Microsoft Word is a word processing application offered by Microsoft. It was designed to help users make professional-grade documents, such as reports, letters, and resumes. Those working with this software can create their own documents from scratch, as well as edit existing documents. Word is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, though it can also be purchased separately. Word is the most widely used word processing software around the world, with an estimated 1.2 billion people currently using the Microsoft 365 suite.

A Brief History of Word

Word 1.0 launched in 1983. At this time, Word was known as Multi-Tool Word and was intended to be used on UNIX operating systems. This original version of Word provided users with a “what you see is what you get” experience, also known as WYSIWYG (pronounced “whizzy-wig”), which means the document they saw on their screen would look the same as the printed version. This early version of Word had basic capabilities; users could make their own documents, save them, and print them. Despite these features, Word was not a huge success at first, likely because it was competing with word processing programs like WordStar and WordPerfect. 

In 1985, Word Version 2.0 came out, and along with it, new features were added, such as word count and spell-check. Then, in 1986, Word was re-coded to work on other operating systems, including Macintosh and DOS. In 1993, with the release of Word 6.0, this application could work on Windows systems as well. In the years since, a new version of Word has been released approximately every two years. Word 2019 was the latest release, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite.

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Benefits of Using Word

Microsoft Word is intuitive to use and easy to learn. This is why it’s the go-to word processing application for students at all levels of education, from elementary school to graduate school, as well as professionals in all fields. The following are some of the main perks to using Word:

  • When performing research, Word users don’t have to leave their documents to find sources. Instead, they can read articles in the task pane so that their writing is still at the forefront.
  • Microsoft Editor is a powerful Word tool that does much more than check grammar and spelling. The Editor Overview feature provides intelligent suggestions to improve clarity and usage. It can be used across different documents, as well as in email or on the web.
  • It’s possible to write equations in Word with the help of Equation. In addition, the Equation Toolbar is a useful tool that helps users create their own advanced chemistry, physics, or math equations. Word also comes with an array of common equations that can be inserted with one click of the mouse.
  • Word comes with a library of 3D images and icons that can be placed directly into documents to add a visual component.
  • Real-time translation is one of Word’s most helpful tools. It allows users who are collaborating across the globe to translate documents into other languages with just one click. Translator is also available in other Microsoft applications, such as PowerPoint, OneNote, and Excel.
  • For multi-taskers, Word can hold 24 different items in the clipboard at any time. 
  • One of Word’s lesser-known features is Hidden Text, which allows users to insert non-printing characters into any Word document. This is especially helpful in academic situations, such as when an instructor creates a quiz and wishes to keep the answers hidden, as well as in instances when it’s imperative to hide confidential information that should not be seen by others.
  • Word’s Document Inspector was implemented to improve document security. It can review any document for information that should be kept private. When documents are created or revised, it’s common for user information to be automatically added to the file. Document Inspector ensures these details are erased before a document is shared.
  • Learning Tools in Word can read back content so that mistakes can be caught easily. It can also be applied to alter column width for optimal viewing, as well as the color of pages so that they can be easily scanned.
  • For Word users looking to elevate presentations, documents, or reports, 3D models can be inserted directly into Word.
  • Word documents can be transformed into websites using Word, which helps the information reach a larger audience.
  • Resume Assistant, which is powered by LinkedIn, helps Word users create better resumes that can be customized based on job listings, then sent to job applications or recruiters on LinkedIn.
  • When working with touch-enabled devices, the latest version of Word allows users to use their mouse, digital pen, or even finger to take notes and annotate.
  • In addition to Word’s most well-known features, this app also offers an array of more advanced functions. It provides users with a shortcut for distraction-free reading (Alt, followed by W + F simultaneously), as well as the ability to transform tables into graphs.

Which Professions Use Word?

Microsoft Word is widely used by individuals for their professional and personal writing needs. Knowledge of this application is a must-have for just about any job that involves clear communication. Indeed.com currently lists over 400,000 jobs where Microsoft Word training is a must. Office jobs, such as Customer Service Representative, Freelance Writer, Transcriber, Account Coordinator, Data Entry Clerk, Administrative Assistant, and Bookkeeper all rely on Word proficiency to perform daily tasks. 

In addition, Word training is essential for more specialized professions, such as copy editing, advertising, technical writing, publishing, grant writing, research, journalism, marketing, and law. Savvy Word users have many professional options in nearly every field.

Start Learning Word with Hands-On Classes

For those who are looking to master Microsoft Word, Noble Desktop has you covered. Their onsite Microsoft Word classes are a great option for those in Manhattan who are new to using Word, as well as more seasoned Word users hoping to learn complicated features and functions. Their Microsoft Word Level 1 is a one-day course that covers core techniques and shortcuts, as well as practical Word skills, like how to send mass emails, create labels, and execute effective formatting.

In addition, there are also more than 50 in-person and live online Word courses available through Noble Desktop or one of its affiliate schools. A variety of course options are offered, ranging in duration from three hours to three days and costing between $119 and $999. For students looking to work with the entire Microsoft 365 suite, you can also browse approximately 400 in-person and live online Microsoft Office classes in a city near you to find local study options.