If you treat Microsoft Word like a typewriter, you're not taking advantage of its time-saving features. Sure, it's easy to lose track of the seemingly endless Office abilities and just concentrate on the text. I know I do. But one simple example--AutoCorrect--can constantly save you a little time, making you a faster typist and helping you get more done.
Like T9 texting on mobile phones, AutoCorrect uses your shorthand to expand common words or phrases. Start by identifying things that you commonly enter in your industry, then add them to Word's preferences.
I'm always typing tech terms, so I save keyboard strokes by expanding "nb" to "netbook" or "dt" to "desktop." For this example, I'll show how to turn "PCW" into "PC World."
Within Word, click the Office button in the upper-left, and pick Word Options. Choose Proofing, and click AutoCorrect Options. In the AutoCorrect tab, enter your shorthand in the Replace box and the full term in the With box. So I typed pcw and PC World. Click Add.
Leave the other settings as you found them, and add more terms that you typically type. Click OK. Now, when I type pcw and hit the Spacebar, Word expands it into "PC World." Neat.
Zack Stern is building a new business from San Francisco, where he frequently contributes to PC World.