How to use Microsoft Word (with pictures)

Table of contents:

How to use Microsoft Word (with pictures)
How to use Microsoft Word (with pictures)

This wikiHow teaches you how to create, navigate, and format a Microsoft Word document.


Part 1 of 3: Create a Basic Document

Use Microsoft Word Step 1
Use Microsoft Word Step 1

Step 1. Open the Microsoft Word application

Do this by double-clicking the Microsoft Word icon.

Use Microsoft Word Step 2
Use Microsoft Word Step 2

Step 2. Review the available templates

On the right side of the screen, you will see several templates that may interest you:

  • Blank document. A blank document with a default format.
  • Creative resume or cover letter. A clean resume with a predetermined format (and corresponding cover letter).
  • Student report with cover photo. A document format aimed at an academic audience.
  • Fax cover. A document to write the foreword to a fax report.
  • You can also search for specific templates online from within Word using the search bar at the top of this screen.
Use Microsoft Word Step 3
Use Microsoft Word Step 3

Step 3. Choose a template

This action will cause the template to open in Word with whatever default formatting is applied to it. Now that the document is open, you can review the options on the toolbar.

If in doubt, open a blank document

Part 2 of 3: Explore the Microsoft Word Toolbar

Use Microsoft Word Step 4
Use Microsoft Word Step 4

Step 1. Click the File tab

It's at the top left of the screen (or in the menu bar for Mac users). From here, you will have several useful options on the far left of the screen. For instance:

  • Information (PC only). Click here to review the document statistics (such as the last time it was modified), as well as any potential problems with the document.
  • New. Click here to open the "New Document" page, which contains all templates with default formats. To open a new document you will have to save the current one.
  • To open. Click here to review a list of recently opened documents. You can also select a directory (for example, "This PC") that you want to search.
  • Keep. Click here to save the document. If this is your first time saving a particular document, you will be prompted to enter a name, a storage location, and your preferred file format.
  • Save as. Click here to save the document "as" something (for example, a different name or file format).
  • To print. Click here to open the printer settings.
  • Share. Click here to see the sharing options for this document, including email and cloud storage options.
  • To export. Click here to quickly create a PDF or to change the file type.
Use Microsoft Word Step 5
Use Microsoft Word Step 5

Step 2. Click the ← button in the upper left corner of the screen

If you're using a Mac, you won't have this option, so just click on the document to exit the "File" menu.

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Use Microsoft Word Step 6

Step 3. Check the Home tab for formatting options

At the top of the screen (from left to right) are the following five subsections of this tab:

  • Clipboard. When you copy a text, it is saved to the clipboard. You can view the copied text by clicking on the Clipboard option.
  • Source. From this section, you can change the font style, color, formatting (for example, bold or italic), and highlighting.
  • Paragraph. You can change aspects of paragraph formatting (such as line spacing, indentation, and bullets) from this section.
  • Styles. This section covers the different types of text for various situations (for example, headings, titles, and subtitles). You'll also see the popular "No Paragraph Spacing" option, which eliminates excess space between lines of text.
  • Edit. Here you will find a couple of commonly used tools (like "Find and Replace", which allows you to quickly replace all occurrences of one word with another).
Use Microsoft Word Step 7
Use Microsoft Word Step 7

Step 4. Click the Insert tab to review the types of media files that you can place in the document

Insert is to the right of the Home tab. The Insert tab allows you to add things like graphics and page numbers to the document. From left to right, this tab includes the following important options:

  • Table. Clicking on this option will allow you to create an Excel-like table in the document.
  • Images. Use this function to insert an image to the document.
  • Header, footer, and page numbers. These options are essential for writing using the Modern Language Association (MLA) or American Psychological Association (APA) style format. The header places a space at the top of the document for comments, while the footer goes to the bottom. Page numbers can be customized.
  • Equation or symbol. These options use a special format to accurately display simple equations. You can select these equations or symbols from the relevant drop-down menu.
Use Microsoft Word Step 8
Use Microsoft Word Step 8

Step 5. Click the Design tab to create your own template

It's to the right of the Insert table.

The Layout table contains predesigned themes and layouts that appear across the top of the page

Use Microsoft Word Step 9
Use Microsoft Word Step 9

Step 6. Click the Page Layout tab to customize the page layout

This tab contains options to change the following aspects of the document:

  • margins
  • page orientation (portrait or landscape)
  • page size
  • number of columns (by default, a document has one column)
  • page break location
  • Bleeding
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Use Microsoft Word Step 10

Step 7. Click References to manage appointments

If you have a bibliography page, you can also manage it from here.

  • If you want to quickly get a bibliography format, click the Bibliography drop-down menu and select a template.
  • In the "Citations and Bibliography" option group, you can change the bibliography format from APA to MLA (or other styles of citations).
  • The "Legends" group has an option to insert a table of figures. This function is useful for scientific research papers or similar documents where statistical data has higher priority than citations.
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Use Microsoft Word Step 11

Step 8. Click the Mail tab to review the document's sharing options

You can check email settings and share documents from this section.

  • You can also print an envelope or label a template by clicking on the appropriate option in the upper left corner of the screen.
  • The Select Recipients drop-down menu allows you to select contacts from Outlook, as well as an existing contact list in Word.
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Use Microsoft Word Step 12

Step 9. Click the Review tab

The Review section is geared toward editing, so it includes options for marking and correcting documents. The following are some of the important options:

  • Spelling and grammar. Click this option (left corner) to underline any spelling or grammar mistakes.
  • Section "Changes". It's at the far right of the toolbar. From here, you can activate the "Track Changes" feature, which automatically formats any additions or deletions you make to a document. Changes will appear in red print.
Use Microsoft Word Step 13
Use Microsoft Word Step 13

Step 10. Determine the set of options that best suit your job

For example, if you are a student, you will probably use the Insert and References tabs often. Now that you are familiar with the toolbar options, you can format your first Word document.

Part 3 of 3: Format a Job

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Use Microsoft Word Step 14

Step 1. Open a new blank document in Word

If you have an existing document, you can open it.

Use Microsoft Word Step 15
Use Microsoft Word Step 15

Step 2. Write the text

Do this by clicking on the blank section of the document and typing.

If you've opened an existing document, be sure to save your work before reformatting

Use Microsoft Word Step 16
Use Microsoft Word Step 16

Step 3. Highlight a section of the text

To do this, click and drag the cursor across the job, then release it when you've highlighted the section you want to edit.

Use Microsoft Word Step 17
Use Microsoft Word Step 17

Step 4. Think about what you want to do at work

Some potential options include the following:

  • Quickly format work. Do this by right-clicking (or clicking with two fingers) on the highlighted text and selecting an option from the menu that appears when you right-click.
  • Change the font of your selection. You can do this by clicking the drop-down bar at the top of the "Font" section (Home tab) and then selecting a new font.
  • Bold or italicize, or underline the highlighted section. To do this, click on B, I, or U in the "Source" section of the Home tab.
  • Change the line spacing of the document. You can easily perform this action by right clicking on the text you have selected, clicking Paragraph and modifying the value of "Leading" in the lower right corner of this window.
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Use Microsoft Word Step 18

Step 5. Keep working with Word

The options required for documents will vary depending on your intention to create them, so the more you work with your own format, the more expert you will become.


  • If the word is underlined in red it means that it is misspelled, if it is underlined in green it has a grammatical error and if it is underlined in blue you should check the format.
  • If you right-click (or click with two fingers) on an underlined word, you'll see a replacement suggestion at the top of the menu that appears.
  • You can quickly save the document by holding down Control (or Command on a Mac) and pressing S.


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