlook on the web.

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How to use Microsoft Family Safety to manage your family members’ app usage, screen time, and more

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You can manage your family’s devices in various ways through Microsoft Family Safety.

  • Microsoft Family Safety is a parental control app that lets you manage your kids’ screen time and app usage, among other features.
  • Family Safety is free but requires everyone to use a Microsoft account, and there are premium features available with a Microsoft 365 subscription.
  • The parental controls work across multiple devices, but browsing can only be filtered using the Edge browser.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Microsoft Family Safety is more or less just what the name implies: It’s Microsoft’s family safety and parental controls app that you can use to manage your kid’s screen time and device usage.

To use the service, you need to install the Microsoft Family Safety app on each mobile device you want to manage, and every family member you want to track needs a Microsoft account.

What to know about Microsoft Family Safety

Once configured, Microsoft Family Safety monitors the screen time and time spent with specific games and apps on phones, tablets, and Xbox. Parents can do more than just monitor usage as well: You can turn on screen time limits and schedules, and filter specific apps and web browsing. The app also tracks locations using mobile device GPS, so you can see where your family members are.

Most of these features are free, though some premium features are only available if you have a subscription to Microsoft 365 Family, most notably location alerts and drive safety features.

How to get started with Microsoft Family Safety

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You must install Microsoft Family Safety across devices and sign in to your Microsoft account to use it.

To use Microsoft Family Safety, you’ll need to install the app on each of your family member’s devices. You can install Microsoft Family Safety for Android or for iOS. Start by installing it on your mobile device as a parent and sign in to your Microsoft account.

Unless you’ve already created a family group, you’ll initially be the only member of your family. Tap “Add a family member” and enter their email address associated with their Microsoft account. If your child doesn’t yet have a Microsoft account, tap “Create a child account” and follow the instructions to create one for them. They will get an invitation to join your family group; if needed, help them accept the invitation and get started with Family Safety.

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You can add your entire family to your family group and manage how they use their phones, apps, and web browsers.

Be sure to install the Microsoft Family Safety app on each of your kids’ devices, signing them into their own Microsoft accounts.

Using the map and tracking your family’s location

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You can enable Microsoft Family Safety to display the location of your family members.

Microsoft Family Safety displays the location of your family members on a map, as long as you’ve enabled that feature in Settings.

To see the map, start Microsoft Family Safety and tap “Map” at the top of the screen. You should see pins for each family member.

If you want to, you can add saved locations to the map, which Microsoft calls “places.” When someone goes to that location, you’ll see it displayed on the family member’s card on the home page, so you can tell at a glance where they are.

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The 6 best tips and tricks to manage your Outlook Calendar on any device

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Your Outlook Calendar can be customized in many ways to suit your professional and personal needs.

  • You can use these tips and tricks to get the most out of your Outlook Calendar on a variety of devices.
  • The Outlook Calendar can be accessed in a desktop app, on the web, or in a mobile app, though only the Outlook desktop app includes all of the service’s features.
  • You can create a free account to use the Outlook Calendar on the web, but a subscription to Microsoft 365 gives you the most features.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Microsoft has offered a full-featured calendar as a part of its Microsoft 365 suite of productivity apps for decades. But rather than being a stand-alone program like other apps, Office’s calendar is so well integrated with the Outlook email app that they are literally the same program; the only way to see your digital calendar is via Outlook.

There are a lot of lesser-known features hidden in the app, and unless you’re already an Outlook power user, you’ll find that there are a lot of ways to get more out of your Outlook Calendar.

How to get an Outlook Calendar with or without Microsoft 365

Microsoft’s digital calendar is only available as a part of Outlook. You can get Outlook three ways: with a Microsoft 365 subscription on desktop, for free on the web, or as a mobile app for iPhone and Android.

The most full-featured version of the calendar is on the desktop with a Microsoft 365 subscription, such as Microsoft 365 Family ($100 per year) or Microsoft 365 Personal ($70 per year). In addition to giving you access to the full suite of Office apps, these subscriptions also include OneDrive storage.

Without a subscription, you can still access the Outlook Calendar on the web or via the mobile app, though with fewer features and capabilities.

Outlook Calendar tips and tricks

There are countless ways to personalize your Outlook Calendar to get the most out of the program. Here are some of the most useful tips and tricks.

