Microsoft Word is one of the most common programs businesses use today. Research shows that more than 1 million companies worldwide use Office 365, according to Statista, which includes Microsoft Word.
While the main function of Microsoft Word is writing documents, the software offers other business uses. It can help your business boost productivity, collaborate with team members, and keep your personal information safe.
Word users can also access and edit their documents from anywhere. Before you get started, you should understand how Microsoft Word works and all the ways it can benefit your business.
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 Crediful. “The files are forward and backwards compatible across all devices, offering a universal standard for writers.”
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.
Since the word processor is compatible with any platform or device, documents you create in Microsoft Word can be shared with anyone, even those who don’t have a 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.
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:
“MS Word has templates for creating everything from meeting minutes to product brochures,” said Allan Borch, founder of Dotcom Dollar.
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, you can find one with a style you like elsewhere, copy and paste it into a new document, and plug in your information.
Whatever route you decide to take with your contracts, it’s important to have them reviewed by an attorney to ensure your interests are protected. You can hire an individual attorney or use a service like LegalZoom.
With the sharing options, you can send documents to colleagues for them to work on. They can track their changes so anyone can easily see what they’ve added or removed. Tracked changes also allow you to write notes and questions in the margins to be answered by anyone else working on the document.
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. [See related article: The Best Spreadsheet Software]
Microsoft Word also has branding tools that allow you to customize the appearance of your documents. Add your own logo, choose a different color scheme, and select other elements that are consistent with your brand.
You can also download the email signature template and create a custom email signature. You can even create a default email signature for everyone who works for your business.
Microsoft Word can be used not only for business, but also for fun and general convenience. 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 in the software. By 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 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 make it your own before slapping it on your fridge.
With Microsoft Office’s vast selection of clip art, you can easily create personal stationery or professional letterheads. First, choose a full frame or partial frame to insert on the page. From there, 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, wait until you get home and create them yourself with pictures from your own camera. Microsoft Word makes it easy to create 4 x 6 postcards.
If you click on the Page Layout tab and change 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 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 create your own.
Whether you need a flyer for a work party or an invitation for a birthday party, you can easily create it in Microsoft Word. If you want to be creative, start from a blank document and create a flyer or invitation from scratch. If you’re not feeling up to that, choose from Microsoft Office’s many ready-to-use flyer and invitation templates instead
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.
Jamie Johnson contributed to this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.