How to Use Microsoft Word for Mac

By Catherine Johnson

Microsoft Word is the standard word processing application for computers running the Windows operating system. Word is not a central program on the Mac, which comes equipped with Text Edit and offers its own version of a word processing program through iWork. However, Microsoft Word offers an elegant user interface in their Mac version. Combined with the natural style and intuitive layout of the Mac OS X, Word is an easy to use and versatile application. Here is how you can start to use Microsoft Word for Mac.

Step 1

Open Microsoft Word by double-clicking on the icon. A new document will automatically be created for you, entitled "Document 1."

Step 2

Determine the layout and size of your document. Go to "File" in the top navigational menu. Select "Page setup... ." The standard paper size is US letter (8.5 inches wide and 11 inches high). The new document that Word created for you is automatically this size. If you would like to change your document size, go to the "Paper Size" section and choose your preferred size from the drop-down menu. Your new document is also in Portrait mode, which means the height is longer than the width. To change this, go to the "Orientation" section and select the icon that shows the width being longer than the height. This will convert your document to Landscape mode.

Step 3

Setup your workspace. Go to the icon menu bar at the top of your document. Select "Toolbox." A formatting palette should open to the right of your document. This contains the most commonly used tool options, such as font styles and sizes, alignment and spacing, borders, bullets, margins, as well as reference tools such as a thesaurus or dictionary. If you want to zoom in and out of your document, go back to the icon menu bar and select your desired percentage from the "Zoom" drop-down menu to make the document easily readable for your eyes.

Step 4

Decide what you would like to use your new document for. Microsoft Word is a highly versatile and flexible program; you can use it to write simple letters and correspondence or use it as a note-taking application. You can also use it to write reports, a blog post or a newsletter. Word's graphic tools allow you to make larger creative projects such as fliers, posters or banners.

Step 5

Get started with project templates. To help you first figure out Word's complete tools and options, start with one of the many templates that is included with Word. Go to "File" and select "Project Gallery... ." Browse through the templates offered for both home and business users. Select the template you like and click "Open." When your new document opens, experiment with different colors, fonts and layouts to get comfortable with Microsoft Word's options.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can find many other useful templates for Microsoft Word online at Mactopia.