Settings To Change When You Install Microsoft Word

Word 2013 is a very capable word processor, but some of the default settings aren't actually helpful. These are the options you should change as soon as you set it up on a new machine.

Our detailed instructions here relate to Word 2013, but similar options exist in earlier versions. After making changes, be sure to click on OK in the relevant dialog box.

Where Files Are Saved

How to change it: Click on File. Click on Options in the left-hand column to bring up Word Options. Click on Save to choose the Save tab. In the middle of the screen, you'll see "Default local file location". Click on "Browse" and change this to a directory that suits.

Why it's worth changing: If you use the Documents folder for everything, you can stick with the default, but it makes sense to change if (for example) you're using Dropbox to sync your files.

The File Format Used

How to change it: Click on File. Click on Options in the left-hand column to bring up Word Options. Click on Save to choose the Save tab. At the top of the screen, you'll see 'Save files in this format'. The default is the Word .docx format, but you can change to other options.

Why it's worth changing: Older versions of Word use the .doc format. While plug-ins are available to allow them to read .docx, they're not always installed. If you regularly share files with people using other versions of Word, then switching to .doc can make sense. For maximum compatibility, you could also switch to .rtf (Rich Text Format, which almost all word processors can read).

Switch Off The Backstage View

How to change it: Click on File. Click on Options in the left-hand column to bring up Word Options. Click on Save to choose the Save tab. In the middle of the screen, you'll see "Don't show the Backstage when opening or saving files". Make sure this isn't ticked.

Why it's worth changing: The Backstage view lets you switch between saving files locally or saving them to Microsoft's SkyDrive cloud service. If you always save files in the same location, then being forced to navigate past Backstage is a waste of time.

Enable The Developer Tab

How to change it: Click on File. Click on Options in the left-hand column to bring up Word Options. Click on Customize Ribbon to choose the Customize Ribbon tab. In the right-hand column, make sure 'Developer' is ticked.

Why it's worth changing: If you want to take advantage of Word's advanced macro and programming features, you'll want access to the Developer tab.


Are there any other Word settings you routinely alter? Share them in the comments.


Comments

    Drives me bananas since it's an overly complicated process but changing the default language across the board to Australian English is my first priority. Though I haven't installed Office for a few years now so maybe Microsoft has made the process a little easier.

      If Windows is set to Australian English, then Office automatically picks that up.

      A problem arises when OEMs or sysadmins use system images with US English settings, but if you adjust the keyboard language prior to install then Office will use that.

      Also beware document templates you have lying around that are set to US English.

    I always change the default font to a modern sans-serif like Calibri or Tahoma.

    Last edited 07/02/14 2:10 pm

    Since I have a wide screen, I keep my Windows 7 bar on the left [instead of the default at bottom]. Now I'll just balance that, by moving the Ribbon to the right of screen...
    What? STILL can't move the Ribbon?

    Back to Office 2003 for me, then.

    The AutoRecover frequency. I'm sure it made sense to reduce hard drive usage back when they were slow, but it's no longer an impact on performance, so there's not any reason not to set it to every 1 minute (unless you particularly enjoy losing work when something crashes).

    I have been trying to get Office 2013 to display clear text in documents and Outlook. Have tried all the forum tips to no avail.

    My Office 2013 text is shockingly blurry and unusable compared to the clear text in Office 2010 on the same PC.

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