In the coming weeks we’ll be sharing the features and benefits of the Microsoft 365 suite for small businesses, highlighting a different tool each week. But first, what is Microsoft 365 and how does it differ from past Microsoft tools?
Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) combines the tools we know best (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) and packages them as a monthly or annual subscription, combining them in an online suite of cloud-connected services that includes file storage, email, and other communication and organizational tools. In this first edition of the series, we’re sharing the tools and upgrades to Word through Microsoft 365.
Microsoft Word is the preeminent word-processing program, long-favored for its usability and intuitiveness. The cloud-based version remains a favorite for its functionality and advanced tools. Check out our favorite tools for getting the best functionality out of Word and Microsoft 365 for your small businesses.
One of the best things about working with cloud-based tools is the built-in security measures. In Microsoft 365, Word has options for editing document permission, creating passwords, and even encrypting those passwords.
If you have sensitive client information (such as legal or healthcare documents) this is a great benefit to using Microsoft 365. It can also help you drill down permissions if you want to have a folder that is available to all of your staff, but have a few files in it that only key employees should have access to.
That’s a mouthful, but it’s a wonderful phrase for summing up a new Word tool that checks the overall comprehension and complexity of your written documents. This is a big step beyond spellcheck and basic grammar review. The tool draws upon lingual tests to give a score on a 100-point scale to help you determine the reading level for your communication. You can set the readability statistics tool to run simultaneously with spell check, giving you a host of valuable information with just one click.
This is especially beneficial if you are in an industry with a lot of lingo or other technical language, such as healthcare or the legal field. An internal document for a medical team is going to have a different level of readability than a patient visit summary. (Well, hopefully; I’ve definitely had the experience of needing a thesaurus to parse through a home-care instruction sheet after a hospital stay!)
With readability statistics, you get an instant “score” that gives you an accurate analysis of the reading level needed to comprehend your document. This lets you know right away if you need to adjust your language for clarity, and helps you keep your clients’ perspective in mind as you write.
In-document tools and images
The ability to insert tools, images, and add dimension to Word is more robust and flexible through Microsoft 365. You can add images (365 includes more than 8000 premium stock images), 3D models, use Word like a whiteboard to write text anywhere, highlight square fields of text or an entire sentence with just a click.
If you’ve ever worked with a document that requires both language and math, you know how maddening it can be to switch back and forth between Word and Calculator or Excel, not to mention the formatting headache. Word now comes with a built-in calculator. You can quickly type math calculations into the doc, highlight them, and with a quick click of the calculator icon, it does the math for you. No more flipping back and forth between tabs to check your math or ensure that you’ve inserted the correct number into your document! This tool increases efficiency when working in complex documents
And one of the coolest tools is that you can transform Word documents into webpages. So if you are comfortable using Word but not so much with web publishing, you can still share your dynamic creations online quickly and easily!
Because of the cloud, Microsoft Editor goes beyond the grammar, spellcheck, and editing tools you know and love in Word. You can also use the Editor tool when drafting emails and add the extension to edit webpages. But my favorite tool is the editing shortcut, Shift F5.
As an editor who has worked on everything from short blog posts to full dissertations, I have seen the full spectrum of file length when it comes to editing. And there is nothing more maddening than working on a massive document and accidentally hitting the wrong key that sends you shooting back to the top of the page. I have wasted so much time looking for the last spot I edited.
The Shift F5 shortcut allows you to quickly cycle through parts of your document you’ve recently edited. This can be handy for long documents as mentioned, but can also be helpful when collaborating on documents and you need to find where and what your teammates recently changed.
Auto Update Date/Time
During college I spent two summers interning with the development office, and my biggest projects were coordinating massive, all-list mailings to alumni. This was back in the mid-2000s, and sometimes a mailing would get unexpectedly delayed, and I’d have to go back and re-do my mail merge to correct the date on the letters.
Working from the cloud is a game-changer for mass mailings, or really any document that you need to customize and update quickly. Now you can set the date/time to auto-update every time you make a change to your document!
Microsoft 365 has taken everything we know and love about Word and upgraded it to a dynamic, flexible tool with access to the cloud and seamless communication with other 365 applications. If you’re thinking about switching or upgrading to Microsoft 365, Tech Masters can give you a free assessment to help you determine your needs and next steps.
“Microsoft Word is the preeminent word-processing program, long-favored for its usability and intuitiveness.”
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