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How to give better PowerPoint presentations and improve your slides to keep an audience engaged

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It’s important to know how to create well-designed PowerPoint presentations to help your audience follow along and stay engaged.

  • You can improve your PowerPoint presentations by both improving your presentation skills and making better use of the program. 
  • To create a more compelling PowerPoint presentation, you can use tricks like animated charts, a background soundtrack, or embedded fonts. 
  • Here are 17 tips for making cleaner slides, speaking more effectively, and using little-known PowerPoint tools for smarter presentations.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Microsoft PowerPoint remains the most common platform to create and deliver presentations. 

No matter what your content, you can make a more compelling presentation when you’ve toned some common presentation skills and also mastered some of PowerPoint’s lesser-known features.

How to make a better PowerPoint presentation

Here are nine ways to get more out of PowerPoint and create a killer presentation. 

Start your presentation instantly 

Few things look as unprofessional as fumbling around trying to start your presentation in the PowerPoint app. But you can skip all that by setting your presentation to start instantly.

1. When your PowerPoint deck is complete, click “File” and “Save As.”

2. In the Save As dialog box, change the “Save as” type to “PowerPoint Show” and store it somewhere easy to find, like your desktop. 

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Save a finished presentation as a PowerPoint Show so it’ll launch directly into Slide Show mode.

3. When you’re ready to start the presentation, double-click this icon, and the deck will launch instantly in presentation mode, without needing to open the PowerPoint application. 

Create an animated chart

You can format any kind of chart so each segment animates individually. This can help you call attention to specific parts of the chart as you discuss it. Add a chart in the usual way, then:

1. Click the “Animations” tab in the ribbon and then click “Animation Pane.”

2. In the ribbon, click “Add Animation.”

3. Choose the kind of animation you want to apply to the chart. 

4. Right-click the effect in the Animation Pane and then, in the menu, choose “Effect Options.”

5. In the Properties box, choose the “Chart Animation” tab and then change “Group chart” to “By Category” and click “OK.”

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You can make each part of a chart or graph animate individually.

Align your graphics

PowerPoint lets you add objects – shapes, lines, arrows, text boxes, and other elements – to the screen, but getting them aligned can be tricky. You might appreciate knowing you can perfectly align any elements on the screen with just a couple of clicks. 

1. Press and hold the Shift key.

2. While continuing to hold Shift, click each item on the screen that you want to align. If you click an element by accident, click it again to de-select it. Release the Shift key when they’re all selected.

3. Click the “Home” tab in the ribbon.

4. In the ribbon, click “Arrange” and then, in the “Position Objects” section, choose an alignment to arrange or distribute the objects neatly on the screen. 

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The “Arrange” menu lets you easily align and format items on the screen so they line up perfectly.

Embed your fonts for portability

If you’re using special fonts in your presentation and you try to open the deck on a computer that doesn’t have those fonts installed, PowerPoint will substitute a local font, sometimes with disastrous results. You can avoid that problem by embedding the font in the deck, making the presentation fully portable (and possible for other people to share and edit the deck as well).

1. Click the “File” tab in the ribbon and then choose “Options.”

2. In the PowerPoint Options dialog box, choose “Save” in the navigation pane on the left.

3. In the section called “Preserve fidelity when sharing this presentation,” click “Embed fonts in the file” and then select “Embed all characters.”

Blank the screen to keep all eyes on you

It seems inevitable: For whatever reason, you find yourself needing to discuss a topic that’s not directly related to the slide on the screen. That’s when the deck can become a distraction, with your audience’s eyes focused on a pie chart when you’re answering an unrelated question. PowerPoint has an easy solution: Press the B key to blank the screen – it’ll turn black until you press B again or move to the next slide. If you prefer, press W to turn the screen white. 

Easily jump between sections of your deck

Not every presentation is linear, and you might prefer to jump back and forth from sections of your deck to a common “table of contents,” so you can tackle the presentation in any order. This can be handy, for example, if you’re using a deck for training or education. PowerPoint’s Zoom feature is ideal for this.

1. Create a presentation and be sure to organize it into sections, ideally with title slides dividing each part of the deck.

