Microsoft Word Tips

Assistive Tools to use with Microsoft Word

  • WordTalk

The screenshot below shows a free Add-In which will read text in a Word document. It uses dual highlighting to support visual tracking. To support the writer with selecting the correct word, the speech engine will also read out individual words listed in the spellchecker. WordTalk, WordTalk StartUp and the instructions can be downloaded from http://www.wordtalk.org.uk/ .
These video tutorials demonstrate how to install WordTalk and how to use the Add-In.
Please Note: These videos do not contain any audio.
wordtalk_install.wmv (3.3 Mb) wordtalk use.wmv (1.4 Mb)

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Paul Hamilton has produced a SlideShare presentation on WordTalk.



  • Wordweb

Word Web is a free dictionary and thesaurus with British spelling. http://wordweb.info/free/
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Assistive Features in Microsoft Word

  • Word Wizardry


This document lists a number of useful tips on how to better utilize many hidden features in MS Word for reading, writing and research purposes.
  • Split Window


There are many instances when a student needs to continually view a particular body of text to complete a task. Eg. a table at the top or bottom of a page containing the answers to a cloze activity.
Scrolling up and down the page takes this information out of view on the computer screen. This can put great demands on working memory (the amount of information the student is able to hold in their short term working memory). To minimize cognitive demands, the body of text needs to remain in permanent view. This can be achieved by Splitting the Window.
  • AutoSummarize


AutoSummarize identifies the key points in a document. AutoSummarize works best on well structured documents such as reports, articles and scientific papers.

  • Voice Comments


The use of sound files can be a valuable support for students who have difficulty with reading text or with entering written text. Sound Objects can be recorded and embedded in to Word documents. Sound files of the textual information or the questions can be created by the teacher. Students could create recordings as a response to the task.

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Adding audio comments when reviewing a document.
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Assistive Templates in Microsoft Word

  • My Learning Toolkit

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Assist-I.T. has developed the My Learning Toolbar to support struggling learners. The toolbar integrates with Word and provides a range of frequently used Microsoft Word tools all in one toolbar, for example, frequent homophones (confusables), increasing text size and space, colour background and the 'research' tool for accessing synonyms and encyclopedias on line. The toolbar also has quick links to brainstorming tools and Windows Sound Recorder to enable instant embedding of voice comments. This free MS Word template can found in the Downloads section of their web site.
  • Wordbars

The screenshot below shows a set of various writing frames set in to the menu bar of MS Word. Students click on the text selection to send it in to the Word document. Besides writing frames, teachers could create vocabulary banks for specific subject topics to add to the menu bar. A tutorial can be found below.

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The various Word documents below contain phrases and vocabulary required for each genre.






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