Basic Microsoft Word Exercises


Microsoft Word is one of the most popular and common word-processing programs, and it's in no small way due to its inclusion with the Windows operating system. Windows is a very powerful operating system, but is not necessarily the most intuitive. To that end, there are a number of exercises that will help you perform the basic functions of Microsoft Word as though they are second nature. Links to full versions of all exercises are available under References and Resources.

Introduction to Word

  • The first thing savvy users of any program should do is familiarize themselves with the interface of the program itself. Look through the menus to find things like the "Save," "Print," "Cut," "Copy," "Paste" and "Help" functions. Hover over the buttons on the toolbar also to get a list of some of their names. While you are doing this, experiment a little with these and some random text--copy and paste this paragraph, for example.

Font and Size

  • The Font and Size tools are important for changing the way the text is interpreted. You will find both tools in the upper right corner of the toolbar. Both are drop-down menus. The Font tool probably has "Times New Roman" selected already, and the Size tool is likely at 12-point. Highlight some text and change these settings. Try 10-point Trebuchet MS or 16-point Webdings.


  • There are three icons in a row, a set of lines either against the left or right of the box or in the center. Highlight a paragraph and play with these three buttons. The left-justify button will make all of the text line up against the left margin of the page--like most text on the web. Centered text appears in the center of the page, and right-justified text lines up against the right margin of the page.

Bold, Italic, Underline

  • The capital B, I and U buttons on the toolbar are also often-used functions. All three are used to emphasize text in different ways, and you can see the effect by highlighting individual words, or short groups of words, and clicking those different buttons. Click once to turn on the text effect, and again to turn it off. You can even use two or three of the effects at the same time.

Cut, Copy, Paste

  • Highlight some text in Word, or in another program and right click, open the Edit menu, or press Ctrl and X or C to cut and copy the text respectively. The Cut function takes the text completely out and keeps it on the "clipboard," a block of memory set aside for that text, while the Copy function makes a duplicate. The Paste function (under the same menus, or Ctrl and V) takes the text that's on the clipboard and inserts it into the document you're working on. The clipboard only stores one piece of text at a time.

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