MS Word Features For Writers: Template, Find & Replace, Bookmarks

Many writer’s use Microsoft Word, but they don’t use it to its fullest advantage. This week, I’ll post a series highlighting features that benefit writers in Microsoft Word and Microsoft One Note. I am giving instructions for Word and OneNote 2007, but many of these applications are in earlier versions as well.


If you’re good at making your own templates, you can do that, but Microsoft has two templates you can download for free that will work for formatting your manuscripts. These templates work for Word 2003 and above.

Book Manuscript Download

This book manuscript download will give you the basic format you need for your novel or non-fiction book. You may want to tweak it a little to fit you formatting needs. You can do that by selecting the style you want to change, then click modify style.

Short Story Download

You can use this format for short stories or magazine articles. Again you may want to tweak it to fit your needs by selecting the style you want to change, and then clicking modify.

Find and Replace:

Find and Replace is an important tool. Use it to find words that you use too often and words you need to eliminate. You can type ly in the find window to look for all the adverbs in you manuscript. You could also use it by typing all the words in the post, Words Writers Should Delete. It’s helpful for other things as well. If you decide to change a character’s name, you only need to type the name in the replace windows instead of looking through your entire document.

Caution: Don’t automatically replace something without going through and checking every instance. You might find it changes some words you didn’t intend to replace.


Some writers spend money on programs to separate scenes and chapters easily or they use excel charts to keep track of those scenes. All you really need to do is use the bookmark feature of your MS Word Program. At the beginning of every scene, click insert, then click bookmark. Type something to describe the scene, then click add. When you want to find that scene, click insert, bookmark, and go to the scene you want. 

This is also helpful when you’re editing. You can insert a bookmark labeled edit to show where you left off.

Another way to use bookmarks is to mark places you need to come back to and change when you do more research or if you need to look up a name or other information. That way, you don’t have to stop in the middle of the story to try to find out the name of a town.

If you’ve found other helpful ways to use templates, find & replace, and bookmarks, please comment so we can learn from each other. Wednesday I’ll feature more helpful tips about using Microsoft Word.


10 thoughts on “MS Word Features For Writers: Template, Find & Replace, Bookmarks

  1. Hey, Tamera, great tips!

    Thought I’d share one of my own. If you’re looking for adverbs (or anything) in the find & replace section, if you put a space at the end of what you’re looking for, it’ll mostly eliminate the partials that may be somewhere in the middle of the word. Also, if you’re looking for passive words (is, was, been, etc.) if you do the same at the beginning and end, you’ll just find those words. I’ve been using it a lot lately when I’m editing!

    Also, don’t forget to learn the shortcuts, like Ctrl+F for find, or Ctrl+P for print, and Ctrl+Z for undo last action (this last one has been super important for when my daughter starts typing when I step away from my computer for a second!)

  2. The find/replace feature has saved me OODLES of work. When I first started writing and was told that you now only use one space between sentences instead of two like I was taught many years ago, it was a simple procedure to change all of the spacing throughout the entire manuscript.

    It has also been handy for finding weasel words, passive phrases, and that often indicate I’ve slipped out of deep POV.

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  6. I love the fact that students can use your short story template in references, but Windows 10 is not the friendliest Microsoft account once it’s been hacked or mismanaged. A lot of these references may be blocked on campus computers because of download security issues, is there a specific reference I could refer people to to download?

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