How to get a character count in a Microsoft Word document

typing in document
Finding the character count in a Word document is a straightforward process.

  • You can get a character count in a Word document by selecting the “Review” tab and clicking “Word Count.”
  • You can find both the number of characters with spaces and the character count not including spaces.
  • You can add the Word Count dialog box to the Quick Access toolbar so it’s always one click away.
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On occasion, you may need to ensure your document has a particular number of words. Microsoft Word makes it easy to keep track of your word count two different ways – via the status bar at the bottom of the screen and in the Review tab of the ribbon. It’s less common to need the character count, but it’s just as easy to find via the ribbon’s Review tab.

Word tracks many statistics for you: the total number of pages, paragraphs, line, words, and characters. Word distinguishes between the total number of characters in your document with or without including spaces. There might be times when you need to know one or the other, but if you have a need to write a certain number of characters and the requirements don’t specify, you can usually assume it’s the total number of characters including spaces.

How to get a character count in Word with one click

You can add Word Count to Word’s Quick Access toolbar – that’s the row of icons at the top left of the title bar. After you add it, you can click the icon to get a word and character count without first going to the Review tab of the ribbon.

  • In Word for Windows, click the “Review” tab and right-click “Word Count.” Then, in the menu, click “Add to Quick Access Toolbar.”
How to get a character count in Word 2
You can right-click to add the Word Count to the Quick Access Toolbar.

  • In Word for the Mac, click the down-arrow at the right of the Quick Access Toolbar in the Word title bar. Choose “More Commands…” In the Ribbon & Toolbar dialog box, click the Choose Commands From menu and choose “Review.” Scroll to the bottom and click “Word Count…” then click the right arrow to move it to the Customize Quick Access Toolbar list. Click “Save.”
How to get a character count in Word 3
Open the Ribbon & Toolbar dialog box to add Word count to the Quick Access Toolbar on the Mac.

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

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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.
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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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You can now add clickable checkboxes to your documents.

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How to remove a section break in Word and reformat the layout of your document

Woman typing document
You can remove section breaks in Word by deleting their special symbols.

In Microsoft Word, you can insert section breaks to divide your document into sections and apply formatting to specific blocks of text. For example, you can have a section with different margin sizes, sections with different headers and footers, and more. Section breaks differ from page breaks, which move the content after a page break to the beginning of the next page.

Below, you’ll find step-by-step instructions for how to remove a section break in Word on Windows and Mac Office programs. When you delete a section break, the text before and after the break combines into one section, which takes on the formatting of the latter section.

Here’s how to remove section breaks from your Word document.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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How to insert a blank page in Word and keep your document’s formatting intact

woman typing on laptop
You can add a blank page or a page break in Microsoft Word.

  • You can add a blank page into a Word document by clicking the Blank Page option in the Insert menu.
  • Using this option will keep your Word document’s formatting intact.
  • You can also insert a new page break in a Microsoft Word document to add space between sections.
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Microsoft Word allows you to insert blank pages between existing pages with just a few clicks.

It’s a helpful feature when you’re working on long documents or presentations, because it seamlessly inserts a blank page without disrupting the format of the existing content.

Page breaks are another option for adding space between sections. This formatting tool moves the content after a page break to the beginning of the next page.

If you want to add or insert a new blank page into your existing Word document, here are two ways to do it.

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How to double space in Microsoft Word on different versions of the word processor

Someone typing Word document
There are several ways to double space in both the newer and older versions of Word.

  • You can double space in Word for an entire document or selected paragraphs and increase the amount of space between your lines of text.
  • To double space in newer versions of Word, click on the Design tab and set your Paragraph Spacing to 2.0.
  • In older versions of Word, including Word 2007-2010, you will need to go to the Styles section of the Home tab and in the Formatting menu click Double Space.
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Whether you’ve been asked to double space a Word document or prefer to read double space documents, this formatting can be applied to an entire Word document or selected sections with just a few clicks.

Double spacing increases the amount of space between lines of text and can be helpful to a teacher or editor in marking the document or adding comments. Double spacing a Word document will differ depending on which version of Word you have.

Here are the steps for newer versions of Word and for Office 2007-2010.

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15 Microsoft Word tips and tricks that will help any user work more efficiently

man using keyboard on laptop computer
Microsoft Word has many useful features you might not know about.

