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How to Use Reference Tools in Office 2011 for Mac

Using the Reference Tools in Office 2011 is kind of like having popular tools from your local library integrated into Office right on your Mac. When you choose the Reference Tools on the Toolbox, you’re presented with a pane that’s divided into sections. You can expand or collapse each section by clicking the disclosure triangles to the left of the section labels.


At the top of the References Tools is a versatile search field. To use it, follow these steps:

  1. Type a word or phrase into the search field at the top of the Reference Tools tab of the Toolbox.

  2. Click the disclosure triangle to expose the desired reference tool(s).

  3. Press Return to see the results.

    Note that some tools access information that’s continuously updated and require a live Internet connection to get results.

Although you can, you really don’t have to type anything into the search field to use Reference Tools. Here’s an easier alternative:

  1. Open a document, spreadsheet, presentation, or e-mail that you want to work with.

  2. Select a word or phrase and then right-click to bring up a pop-up menu, and choose a reference option such as Look Up, Synonyms, or Translate.

    Some of these options also have submenus with more options you can choose.

Reference Tools does the rest. In fact, if the desired result appears as a pop-up suggestion while you’re editing, all you have to do is click that option to accept the suggestion.

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