10 Bizarre Things in Microsoft Word 2019

By Dan Gookin

Some of Microsoft Word’s features are more relevant to the topics of desktop publishing or graphics than to word processing. These tasks are done far better by using other software, but Word doesn’t stop there with its unique and weird features. Welcome to the Twilight Zone, Word edition.

Equations in Microsoft Word

Microsoft must recognize that a vast majority of Word users hold degrees in astrophysics and quantum mechanics. If you’re one of them, or perhaps you dabble in rocket science or brain surgery, you’ll appreciate Word’s Equation tools. These tools sate your desire to place a polynomial equation or quantum calculation in your document without having to endure the tedium of building the thing yourself.

To place a premade equation into your third doctoral thesis from MIT, click the Insert tab. In the Symbols group, click the Equation button menu and choose a preset mathematical monster from the list. Or you can choose the Insert New Equation command to share your own brilliance by crafting the equation yourself.

  • An equation content control is inserted in a document at the insertion pointer’s location. When selected, the Equation Tools Design tab appears on the Ribbon.
  • No, Word won’t solve the equation.

Video in Your Microsoft Word Document

Seriously? I’m guessing that Word’s capability to stick a video into a document doesn’t translate well when the page is printed. That’s just a guess — I haven’t tried it, though I think I’m probably correct.

word2019-video

When you’re been up late and the alcohol in your bloodstream is flirting with every neuron in your brain, click the Insert tab. Use YouTube or choose another video-searing option in the Insert Video window. After way too much time passes, the video appears as a large graphical goober in the document. You can play it right there on the screen. Amazing.

word2019-read-mode

Videos are best viewed when a Word document is presented in Read mode — which in and of itself is yet another bizarre thing. To enter Read mode, click the Read Mode button on the status bar (shown in the margin); or, on the View tab, choose Read Mode from the Views group.

Hidden Text in Word 2019

Hidden text doesn’t appear in a document. It doesn’t print. It’s just not there!

If you desire to write hidden text so that you can put it on your résumé for application to the CIA, select the text and press Ctrl+Shift+H. The same keyboard shortcut deactivates this format.

The only way you know that hidden text exists in a document is to use the Show/Hide command: Click the Home tab, and in the Paragraph group, click the Show/Hide button, which looks like the Paragraph symbol. The hidden text shows up in the document with a dotted underline.

The Developer Tab in Microsoft Word

Computer users love secrets, especially when no one else knows about them. One such secret in Word is the Developer tab. Shhh!

The Developer tab plays host to some of Word’s advanced and cryptic features. These commands don’t make creating a document any easier, and they open a can of worms that I don’t want to cover in this book. Still, you’re reading this text, so follow these steps to summon the mysterious Developer tab:

  1. Click the File tab.
  2. Choose the Options command to display the Word Options dialog box.
  3. Choose the Customize Ribbon item on the left side of the dialog box.
  4. Under the Customize Ribbon list on the right side of the dialog box, place a check mark by the Developer item.
  5. Click OK.

The Developer tab is aptly named; it’s best suited for people who either use Word to develop applications, special documents, and online forms or are hellbent on customizing Word by using macros. Scary stuff, but it’s covered in the book Word 2016 For Professionals For Dummies (Wiley). Now you know the secret.

Hyphenation in Microsoft Word

Hyphenation is an automatic feature that splits a long word at the end of a line to make the text fit better on the page. Most people leave this feature disabled because hyphenated words tend to slow down the pace at which people read. However, if you want to hyphenate a document, click the Layout tab and then the Page Setup group, and choose Hyphenation →Automatic.

Automatic hyphenation works only on paragraphs formatted with full justification alignment. If the paragraph is otherwise formatted, the Hyphenation command button is dimmed.

Document Properties in Microsoft Word

Word merrily tracks lots of details about the documents you craft, stuff that you normally wouldn’t pay attention to if you didn’t know about the Document Properties feature.

To view a document’s properties, click the File tab and choose the Info item. The Properties are on the right, showing document size, pages, word count, and other trivia. To view or set other options, click the Properties button and choose Advanced Properties.

Word Document Version History

You write, you save, you write you save. These different document versions can be recovered if you enable the Windows File History feature. Within Word, however, you can peruse a document’s revision history, providing you’ve saved the document to OneDrive.

To check out previous editions of a document, click the document name, top and center of the window. From the menu, choose See All Versions. The Version History pane appears. If you click and don’t see a menu, the document was saved locally or to cloud storage that’s better than OneDrive.

The Version History pane lists all major document revisions by date, time, and author. To see a revision, click the Open Version link. The selected revision appears in a new window.

Collect-and-Paste in Microsoft Word

I hope the word processing concept of copy-and-paste is simple for you. What’s not simple is taking it to the next level by using Word’s collect-and-paste feature.

Collect-and-paste allows you to copy multiple chunks of text and paste them in any order or all at once. The secret is to click the dialog box launcher in the lower right corner of the Clipboard group on the Home tab, right next to the word Clipboard. The clipboard pane appears on the screen.

With the clipboard pane visible, you can use the Copy command multiple times in a row to collect text. To paste the text, simply click the mouse on that chunk of text in the clipboard pane. Or you can use the Paste All button to paste into the document every item you’ve collected.

Even more bizarre: You can actually select multiple separate chunks of text in a document. To do so, select the first chunk, and then, while holding down the Ctrl key, drag over additional text. As long as the Ctrl key is held down, you can drag to select multiple chunks of text in different locations. The various selected chunks work as a block, which you can cut, copy, or delete or to which you can apply formatting.

Click-and-Type in Microsoft Word

A feature introduced in Word 2002, and one that I don’t believe anyone ever uses, is click-and-type. In a blank document, you can use click-and-type to stab the mouse pointer anywhere on the page and type information at that spot. Bam!

I fail to see any value in click-and-type, especially when it’s a more positive aspect of your Word education to learn basic formatting. But click-and-type may bother you when you see any of its specialized mouse pointers displayed; thus:

word2019-mouse-pointer

Those weird mouse pointers indicate the click-and-type feature in action. The mouse pointer itself tries to indicate the paragraph format to be applied when you click the mouse.

Translations

Allora, hai il desiderio di scrivere il tuo testo l’italiano? Rather than get bored trying to learn Italian in school or waste precious time vacationing in Italy, you can use Word’s Translate feature to magically create Italian or any other foreign language text. The secret lies on the Review tab, in the Language group.

To translate a chunk of text in a document, follow these steps:

  1. Write the text you want to translate.
    I came. I saw. I conquered.
  2. Select the text.
    word2019-translate
  3. On the Review tab, in the Language group, click the Translate button and choose Translate Selection.
    The Translate command button is shown.
  4. Click the Turn On button if prompted to activate Intelligent Services.
    The translator pane appears on the right side of the document window. It automatically detects the language selected, which I assume is English for this book.
  5. Choose a target language from the To menu.
    Alas, Latin isn’t one of them, at least as this book goes to press.
  6. Review the translation.
    If you know a smattering of the selected language, consider fixing it up. For example, the Italian sentence at the start of this section was originally translated with the second person plural instead of second person singular.
  7. Click the Insert button to set the translated text into the document. Bello.
  8. Close the Translate pane.
    Click the X button to close.

As with all computer translations, what you get is more of an approximation of what a native speaker would say. The text is generally understandable, but nothing truly substitutes for a knowledge of the language — or a month in Italy.