Tag Archives: Word

Using cross references in Word


cross by renee.hawk, Attribution-NoDerivs Licence

Cross references are really handy tools in Word when you are writing a long and complex document. They help by automatically keeping track of where things you are referring readers to are located in the document, and they update automatically if you need to change where things are.

So, for example, you may have several figures you need to refer to, and at some point you may need to move these around to different places in your document. What was originally labelled Figure 1, may need to change to be called Figure 3 and all the other figure names may need to change accordingly. Instead of manually having to change all the figure captions as well as all the places in the document you have referred to the figures, Word can do this for you automatically as soon as you move the figure. Can you see how helpful that would be?

This link will show you how to use cross references in your document. http://www.dummies.com/software/microsoft-office/word/how-to-put-cross-references-in-a-document-in-word-2016/

Customising your status bar in Word

Word has a status bar at the bottom which gives you useful information about your document.


You can customise the things you want to see in the status bar to suit your needs. For example

  • Showing the sections can be useful if you are using section breaks in your documents
  • Showing the word count is useful to track your writing productivity or if you are working to word limits
  • Showing whether tracked changes are on is useful if you are often using tracked changes

Even better, the things showing in the status bar have functionality if you click on them. For example clicking on tracked changes toggles this on and off.

You can set the options for what you want to see by right clicking in the status bar and selecting the tools you want to show.


Keeping paragraphs together


Together by Laura Limón, Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License

Have you ever noticed that page breaks are not where you want them to be? It can make it hard to read documents if the heading is at the bottom of the page and not with the text it is the heading for. Or if a bulleted list is broken across a page.

You could insert manual line breaks, but there is a better way which allows to Word to keep it all under control even when you make changes to the document. It can link two paragraphs so they always stay together on one page.

Just right click the heading or paragraph that you want to stay on the same page as the next one, and choose Paragraph from the options that appear.


In the paragraph window, go to the Line and Page Breaks tab and tick Keep with next.


That’s it! Done.

The comments tool in word


When you send your supervisor a draft for feedback, they may annotate it electronically using the comment tool. Comments are also useful for you to keep helpful notes for yourself, or to explain where you are up to, to your supervisor. A major advantage of the comments is that they can be hidden, so you can read without the interfering with your reading when you need to. Because of this I much prefer to use comments when making notes to myself than to use highlighting or add temporary text.

This posting gives you some basic instructions which include how to add, delete, and hide comments.

How you can see where your search terms are at a glance

When you are running a search in Word, you can use the navigation pane to help you see at a glance which sections of your document the search terms appear in. This can be really useful once your document starts to get long. You can quickly jump to the section you are interested in by clicking on the section heading in the navigation pane.

The navigation pane appears on the left of your screen in Word. For information on how to turn it on and use it see here https://seehowtodo.wordpress.com/2014/04/19/using-the-navigation-pane-in-word/

As you see in the screenshot below, the search term is highlighted within the text of the document, but also the headings of each section the search term appears in are highlighted in the navigation pane.


Word’s autocorrect feature for things you are sick of typing

If you have long phrases or complicated words that you are using frequently in your document, you may want to have them appear automatically in Word when you type something more simple. So say, for example, you are writing about pituitary dependent hyperadrenocorticism. Instead of writing this out all the time you could type PDH and have word automatically expand this to pituitary dependent hyperadrenocorticism. This video from KeyStone Learning Systems explains how to use the autocorrect feature in Word to do this.


Splitting the screen to see two parts of a document at once

Sometimes when you are working with a big file you need to see two parts of it at once. You might be writing your results and need to look at your methods at the same time so that you put them in the same order. Or you might need to look at your introduction while writing your discussion. Or you might be reading a pdf and you need to see the reference list while you are reading. Or you might be working with big spreadsheet and you need to see the end while you are working at the beginning.

Instead of flipping back wards and forwards, you can quickly and easily show two parts at once using a little tool that hides at the top right of the scroll bar on the right side of the window. See below for screenshots with the area indicated with the arrow. When you mouse over this area your mouse changes to the split screen symbol and you can left click and drag to split the screen. Each section can be scrolled and even zoomed separately.

In Excel, there is another split screen tool in a similar position at the bottom right of the scroll bar. With this one you can split the screen vertically.

See the screen shots below for where to look.

In Word

In Excel:

In Adobe reader or Acrobat:

Don’t ignore the green squiggly lines in Word


Green Vine Snake, Sinharaja forest reserve by Ziman Zimanovich, Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License

Word has a grammar checking facility that places green squiggly lines underneath sentences and phrases in which it finds a grammatical issue. Although a lot of people find this annoying and turn it off, it is actually very helpful. It is almost always right and paying attention to it will help you to write better. Sometimes it suggests things I don’t agree with, and in that case you can tell it to ignore the situation on that occasion. But if nothing else it makes me reconsider the sentence and whether the way I have written it really is the best way. You can also customise it to spot certain issues like double spacing and so on.

In this posting, Beth Oyler, a writing tutor from Walden University Writing Center, explains more.

Colourful highlighting in Word


Curious Cows by Fingerz Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Word has a useful feature where you can highlight text, but the highlight tool has a limited range of 15 colours, many of which are too dark to see the text through. The lighter ones are so bright I find it very hard to read text highlighted with them. But there is another way of highlighting which I prefer to use which has the full range of any colours. Even custom colours.

See this post for details.

Formatting tables that break over pages


05 – August – 2011 — The Evil Gaze of Goat by reway2007 Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

When you need to have a table running over more than one page, there are a couple of simple tricks that will help your reader. One is to make sure that the headers of the table are repeated at the top of each new page and the other is to make sure that each row is not broken across two pages. You can fiddle about and do these manually, but did you know that Word can do both of these operations automatically for you? Simple. See these two posts for how.

Repeating table header rows

Stopping tables breaking within rows