3 hidden features in Word 2011 for Mac

Microsoft Word 2011 for the Mac doesn’t really compare to Word 2013 on my Windows 8.1 PC.

And I get it.  I mean, if you were Microsoft would you really want to develop software for your nemesis?

But Word 2011 has been around for a while, and not to mention – in desperate need of an update, but if you use Word a lot I want to share three time saving tricks.

The beauty of these tricks is that they aren’t flamboyant.  These are small, little things that you can use that won’t change the world but it’ll make it using Word slightly more enjoyable.

Let me show you my top three hidden features for Word 2011.

1. Spike me

Have you ever gone to a dinner and noticed on a fat wad of receipts impaled with a vertical metal spike?

You know what I mean right?

I’m talking about the classic memo holder stick that undertipped waiters use to stack their bills.

Image credit Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr

Microsoft Word 2011 has something tantamount to the bill spike for your text.

The Spike is like his bigger brother, copy and paste, but the difference is that you can cut disconnected pieces of text to the clipboard and then paste it all at once to single place.

Every time you select section of text and press Command + F3 (or Command + fn + F3 on a Macbook), Word slaps it on the Spike.  Once you have all your words on the spike you can press Command + Shift + F3 to dump the spiked text into the document as a unit.

Word 2011 Spike

This has actually been with Word for a while but most people don’t know about it.  It’s probably one of the most hidden Word tricks I know.

It’s really hard to describe, just try it out in Word 2011 and you’ll instantly know what I’m talking about.

2. Quickly Select Sentences

You probably knew that double clicking text in Word selects only that word.  Triple clicking a word selects the entire paragraph. But did you know that holding the Command key while clicking text selects the sentence?

Yup, this is another one of those hidden features that doesn’t get much attention but it save you lots of time and frustration.

Command click to select a sentence in Word 2011

3. Instant Synonymns

Writers block be gone!

Sometimes finding a synonym is all it takes to galvanize fresh ideas and Word 2011 makes it really easy to do this.

Simply select the word you want and press Shift + F7 (Shift + F7 + fn on Macbooks) to get alternate meanings.

Reference tools in Word 2011

Now you never have an excuse for insipid prose..

The Bottom Line

I personally don’t like using Word 2011.  This is probably because I’m coming from a Word 2013 background and so I feel more conversant using it on my PC.  That being said, knowing that:

  • I have access to the Spike
  • Can easily select sentences and
  • Have synonyms at my finger tips

makes it a little less annoying to use.

I don’t know what it is but there’s something about Word 2011 that feels bloated.  It’s like a ponderous dinosaur roaming the digital landscape on my Mac.  Hopefully Word 2016 for Mac will change my disposition but until then Word 2011 will live on.


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Posted in Apple, Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite, Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks Tagged with: , , ,