12 Useful Tips for Microsoft Office Users

Microsoft Office has many interesting features that many people don’t even know exist. And in vain! Knowing all the features of the product allows you not only to unleash the full potential of the office applications but also to speed up your everyday work at the computer. This is confirmed by our small selection of MS Office tips and little-known features that can be useful to all users of the popular office suite.

microsoft office

Checking Word documents for similarity with Internet sources (plagiarism)

Word’s tight integration with the Bing search engine allows the word processor to be used as a tool for identifying signs of plagiarism in documents. This feature comes in handy for university professors to carry out peer reviews and identify cases of plagiarism in academic papers, diplomas, dissertations, scientific articles, and student reports. To assess text quality and check documents for plagiarism, open the Proofreader tool and then click the “Check for similarity to web sources” button. Word will calculate the percentage of originality of the document’s content, show the text fragments borrowed, and tell you on which site a match has been found.

Fortunately, there is one more possible way to get totally unique academic papers. Just use the special assignments writing services for your coursework, research paper, or essay. It doesn’t matter which type of academic paper you need because skillful writers can cope with assignments of any complexity. Let’s go on to the next hacks you must know about MS Office.

Removing backgrounds from images

There are many ways to remove the background from a photo of an object. You can do it with the help of any graphic editor or a specialized web service like Remove.bg. However, it is much easier to accomplish this task using the built-in Microsoft Office tools.

The procedure is as follows: open the graphic file in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, and then click the “Remove Background” button in the upper left corner. After that, using the “Mark areas to save” and “Mark areas to delete” buttons on the toolbar, move the mouse around the outlines you want to save and get rid of. Then press “Save Changes” and check the final result. The edited image can be saved in JPEG, PNG, GIF, TIFF, BMP, or SVG formats or copied to another program via the clipboard for later use.

Change the case of text quickly

During typing one of the most widespread and annoying mistakes is the wrong case. For instance, accidentally pressing the Caps Lock key or being inattentive will cause the text to be typed in uppercase letters. In such cases, restoring order will help the built-in text correction function in Word and PowerPoint. Simply select mistyped text with the mouse and select upper case in the ribbon menu of your text editor or presentation software. A drop-down list with a set of commands will open, making it easy to bring the text to the desired look. A similar result can be achieved by using the Shift+F3 hotkey combination.

Solving mathematical equations

Microsoft’s OneNote application can be used not only for storing notes but also for solving mathematical problems. This is a great tool for high school and engineering students. All they need to do is type or handwrite an equation in OneNote, then use the Lasso tool to select the text you enter and press the Math key. As a result, you will get the answer and a detailed step-by-step solution to the problem, which you can add to the graphs of algebraic and trigonometric functions in two- and three-dimensional coordinates, if necessary. It is important to remember that solving mathematical equations is only available in Microsoft 365, the subscription-based version of Microsoft Office.

Extract text from images

Thanks to support for Optical Character Recognition (OCR), you can use OneNote to extract printed text from images, such as scans of documents, and clippings from magazines and newspapers. All you have to do is upload an image file to the program and then select “Copy text from image” from the context menu. It couldn’t be simpler. Of course, OneNote does not surpass ABBYY FineReader in quality of recognition, but in most cases, the OCR engine of OneNote is as easy as it can be.

Internet search without leaving the document

The Word processor, Excel, and PowerPoint presentation software have been integrated with Bing, allowing users to search the web for information without the need to open a browser. This can be handy when you need to hastily find explanations of certain terms in a text, or enrich a document with data or images from the internet. To access the search bar you need to select the word or phrase you are looking for with the mouse and then use the context menu. You can do a text and picture search separately or a combination of the two.

Voice input with automatic punctuation

Another voice input feature is based on Microsoft’s speech platform and can be activated by clicking the “Speech Recorder” button on the toolbar. In addition to English, support for German, French, Chinese, Japanese, and other languages. To start dictation, press the microphone key. The system transcribes the spoken phrases into text on the fly, with punctuation marks set automatically.

Converting handwritten mathematical expressions into text

Word, PowerPoint, and OneNote include a math input panel to help you recognize handwritten formulas and translate them into easy-to-read editable text. To access it, click the Drawing tab on the Ribbon Menu and then click the Convert to Math Expression button. This will open a box with a field for entering handwritten formulas and equations via mouse, graphics tablet, or touch screen. You can save complex or frequently typed expressions in a collection of equations for later use in the preparation of theses, dissertations, theses, and research papers, or other documents containing mathematical formulas and calculations.

Automatically convert handwritten outlines into shapes

Microsoft Office out-of-the-box offers you a huge number of graphical shapes, icons, SmartArt objects, charts, and other items to illustrate your documents and presentations. If that’s not enough, the suite also includes a tool that automatically converts hand-drawn sketches and outlines into proper geometric shapes. For those who like regular shapes and geometry, you’ll love this feature, which can be found under the Drawing tab.

Document translation in other languages

In addition to the Bing search engine, the applications of the office suite are tightly integrated with Microsoft Translator, an online service that allows you to easily translate words, phrases, and text fragments from one language to another. The resulting translation can be edited in a separate window and then pasted back into the document. More than 70 languages are supported. Whole documents can be translated.

Searching in OneNote voice and video notes

In any application designed to handle data, there is a search engine. OneNote does too, but not everyone knows that its search engine can index not only text but also multimedia content. This can be useful, for example, when searching for a specific phrase in a long lecture or for finding a reference in a video saved in OneNote. To activate this feature, go to the program settings, open the Audio & Video section and check the “Allow searching words in audio and video recordings” box. Indexing media files can take several hours and OneNote must be running on your computer during this time. This is an important first point, but there is also a second: Currently, the audio and video note search function supports English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese.

We have to use all features of our programs at 100%.

Besides automatic text formatting, there are other useful tips for coursework: handwritten equation function, automatic word replacement throughout the document, search for synonyms, or, for instance, pasting a table from Excel.

By the way, don’t forget about combining it with other programs. The latest Word versions can be synchronized with Email Listening Service, Wikipedia, and many other programs and sites. Try to get acquainted with the Office suite more closely – and soon you won’t be able to imagine how to write a diploma or term paper without using all the features of Office programs. And to defense coursework and diplomas you will be admitted only when your work will be impeccably executed. And in this, Word will definitely be able to help you.

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Dharmesh Donda

iStaunch is written by Dharmesh Donda, an avid Internet geek, IT professional since 2012. Have been in IT industry for more than a decade, and currently doing management and consulting work have taken a plunge into entrepreneurship.

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