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computer and email

Dictation in Microsoft Word

If you are a hunt-and-peck typist and prefer to dictate (and you are using Word in Office 365), try speaking your text if you have a laptop or PC with the microphone activated. Open a document and place your cursor where you want to start dictating. Click Home on the top menu bar, and then the Dictate icon. The first time you do this, Word may ask for permission to use your microphone. Grant permission and start speaking.

You can dictate words, punctuation, and specific actions, such as “new line” and “new paragraph.” You can dictate just a few sentences or a single paragraph at a time. You’ll have to review your text for any mistakes along the way of course. To stop dictating, press the Dictate icon again.

Transcription in Microsoft Word

Similar to the dictation option above, Word also offers a Transcribe feature in which you can record your words and save them as an audio file (.wav, .mp4, .m4a, or .mp3) or upload an existing audio file to be transcribed (selecting the upload option opens a Windows browser to search your computer drives just as with opening any other kind of file). You can then import the transcribed words into your current document.

Click the down arrow on the Dictate button and select Transcribe. In the Transcribe sidebar, click Upload Audio. Select the file you wish to import. Click Add to Document and you can choose to add the text with various options to format how it appears. You can also save the recording as an audio file to send to someone else as an attachment.

Personalize your menus and shortcuts

If there are certain commands you use often but require a bit of clicking around the tabs and ribbon to find, then you can add them to your top menu or ribbon in the settings. Simply go to File>Options and click Customize Ribbon. Then add or remove features as desired. You can also change the order of items and even rename them.

In addition, users can customize the Quick Access Toolbar at the top of the document. The default options include shortcuts such as AutoSave, Save, Undo and Redo. Click the down arrow to the right of the Quick Access menu to add almost any command to your shortcuts.

“Quick Parts” in Outlook and Word

If you find you are frequently re-using the same text in emails and documents, the Quick Parts function can save you from typing it out again and again. In a new email, highlight the text you wish to save and re-use again. Then select Insert on the top menu, and click “Quick Parts” in the Text group. You can then “save selection to Quick Parts gallery” by assigning the text a name. There are also options you can choose for how the text will appear, and if you have several saved “Quick Parts” you can organize them into groups as well.

To use that text in a future email, just click Quick Parts again and select the name you chose, and the text will be pasted into your email where your cursor is. You can edit or delete saved Quick Parts text as needed.

Keep your most used Outlook folders at the top

Outlook folders offer a handy way to organize your inbox. But when folders appear alphabetically, you may need to scroll down to find the right one. To save time, add frequently used folders to the Favorites section at the top of the folder pane. Simply right-click the folder and click Add to Favorites. If you want to remove one, right-click and select Remove from Favorites

View your inbox and calendar at the same time

If you have two monitors and don’t want to have to switch back and forth between your inbox and your calendar, there’s a simple way to see both at the same time. Right-click over the calendar icon and select “Open in New Window.” Then simply drag the new calendar window to your other monitor.