3 Microsoft Word Formatting Tricks You Should Really Know

345238 3 Microsoft Word Formatting Tricks You Should Really Know

Collaborating on documents can be messy when there are lots of edits flying back and forth. Microsoft Word’s Track Changes feature lets you simplify the process.

Step 1: Turn on Track Changes

Click on the “Review” tab and select “Track Changes” to toggle it on. When Track Changes is on, any edits made will be visibly highlighted.

  • Deleted text will be crossed out in red
  • Added text will be underlined in green
  • Formatting changes will be indicated with blue highlighting

Multiple collaborators will be assigned different colors so you can see who made each change.

Step 2: Review Edits

Click on the markers in the left margin to open a card showing the details of each edit. You can scroll through changes using the Previous and Next buttons.

To make an edit permanent, click “Accept”. To discard a change, click “Reject”. You can also accept or reject all changes at once.

Step 3: Turn off Track Changes

Once done with reviews, click the Track Changes button again to turn it off and lock in the final edits. The colored highlights and edits will disappear, leaving a clean document.

Create Tables of Contents for Easy Navigation

Lengthy Word documents can be hard to navigate. Generate a table of contents automatically so readers can easily find sections.

Step 1: Apply Headings

Go through the document and format titles and subtitles with Word’s pre-defined Heading styles. Use:

  • Heading 1 for main section titles
  • Heading 2 for subtitles
  • Heading 3 for subsections

Step 2: Insert the Table of Contents

Click where you want the table of contents to appear, usually near the beginning. Go to References > Table of Contents and pick a built-in style.

Word scans the Headings to build a custom table of contents. It includes the section titles and the page numbers they appear on.

Step 3: Update the Table of Contents

If edits change page numbers or sections, update the table of contents quickly. Right click the table and select “Update Field” to refresh it.

Use Styles and Themes for Consistent Formatting

Applying custom formats to individual text elements is time-consuming. Styles and themes standardize formatting across an entire document or even multiple files.

Step 1: Apply a Theme

Click Design > Themes to preview and pick an overall visual theme for the document. Themes dictate fonts, colors, and effects like a template. Any text set to use theme formatting will update.

Step 2: Use Styles

Highlight text elements like titles, subtitles, quotes, etc and apply Styles to them from the Home tab. Styles are preset formats like Heading 1, Heading 2, etc.

Step 3: Update All Style Elements

To rapidly change any text with an applied Style, right-click the Style and update formatting. For example, right click Heading 1 to resize or recolor all text with Heading 1 applied.


Mastering these Microsoft Word tricks will take your documents to the next level. Track Changes enables seamless collaboration, Tables of Contents facilitate navigation through long files, and Styles and Themes provide consistent and professional formatting. Spend some time learning these features and your Word skills will impress.

Now you can produce polished Word documents faster and easier. For more tips, check out our advanced Microsoft Word techniques guide.