Word 2016 cheat sheet

Are you getting the most from Microsoft Word 2016 for Windows? Get to know the key features.

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Use Smart Lookup for quick online research

Several new features help you do research or fact-checking when working on a document. The more useful for most people is Smart Lookup. Right-click a word, or highlight a group of words and right-click them, and from the menu that appears select Smart Lookup. Word then uses Microsoft’s Bing search engine to do a search on the word or phrase and displays the results in the Smart Lookup pane that appears on the right side of the screen. Microsoft says that Smart Lookup uses the context around the words, not only the words themselves, to give you more relevant results.

The Smart Lookup pane is divided into two tabs at the top — Explore and Define. By default, when you use Smart Lookup, it shows the Explore tab, which includes a Bing image search, a web search and an Explore Wikipedia search. (For some odd reason, in some searches the web search is at the top of the page, in other searches the Wikipedia section is, and at other times the Bing Image search is.)

Microsoft Word 2016 - Smart Lookup Preston Gralla / IDG

The results of a Smart Lookup for gravity waves. (Click image to enlarge it.)

Click any result to go to the web page that is the source of the results. When you click an image in Bing image search, you’re not sent to the individual image, but instead to a page full of the results of the Bing image search. However, the image that you click will be the first image on the page.

In the web search, the first result is often a Wikipedia entry, followed by a variety of other results. For example, when I did a search on “coal mining,” the Wikipedia entry was first, followed by information from the World Coal Association. Similarly, when I searched for “gravity waves” the first two results were from Wikipedia, one for “Gravitational wave” and other for “gravity waves.” In instances like this in which there’s more than one Wikipedia entry, Wikipedia gets its own section in the Smart Lookup pane, followed by web search. Each of the sections in the Explore tab has a More link underneath the results. Click it to see additional results.

If you’re not pleased with the results of a search, I suggest doing the search again, because you might get different results. I did the coal mining search twice; once it returned one result from Wikipedia, and another time it turned multiple results (one for coal mining and another for “History of coal mining.”).

As for the Define tab, the result is simple and straightforward: a definition of the word or term from the Oxford Dictionaries from Oxford University Press. Don’t bother clicking the definition; it doesn’t link out to the web.

Use Researcher for in-depth research

Academics, students and those wanting to do in-depth research will welcome the new Researcher tool. Unlike Smart Lookup, Researcher doesn’t feed you information straight from the web via Bing. Instead, Researcher taps into reference materials and sources it considers trustworthy, compiled by a service called Microsoft Academic Search, so you’re getting a search that should be more reliable and in-depth than Smart Lookup. It also includes results from Wikipedia and Bing that it considers trustworthy.

To use it, select References > Researcher in the Ribbon. The Researcher pane appears on the right side of the screen. Type your search term into the text box at the top of the screen, and you’ll see a list of results that are far more finely honed than you get when using Smart Lookup. For example, when I searched for “gravity waves,” I was given a variety of results including gravitational wave, gravity wave, speed of gravity, interferometric gravitational wave detector, Rossby-gravity waves and many others.

Microsoft Word 2016 - Researcher Preston Gralla / IDG

Researcher offers more granular, in-depth information than Smart Lookup. (Click image to enlarge it.)

Click any result and you’ll come to a page full of results from multiple sources. Clicking “Gravitational-wave astronomy,” for example, leads to results from 33 sources as diverse as the Physical Review Letters journal, a book from Cambridge University Press, an article from The New York Times, information from Wikipedia and many others. Click any source and the information will be delivered directly on the Researcher pane, although you may find some instances in which the links are outdated and dead. Also in some instances, only part of the information from the source will be on the pane. To get to the rest of it, click a link.

Researcher can integrate much of its information directly into Word. So, for example, if you want to turn a category of results into a heading in your paper (in my example, I chose Rossby-gravity waves), click “Add heading” in the results, and the heading gets added into your current Word document. In addition, a comment is added to the document that includes a link that when clicked will display the original research in the Researcher pane for anyone with Word 2016 for Windows who reads the document.

You can also add a citation directly from the Researcher pane into your document. Click the + sign near the information, and Researcher adds the citation at the current location of your cursor. You can edit the citation in your document by clicking the small arrow to its right. You can also add text from the Researcher pane, or add text and include a citation. To do it, select the text you want to add, and from the menu that appears, select either Add or Add and Cite.

Finally, at right top of the Researcher pane you’ll find a My Research tab. Click it, and it displays all of the topics that you’ve clicked on so you can easily return to them.

Add new types of charts

With Word 2016 (as well as Excel 2016 and PowerPoint 2016), you get six new types of charts you can add to documents: Treemap, Sunburst, Waterfall, Histogram, Pareto, and Box & Whisker. Each provides a unique way to display data visually. See our Excel 2016 cheat sheet for details about the new chart types, including what each one looks like and what type of data it’s best suited for.

To insert any of the new chart types (or any other chart) in a document, select Insert > Chart and then choose the type of chart to insert. When you do that, the chart appears in your document with placeholder data, and a pop-up window appears that looks like a mini Excel spreadsheet. Enter or edit the data, or else click the Edit in Excel button to open it up in Excel and edit it there.

Microsoft Word 2016 - insert chart Preston Gralla / IDG

When you insert a chart, a window where you can edit the data pops up. (Click image to enlarge it.)

Note that the Pareto chart does not show up when you select Insert > Chart. To insert one, you’ll have to first create the data you want to chart by inserting a table (Insert > Table) and then entering the data in the table. After that, select Insert > Chart, select Histogram, and at the top of the screen that appears, select the option to the right, Pareto.

Handy keyboard shortcuts

Using keyboard shortcuts is one of the best ways to accomplish tasks quickly in Word 2016. You can even use them to navigate the Ribbon. For instance, Alt-H takes you to the Home tab, and Alt-G takes you to the Design tab. (For help finding specific commands on the Ribbon, see our Word 2016 Ribbon quick reference.) 

Microsoft Word 2016 - Ribbon shortcuts Preston Gralla / IDG

Using the Alt key helps you master the Ribbon shortcuts. (Click image to enlarge it.)

But there are many other keyboard shortcuts to help you accomplish a vast array of tasks in Word 2016. We've listed the ones we've found the most useful below. For even more shortcuts, see Microsoft's Office site.

Useful Word 2016 keyboard shortcuts

Don't forget to download our Word 2016 Ribbon quick reference!

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