Software

6 ways to get free information about Word

Getting help for your Word users doesn't have to be an expensive venture when there's lots of help out there, for free.

Hiring someone to train your troops to use Word is a great idea, but there won't always be a trainer nearby . Fortunately, there are a number of ways users can get help, for free.  Chances are it might take a bit of research, but you can usually find the help you need, with a bit of perseverance.

[F1]

The first line of defense is [F1]. Press [F1], enter a few descriptive words, such as "change style," or "delete header." Word will display a list of help topics, based on your input. Sometimes this works great and sometimes the results are inconsistent. However, it's the best place to start, because sometimes the answer pops right up!

[F1] is available in all Office applications. You must install Help for these files to be available.

Microsoft Answers

Microsoft Answers is a free support site (forum). If you want to search available posts, enter a question in the Find Answer control. If you don't find what you need, click Ask A Question (at the bottom of the page). You have to sign in using your Windows Live ID. If you don't have one, there's a link for that too.

Microsoft Answers supports Office, not just Word.

TechRepublic's Microsoft Office Suite newsletter, delivered every Wednesday, is designed to help your users get the most from Word, Excel, and Access. Automatically sign up today!
Word MVPs

MVP 's are volunteers who share their expertise, worldwide and for free. Microsoft honors those who stand out with the MVP title. MVPs really know their stuff and there are two ways to benefit from their expertise and generosity. First, visit The Word MVP Site. There's a lot of information readily available. If you don't find an answer, click Contact, read the instructions and submit your question. There's no guarantee anyone will respond, but it can't hurt.  However, try to find the answer yourself first. You're probably not going to get a response to a question that's answered by an existing Help file. By all means, please be polite. These folks provide this service for free.

In addition, MVP Web Sites lists current MVP's with links to their sites. You can't submit questions, but you will find valuable information.

Microsoft Knowledge Base

A long-time favorite support site is Microsoft's Knowledge Base. This is a huge database of articles that offers how-to instructions, workarounds for bugs, and so on. The articles are a bit dry and sometimes, difficult to follow, but you'll usually find something you can use. There's even an article on how to use the Knowledge Base!

Microsoft Word Help and How-to

Word Help and How-to is another site supported by Microsoft. Use keywords to search the available files. You won't get personalized answers, but you might find just what you need.

Listservs

My favorite resource is a listserv; I'm a member of many. If you're not familiar with the term, a listserv is an email server (group). You send messages and other members respond, all via email. Yahoo! Groups is a good place to start, but there are private listservs as well. Search on "Microsoft Word" and see what's available.

It might take a while to find just the right group. In addition, they're a bit like potato chips. Joining one inevitably leads to joining more—you've been warned!

Where do you go for help with Word?

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

7 comments
ssharkins
ssharkins

Thanks to everyone for posting their favorite sites -- I hope more of you share your favorites!

