Let Your Computer Tools Help

There’s a lot more to your word processing program than just spell checker!

For most PC and MAC versions of MS Word:

    1. Go to the “Tools” menu. Choose among the following: Spelling and Grammar, Thesaurus, Hyphenation, Dictionary, Language, Word Count. (Some of these may be found in subfolders—example: in Microsoft Word 2003, Thesaurus is found under Tools > Language > Thesaurus.)
    2. Go to File > Properties > Statistics. This will give you Date Created, Date Modified, Printed, Last Saved by, Revision #, Total Editing Time, and Statistics: Pages, Paragraphs, Lines, Words, Characters, and Characters with Space.

  1. For readability statistics:
    To get reading difficulty counts in Microsoft Word 2003, go to Tools > Options > Spelling & Grammar tab > Check the box that says “Show readability statistics.” After the Spelling and Grammar check is completed, the readability scores screen will come up. What do these scores mean?
    Flesch Reading Ease:
    Scores from 0 to 100, with 100 being the easiest to read. You want to be between 60-70.
    Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Score:
    Grade level according to US averages. You want to be 8 = 8th grade level, a comfortable reading level for the average adult reader.
  2. Go to Edit > Find. This will give you three choices: Find, Replace, and Go To. So, for example, if you are not sure you have spelled a word the same way throughout your piece, you can check it, and replace it throughout, all at the same time.
  3. There is also a great AutoSummarize feature in some of the newer versions of MS Word. Go to “Tools” and select AutoSummarize. The screen that comes up will give you four choices with numbers of words and/or percentages of the original: Highlight Key Points, Insert Executive Summary, Create a New Document and Put Summary There, and Hide Everything But the Summary.

Remember, the computer is a great starting point, but it won’t catch the wrong word if it’s correctly spelled (e.g., “to,” “two,” “too”). And you’ll still need to check for consistency, punctuation, grammar, word choice and syntax.

Gail Tycer is a strategic business communication authority: professional speaker; writer, author, editor; coach, consultant, facilitator, and strategist. More free business writing tips from Gail Tycer are available here, and information about Gail’s Business Writing workshops is available here.

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© 2013 Gail Tycer • www.GailTycer.com


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