  • Microsoft Word is filled with little-known tips and tricks that allow for more efficient work. 
  • Some tricks, like “Focus” mode and quick translations, make writing and editing a breeze.
  • Other features, like a built-in Resume Assistant and a document-signing tool, can aid on professional documents.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

It’s easy to take Microsoft Word for granted, despite its reputation as an easy-to-use word processor. 

However, even everyday Word users might not realize how powerful the app is, or how many features it has beyond the simple editing commands we all know.

Microsoft Word tips and tricks

Taking time to explore Word’s more obscure corners can make the program even more useful for you. If you start using these tricks often, you might start to wonder how you ever went without them.

Here are 15 of our favorite Microsoft Word tips and tricks, all of which can save you time and energy while you work.

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How to draw freely on Microsoft Word or insert shapes to customize documents

creative professional working on laptop
It’s easy to create your own drawings in Microsoft Word.

  • You can draw freely in Microsoft Word using the “Draw” feature whether you have Word for Mac or Windows.
  • You can also insert customizable shapes into your document, or draw using the “Scribble” feature.
  • The process of drawing in Word varies based on which version of Word and device you’re using.
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If you’ve ever wanted to express an idea visually rather than with words, you can do so in Microsoft Word with the “Draw” feature. 

Word lets you create your own custom drawings using the mouse or touch tools. Or, if you’re not the best artist, you can insert pre-set shapes and illustrations that can be customized to your liking. Here’s how to do both in Word. 

How to draw on Microsoft Word using touch tools or the mouse

The steps for creating a custom drawing in Word are different depending on what kind of device and what version of Word you have. 

If you have a Windows computer with Microsoft 365 or Office 2019:

1. Open an existing document or create a blank document in Word.

2. The “Draw” tab may be already available on your ribbon if you have a touch-enabled device. If “Draw” is not an available tab on your ribbon, you’ll need to add it. To do so, click “File” at the top of your screen, then “Options,” and select “Customize Ribbon.” In the Customize screen, click on “Draw” to add it to the ribbon.

How to draw on Microsoft Word 5, Click on “Draw” under the customize the ribbon Main Tabs menu.

3. Once “Draw” is in the ribbon, click on it.

4. Click on whichever drawing tool you want to use. To change the size or color of the drawing tool, click on it again and select from the dropdown list of options.

5. Use your mouse or trackpad to begin drawing. 

How to draw on Microsoft Word 6, Select whichever tool you want to draw freely on your Word document.

If you have a Windows computer with Office 2016 or Office 2013:

1. Open an existing document or create a blank document in Word.

2. In the Word ribbon, click the “Review” tab and choose “Start Inking.”

3. Under “Ink Tools,” select “Pens” and then choose “Pen” again.

4. Choose the ink color and pen thickness you want and begin drawing. 

If you have a Mac computer with Microsoft 365 or Office 2019:

Unlike Windows computers, the Draw feature is only available on Macs if you have either Microsoft 365 or Office 2019. 

1. Open an existing document or create a blank document in Word.

2. Click the “Draw” tab on the ribbon at the top of Word. 

3. You’ll see a list of pens to choose from. Once you’ve clicked on one, click on it again to change the ink color or pen thickness. 

4. You can also select “Draw with Trackpad” to use your finger to draw on your trackpad, instead of dragging your cursor to draw. 

How to draw on Microsoft Word using default tools

1. Open an existing document or create a blank document in Word.

2. Click on the “Insert” tab, then select “Shapes.”

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The “Insert” tab will show all the options for things you can insert in your document, like “Shapes.”

3. You’ll be shown a long list of shapes you can add to your document. You can pick one of the pre-defined shapes, but if you want to draw, click on the icon that looks like a scribble under the “Lines” header. It’ll be the last option.

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There’s a full selection of pre-set shapes you can add to your Word document, or choose “Scribble” to create your own.

4. Once you’ve selected the “Scribble” icon, your cursor will turn into a crosshair. Click and drag your mouse to draw with it, and release the mouse when you’re done. Your drawing will be turned into an image, and you can move or resize it like any other image.

5. Once you’ve added the shape, you can refine it using the tools at the top of the screen. You can adjust the color in “Shape Fill,” adjust the outline of it in “Shape Outline,” or add “Shape Effects” like shadows to the shape.

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You can adjust your shapes using “Shape Styles” once the shape has been created.

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