Microsoft Word Features For Writers Part 2: Thesaurus, Word Count, Spelling & Grammar Check, Editing

Thesaurus:

Highlight the word you want to look up, and go to review, then click thesaurus. You may want a more comprehensive thesaurus available during editing, but when writing the first draft, MS Word thesaurus is more than adequate.

Grammar and Spell Check:

Go to grammar and spell check, then click options to change the grammar settings the way you want. You can even set it to show passive sentences and show the grade level you’re writing at. You can even set the spell check to change or highlight certain words as you type them.

CAUTION:  Always check your manuscript. Never rely completely on spell and grammar checks.

Word Count: 

MS Word 2007 shows the word count at the bottom of the window. Earlier versions have the word count under the edit tab. You can find out the word count of a chapter by highlighting that chapter. Word will show you the word count of the highlighted area as well as the word count of the whole document. If you want to keep track of how much you write each day, place bookmarks at the end of each day’s work and highlight that section.

Editing and Critiques:

There are two great devices you can use when editing your manuscript or critiquing others. The first is the comment window found under review in MS Word 2007. If you want to comment about a section without changing it, highlight it, and click new comment. The second is track changes. When you click track changes, your document will show every change you’ve made.

Add In Software

If you’d like additional writer’s features for Word, there is one add in program specifically made for MS Word and sold in the MS webstore. It very inexpensive and well worth the money, and it’s compatable with Vista. I have the program and am happy with it.

Here’s the link if you want to check it out.

There are other ways you can use MS Word, but it would take a book to list them all. If you know of a tip you can give, please comment.

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4 thoughts on “Microsoft Word Features For Writers Part 2: Thesaurus, Word Count, Spelling & Grammar Check, Editing

  1. Ah, yes. The wonderful spell check 😀

    Spell check in MS Word is great — as long as you don’t use homophones. I don’t remember MS ever checking for those, but I do remember a program years ago called Grammatik that would flag those to make sure you used the right one. I think that one got bought and integrated into another word processing program, though.

    My father is one that commonly uses homophones, and, since they are legal words, MS just lets them through 😀

    I like your other tips for writers. I just may have to remember them when I’m working on my next story.

  2. I love the thesaurus and word count and couldn’t live without the spell checker. The grammar checker is another story though. I find that it’s wrong as much as it’s right, if not moreso. Often its suggestions simply don’t make sense. Just goes to show that you can’t replace a human reviewing your work for your grammar and stylistic mistakes.

  3. Pingback: Organizing For Writers: Resources Needed « Word Sharpeners

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