Ron_007
Ron_007

I've been collecting these links for years now. I've verified that they all still work (deleted dead links). http://www.officeforlawyers.com/word.html - Office For Lawyers. Office app Info and tips specific to legal profession and other. Many links to other useful sites, including pinpoint labs (below). They have separate sub "tabs" for the office apps and a couple of non Office apps - http://www.pinpointlabs.com/new/utilities.html - some freeware, ie MetaData investigator and a couple more. Microsoft Office Metadata - What every attorney should know about the hidden information in their client?s documents. Includes a list of metadata items. This is the first time I've seen them listed! - Metadata Ethics Opinions Around the U.S. - Interesting reading, even for a non-laywer. Basically there many opinions on whether a receiving laywer may look for metadata and if he should notify the sending lawyer. The McEdit list: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/McEdit/ Microsoft's Word discussion groups: http://www.microsoft.com/office/community/en-us/FlyoutOverview.mspx#13 http://beqiraj.com/office/2000/add-in/ - page of links for Office 2000 addins, ie PLACES.EXE, to customize Place Bar http://homepage.swissonline.ch/cindymeister/ Do you have questions about how to use MSWord? Especially Mail Merge and Forms? http://listserv.liv.ac.uk/archives/word-pc.html To learn about the Word-PC list and view its archives http://listserv.liv.ac.uk/cgi-bin/wa Word-PC email list http://pubs.logicalexpressions.com/Pub0009/LPMIssue.asp?ISI=0 Doesn't appear to be active, but is an archive of articles - TechTrax a free, monthly Ezine (online magazine) published the beginning of each month. TechTrax is geared toward anyone who wants to learn more about using computers, with a highlight on Microsoft technologies /1200-10877-5734115.html?tag=nl.e056 Word Tips at Tech Republic http://www.addbalance.com/usersguide/index.htm Intermediate Users' Guide is based closely on the Legal Users' Guide and supplements it http://www.addbalance.com/word/index.htm - Word FAQ http://www.css.qmul.ac.uk/training/manuals/ Wide selection of courses, M$ and others. http://www.css.qmul.ac.uk/training/manuals/CourseFiles/ Some of the courses require files to work on found here http://www.editorium.com/ includes a newsletter and email list and archive of past tips: http://www.editorium.com/euindex.htm http://www.fontstuff.com/index.html MS Office / VBA free tutorial site http://www.freelists.org/cgi-bin/webpage?webpage_id=mso Signup homepage for ? Welcome to the Microsoft Office group at freelists. This is a free group for people who want to discuss problems or questions relating to all of the Microsoft Office programs http://www.jeanweber.com/news/index.htm#subs a great Archive of an old free newsletter for technical writers/editors http://www.jojo-zawawi.com/code-samples-pages/code-samples.htm The purpose of this listing is to show you various ways of coding the simple stuff that you can play with on your own and learn with http://www.mousetrax.com/Index2.html This site is dedicated to helping computer users fight the headaches of struggling to learn those new programs?to master those new technical ideas?and to figure it all out. http://www.mv.com/ipusers/standards/ Howard Kraikow http://www.NeatNetTricks.com to subscribe to another computer newsletter; there's also a discussion group http://www.officeletter.com/current.html http://www.shaunakelly.com/word/index.html http://www.standards.com/ ; Programming and support for Word macros, including converting from WordBasic to VBA; Technical reviewing; Standards; Product functional/design/specifications Howard Kaikow web site http://www.tek-tips.com/gthreadminder.cfm/lev2/4/lev3/31/pid/223 http://www.wopr.com/lounge - Windows Secrets Lounge http://www.wordsite.com/ Bill Coan's http://www.worldstart.com/php/news.php?238 ? Office newsletters www.microsoft.com/office/support/default.htm Product Support for Office Users http://techrepublic.com.com/5264-1-0.html?query=word%20anatomy Tech Republic search for Word articles, good series

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

I would like to add that this blog is also a good place to get some help with Word or any of the Office applications. When it comes to Office applications, where do you get your help?

ssharkins
ssharkins

Thank you for taking the time to list all of these -- it looks like a great list!

ssharkins
ssharkins

Thank you for taking the time to list all of these -- I thought WordPerfect was the processor of choice for law offices??? :)

Ron_007
Ron_007

Another of those resources is the Tips.Net set of sites. There a many sites under this umbrella, 4 are relevant: http://wordribbon.tips.net/ - Word 2007/2010 http://word.tips.net/ - Word 2003 and earlier http://excelribbon.tips.net/ - Excel 2007/2010 http://excel.tips.net/ - Excel 2003 and earlier You can search the 4 collections of tips, sign up for daily and weekly tips delivered to your inbox and join the listserve if you want immediate help. I've been a member for years. There is lots of good information collected here, and several very knowledgeable resources on the listserve.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

deja.com , a great resource for tutorials, tricks and tips, and ANY errors or issues you need to address.