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Using Word 2008 for Mac Online Reference Tools

Besides the thesaurus, Word has five other tools in the Reference Tools pane of the Toolbox: an encyclopedia, dictionary, bilingual dictionary, translation service, and Web search. These five tools are known as the online reference tools. In contrast to the thesaurus, you need an active Internet connection to use them.

Because the online Reference Tools are turned off by default, you have to turn on online access before you can use them. To turn on online access, open the Toolbox by choosing View→Reference Tools. Click the little arrow at the right side of the Toolbox’s title bar. Choose Reference Tools from the pop-up Palette menu and then select the Allow Online Access check box. Select the check boxes to show the panels you want to display and then click OK.

The online reference tools use a feature called a disclosure triangle, which is the little triangle on the left of each item in the Online Reference Tools panel of the Toolbox (namely, Thesaurus, Encarta Encyclopedia, Dictionary, Bilingual Dictionary, Translation, and Web Search). To use any of the tools, click the appropriate disclosure triangle to the left of that tool’s name to open its panel and then type a word or phrase into the search field at the top of the window. Press Return or Enter, and the text for the word you searched for appears on screen.

If you don’t open any of the panels, and you type a word or phrase into the search field of the Online Reference Tools panel of the Toolbox and then press Return or Enter, the Thesaurus and Dictionary panels open automatically and display the synonyms (in the Thesaurus panel) and definitions (in the Dictionary panel) of that word.

Search results may have their own disclosure triangles.

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Click the disclosure triangle to reveal additional information about the word you searched for. You can expand results in any Toolbox panel by clicking and dragging the resizer downward. Results with big blue dots next to them denote Web links. Click the link to launch your Web browser to view additional information.

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The other online reference tools work pretty much the same as the Thesaurus and Encarta Encyclopedia. Here’s a brief description of each:

  • Dictionary: Displays the dictionary definition in your choice of language.

  • Bilingual Dictionary: Lets you look up a word in one language and get a translation of its definition in another language.

  • Translation: Translates words, phrases, or even entire documents from one language to another.

    The Translation results include many links to other translation services. Click the disclosure triangles and then click the links to see them in your Web browser.

  • Web Search: Displays search results in your choice of languages with clickable links to their Web pages.

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