How and where to find help in Microsoft Word

How and where to find help in Microsoft Word


Jason Morrell

When you're first starting out or you're trying new things out, it's good to have someone with you who can guide you. Of course you can consult Dr Google and Professor Youtube 24 hours a day.

But there is also an extensive knowledgebase built right into Word.

1.  Tell me what you want to do

If you want to find a particular tool or feature,

1.  Single-left-click in the TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT TO DO box towards the top of the screen.

2.  Type in what you need help with, e.g. 'margins', 'numbering', 'tables' etc.

3.  Single-left-click on the result that best matches what you are looking for. You will be taken straight to the appropriate help page

2. Custom Word help

  • Single-left-click the Help tab, at the top of the screen, then single-left-click the Help icon.
  • Or press F1.

The Help sidebar is displayed.

  • Click a suggested search topic such as Write & Edit, Format text etc., or
  • Type in what you need help with, then press Enter on the keyboard.

If you choose a suggested search topic, you will see a number of sub-topics.

If you choose one of the sub-topics, you may see further sub-topics, or you may be deep enough to see the step-by-step instructions that you need.

If you ignore the suggested search topics and type in your own, you will be given a list of relevant topics. For example, if you type Find and Replace, the following help topics are displayed in order of relevance:

  • Find and replace text
  • Video: Find and replace text
  • Design and edit in Word
  • Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Word on Windows
  • Delete a footnote, endnote or separator
  • Plus, more.

As you can see, as you get further down the list the results get less relevant.

As for suggested searches you can single-left-click on any link to get step-by-step instructions.

3. Cortana

Cortana is your personal assistant.

You can type in a help request or say, 'Hey Cortana' and if she is listening, she will spring to life and you can verbally ask for what you need help with.

To access Cortana to type in a help request. on the taskbar, single-left-click

Based on your local calendar, your region and the time of year, Cortana may suggest a couple of fun searches, which you can use or ignore!

If you single-left-click in the 'TYPE HERE TO SEARCH' box at the bottom of the window, you can type in anything you wish to search for, e.g. 'Printer', 'Email', 'Word' or 'Music'.

Press Enter on the keyboard.

If there is an app or utility that matches your search it will be listed.

Otherwise, you will see a list of web results with a magnifying symbol next to them. When you click one of these results, Edge (Microsoft's web browser) will open and from there it's like a regular web search.

To use Cortana's speech recognition feature so you can say rather than type your search request:

1.  Single-left-click the Microphone icon on the bottom-right corner of the Cortana window. Or say, "Hey Cortana".

2.  If this is the first time you have used Cortana, she will speak to you and ask you to try saying something.

3.  If you have previously used Cortana, she will be listening.

4.  Verbalise your request. Your voice will be converted into text and Cortana will direct your request to the best place.

4. Summary of the key points

  • For help on where to find a feature or tool within a program, use the TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT TO DO search box at the top of the screen.
  • For help on anything, press F1 or single-left-click the Help tab at the top of the screen, then press the Help icon. Click one of the suggested topics or type in your own (and press Enter), then click each sub-topic presented to you until you reach the topic you needed help with.
  • For voice-activated help use Cortana. To use Cortana, click the Cortana icon on the taskbar, or in the Apps list on the Start Menu. Once there, either type in your search topic or click the microphone and speak your search topic

5. What Next?

Please feel free to post any questions you have into the comments below. And before you leave this page, I want to give you one quick little action item! 

ACTION ITEM: Comment below with ONE thing you picked up from this post and share how it has helped, or will help, you. It's good to share your successes because it encourages others and provides an instant boost.

Enjoy the rest of your day!

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About Jason Morrell

About the author

Jason Morrell

Jason loves to simplify the hard stuff, cut the fluff and share what actually works. Things that make a difference. Things that slash hours from your daily work tasks. He runs a software training business in Queensland, Australia, lives on the Gold Coast with his wife and 4 kids and often talks about himself in the third person!


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