2. Click the “Insert” tab in the ribbon.

3. Click “Zoom” and then click “Summary Zoom.”

4. In the “Insert Summary Zoom” window, select the title slide or start of each section and then click “Insert.”

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Use the Zoom tool to jump back and forth between the presentation and a table of contents slide.

PowerPoint will add a summary page to your deck. Now you can start your presentation here and click a section to go there. When that section is complete, PowerPoint will return you to the summary page. 

Preserve the presentation as a PDF

If you want to share your presentation with your audience, a PDF file is an easy way to preserve the formatting, make it easily printable, and prevent anyone from modifying your content. Just click the “File” tab in the ribbon, choose “Save As,” and then select “PDF” as the “Save as” type. You can now share this PDF file quickly and easily. 

Zoom in for a closer look

During a presentation, you might realize that the audience can’t clearly see a detail you want to focus on. That’s ok – PowerPoint lets you zoom in with a couple clicks. 

First, make sure your presentation is set to Slide Show view. To zoom in, click on the magnifying glass in the lower-left corner of the presenter view. You’ll see a zoom box appear – position it where you want to zoom, and click. Now the presentation will be zoomed in on the part of the screen you want to focus on. You can even click and drag to move around the screen while zoomed in. 

When you’re done and want to zoom back out, either press the Escape key or the magnifying glass icon again. 

Add a musical soundtrack

You can easily add a musical score that plays in the background across all your slides. This is especially handy for “kiosk” presentations that run autonomously. 

1. Go to the slide where you want the music to begin and then click the “Insert” tab in the ribbon.

2. Click “Audio” and then click “Audio on my PC…”

3. Choose the track you want to play. 

4. In the ribbon, click “Play in Background.”

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Select “Play in Background” to ensure the music doesn’t stop when the slides are advanced.

Now, when you reach this slide, the music will start to play automatically and it will continue playing across slides until the track is over, then loop and play again.

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What is Microsoft 365? Here’s what you need to know about the subscription service to Word, Excel, and other Microsoft programs

office space working on desktop computers
Microsoft 365’s subscription packages for businesses can help improve your office’s productivity and workflow.

  • Microsoft 365 is a subscription-based evolution of Microsoft Office, featuring familiar programs, like Word and Excel, but with additional features.
  • There are different tiers of Microsoft 365 plans suited for different needs, like business, personal, and family plans.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

You’ve likely heard of Microsoft Office, which consists of workplace applications, including the widely used Microsoft Word program.

What you may not realize is that Word and other Office programs – Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote – are also a part of Microsoft 365.

Making a one-time purchase of Microsoft Office is still an option to anyone who wants access to the suite of programs. However, you might want to opt for Microsoft 365 instead, which is structured as a paid monthly subscription plan and features myriad perks not included with Office, including cloud-based productivity tools and artificial intelligence capabilities. 

Here’s a little bit more about Microsoft 365, how it differs from its predecessor, and how you can sign up.

What to know about Microsoft 365

Some of Microsoft’s subscription-based services were formerly known as Office 365.

In April 2020, Microsoft rebranded all of those services to Microsoft 365 to help differentiate its subscription service from the traditional Office-branded Microsoft program packages.

Microsoft 365 offers special additions to its classic Office apps as well as access to more programs, like OneDrive. Even a basic Microsoft 365 personal plan gives you access to premium versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, which Office doesn’t offer.  

You also get access to advanced tools and features like Microsoft Editor to help edit your writing; the financial planning tool, Microsoft Money in Excel; and OneDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage that allows for ease of collaboration in real time.

There’s also a slew of other smart perks in Microsoft 365: You can get focused help on your resume with Word’s Resume Assistant, or help with your next presentation with the PowerPoint Presenter Coach.

Again, these are benefits you won’t see with a basic Office purchase, and you can get them all with a Microsoft 365 plan for home, which has two tiers.

As the 365 plans move up in tiers, there are added security and business tools available. For instance, appointment manager Microsoft Bookings is available in the Standard and Premium versions of Microsoft 365, but not the Basic, and only the Premium tier of Microsoft 365 Business grants you access to mobile-device manager Intune and Azure Information Protection.

If you can’t decide on a business plan, Microsoft can help you determine what plan best fits your business, and you can back out before the one-month free trial ends.

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