Microsoft Word is one of the most common programs used in business today. Research shows that nearly 600,000 companies in the U.S. use Office 365, and thus use Microsoft Word as their primary word processor.
While writing documents is the main function of Microsoft Word, it can serve your business in many other ways.
What is Microsoft Word?
Microsoft Word is part of the greater Microsoft Office suite that also includes PowerPoint and Excel. There are several different versions, including Home & Business, Home & Student, and Professional.
"Microsoft Word is the most popular and compatible word processor, available on all platforms," said Colin Palfrey, chief marketing officer at Majesty Coffee. "The files are forward and backwards compatible across all devices, offering a universal standard for writers."
What are the business uses for Microsoft Word?
Considering that Microsoft Word has so many functions and features, it's no wonder that people have started to utilize it more and more for their business operations.
"Writing official proposals and contracts is a big part of what I use MS Word for," said Palfrey. "I also draft emails in MS Word to make sure the formatting and grammar/syntax is correct."
The following are some of the specific ways you can incorporate Microsoft Word into your business processes.
1. Document sharing
Since Microsoft Word is compatible with any platform or device, documents you create in the word processor can be shared with anyone, even those who don't have a Microsoft Word subscription.
"For me, a great feature is being able to pull up the presentations I've made on a Mac and view them on any device, because all my devices are able to display the same file," Palfrey said.
2. Template options
Microsoft Word has thousands of templates, both built-in and downloadable, that give you an easy way to start on business documents like letters, reports and proposals. Here are some of the most popular MS Word templates for business purposes:
- Business letter
- Resumes and cover letters
- Business report
- Business proposals
- Brochures and flyers
- Retirement announcement
- Certificates (employee of the month, for example)
- Reference letter
- Marketing materials
- Employee reports
"MS Word has templates for creating everything from meeting minutes to product brochures," said Allan Borch, founder of Dotcom Dollar.
3. Contract creation
You can use Microsoft Word to create your own contract or contract templates. While the program doesn't have a downloadable template for business contracts, it is easy enough to find one with a style you like elsewhere, copy and paste it into a new document, and plug in your information. (Note that whatever route you take with your contracts, it's important to have them reviewed by an attorney.)
4. Team collaboration
With the sharing options, you can send documents to colleagues for them to work on. They can track their changes so it's easier to see what they've added or removed. Tracked changes also allow them to write notes and questions in the margins to be answered by anyone else working on the document.
5. Mail merge
This feature allows you to create a variety of documents that can be personalized for each person receiving it. This could be an email newsletter, a meeting invitation or general business correspondence.
In this case, some type of spreadsheet or list must be associated with the document so that Microsoft Word knows what names and addresses to pull into the placeholders.
What are some other uses for Microsoft Word?
Microsoft Word can be used not only for business but for fun and general convenience too. You can use this office software for a plethora of tasks other than writing a letter, typing up an essay or drafting a memo.
Microsoft Office includes calendar templates that are ready for you to customize. If you don't want to use one of the Microsoft calendars, you can create your own and customize it how you want in the software. By simply turning the layout of a document to landscape and inserting a table that is seven columns wide and five or six rows long, you can create a full-page monthly calendar to keep track of your schedule.
To create a smaller calendar, you can use the portrait orientation instead and include a header at the top of the page with the calendar portion at the bottom of the page. You can even insert images, watermarks or other illustrations to customize it before slapping it on your fridge.
2. Stationery or letterhead
With the vast selection of clip art that Microsoft Office includes, you can easily create personal stationery or professional letterheads. First, you choose a full frame or partial frame to insert on the page. From there, you customize it with your own images, watermarks and different fonts to beautify the page. Microsoft Word also includes stationery and letterhead templates you can use if you don't want to create your own.
Instead of paying for pricey postcards on your trip, you can wait until you get home and create them yourself with pictures from your own camera. Microsoft Word makes it easy to create postcards with a 4 x 6-inch setup. By clicking on the Page Layout tab and then changing the size of the document to the postcard size, you can begin to customize it. You can even print out the postcard on photo or card stock to make it more durable when you send it off in the mail.
Thanks to the multiple-column feature in Microsoft Word, you can easily create family or business newsletters. First, choose portrait or landscape orientation. You can then customize it any way you want. You can add columns and put a solid line between them for more distinct separation. Microsoft Office includes some ready-to-use newsletter templates you can work from if you don't want to take the time to create your own.
5. Flyers or invitations
Whether you need a flyer for a yard sale or work party or an invitation for your child's birthday party, you can easily create it in Microsoft Word. If you want to be creative, you can start from a blank document and create a flyer or invitation all from scratch. If you're not feeling up to it, you can choose from many ready-to-use flyer and invitation templates in Microsoft Office for quick creation.
Whether you're drafting emails, writing proposals or customizing one of the many templates available in Microsoft Word, there's no doubting the value of the word processor for business purposes.