The buzz today may be all about Office 2016 for Windows, which is due to be released this fall, but many business users are still getting acquainted with Office 2013 and will continue to use it for some time. Use this Word 2013 cheat sheet to help take advantage of all it has to offer.
Your copy of Word 2013 may have been purchased as standalone software or as part of an Office 365 subscription. For the purposes of this story, that doesn't matter; all tips herein apply to whatever version of Word 2013 you're using.
Note that this cheat sheet focuses on what's new in Word 2013, rather than what has stayed the same from previous versions. If you're looking for help getting up to speed on the basics, such as how to work with the Ribbon interface, check out our Word 2010 cheat sheet.
Get around Word 2013
The most obvious change in Word 2013 is its overall look. Even though Word is a traditional desktop app, Word 2013's style follows the basic guidelines that Microsoft has set for its so-called Windows apps (formerly called Metro or Modern apps) that debuted with Windows 8. The Ribbon is now flat instead of three-dimensional, as are all dialog boxes and screens.
Beyond the basic look, though, the Ribbon behaves as it did in Word 2010, with a couple of enhancements that we'll get to later.
A touch-friendly interface
If you're using a touch-based device, you can change Word's interface slightly to make it easier to use. On your touch-based device, click or tap the small icon of a hand with an upright index finger that's on the top left of the screen and you'll be able to choose between a mouse-based or touch-based interface.
The mouse-based interface is the default. In the touch-based interface, the icons on the Ribbon are enlarged and there is more space between them, making it easier to tap the one you want without accidentally tapping another.
The Start screen
Like Windows 8 and 8.1, Word 2013 shows a Start screen when you launch it. It's simple and straightforward to use. The left-hand side of the screen is given over to a list of the most recent documents you've worked on. Click any to open them. To open a different document, click "Open Other Documents" down at the bottom left of the screen.
The main part of the screen, on the right, is taken up by more than two dozen templates for creating new documents -- everything from simple, straightforward, single-spaced basic documents to flyers, party invitations, brochures and business cards. Click any and you'll come to a screen with a basic description of the template, along with its average user rating. Click Create to use the template.
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