Being able to quickly summarize long articles or documents can save you a lot of time. Rather than having to read an entire 10-page report to get the key points, imagine if you could automatically generate a concise 1-page summary with just the most vital information.
In this tutorial, you’ll learn several methods for summarizing articles and documents in Microsoft Word.
What is Article Summarization?
Article summarization refers to taking a long piece of content (like a research paper, news article, or report) and distilling it down to its main points. The goal is to create a much shorter version that provides the key takeaways without needing to read the full document.
Benefits of summarization include:
- Save time by avoiding reading long documents when you just need the key info
- Quickly understand the main points of a complex report
- Easily refresh your memory of a document you previously read
- Focus only on the most important content
Using AutoSummarize (Word 2007 and Earlier)
In Word 2007 and earlier versions, there was an AutoSummarize feature that could automatically generate summaries of documents.
To use AutoSummarize:
- Open the document you wish to summarize in Word
- Select the Tools > AutoSummarize menu option
- Choose the percentage of the document you want included:
- 20% for a very brief summary
- 40% for a moderately detailed summary
- 80% for a more comprehensive summary
- The summary will appear in a new document pane below the original
You can then copy and paste the generated summary text to use however you need.
Keep in mind:
- AutoSummarize was removed in Word 2010 and later versions
- It does not always create perfect summaries, so review and edit as needed
Alternatives for Newer Versions of Word
Since the AutoSummarize feature is not available in newer versions of Word, here are some alternative options for summarizing documents:
Use the Microsoft Editor Text Generation Tool
For those with a Microsoft 365 subscription, the online Microsoft Editor includes an AI-powered Text Generation tool that can summarize documents for you.
To use it:
- At Office.com, go to Microsoft Editor
- Upload or copy/paste your document text
- Choose Rewrite text from the menu
- Pick the Summarize option
- Adjust the length slider as needed
- Copy the generated summary text
This creates a concise summary you can then use as a starting point.
Leverage Third-Party AI Summarization Services
Services like UPDF provide advanced AI summarization perfect for longer Word documents:
- Upload your .doc/.docx file
- Choose summarization length (e.g. 10%, 25%)
- Download the summarized Word doc
- Review and edit the summary as needed
The AI models create impressively accurate summaries while preserving key details.
Manually Highlight and Extract Key Points
If you don’t have advanced AI services available, manually reviewing the document and copying the main points into a new summary document is another option.
- Carefully read through the full document
- Highlight or bold key sentences and paragraphs
- Copy these excerpts into a new document
- Arrange them into a coherent order
While manual summarization takes more effort, it allows you to customize the summary to your specific needs.
Customizing Your Summaries
When generating automated summaries, you have options to customize the output:
- Adjust length – Make summaries longer/shorter as needed
- Multiple versions – Create different length summaries for different uses
- Highlight key points – Use bold/highlighting to emphasize vital info
- Separate document – Put summarized text into a new document
- Reorganize order – Arrange key points in a logical flow
Take the initial computer-generated summary and refine it to best suit your particular document and needs.
Summarizing long articles or documents can greatly improve productivity. Rather than reading an entire report, presentation, or research paper, quality summaries let you quickly distill the content down to only the most vital information.
In this tutorial, you learned how to:
- Leverage AutoSummarize in older Word versions to automatically generate summaries
- Use Microsoft Editor’s Text Generation for basic summarization
- Employ 3rd party AI services for advanced summarization
- Manually create summaries by extracting key details
- Customize summaries to be the right length and structure
With practice, you can easily summarize most documents in Word down to their essence. This allows focusing your limited time on the ideas and details that matter most.
Now you have the tools to stop getting bogged down in long content and instead utilize summarization to unlock the key value!