Microsoft Word 2013: 10 best features

Word 2013

Image Credits: Sandy Berger – If you are a veteran Word user, you will find that Word 2013 has an entirely new look and feel. Microsoft has updated the program to give it that cleaner look that is so popular today. For me, that meant an immediate trip into the Options menu to change the white-on-white look to something easier on my eyes.

Word 2013Choosing the dark gray office theme gave me a screen display more to my liking. These screen shots demonstrate what a difference this makes, especially if you spend a lot of time with Word.

The new Backstage

Another big change for Office is a new Backstage view that comes up automatically when you open Word. This new view is so different that Microsoft offers a video explaining exactly what it is. The Backstage view replaces the menu that you saw in previous versions of Word when you clicked on the File menu or Office button. This offers a place where you can work with your files. With Backstage you can manage your files and the data about them – creating, saving, viewing properties, inspecting for hidden metadata and more. Although some may find it useful, I almost immediately went back to the Options where you can turn off the Backstage view.

Word 2013 save optionsNew and updated features

When you start using Word 2013, you’ll see that many of the functions on the ribbon have been revamped and/or moved. This is all for the better since everything is more logically placed and more useful as a result. There are also additional features that make this version worthwhile. Here are a few of them:

  1. The Word 2013 Design tab consolidates all the styling tools in one place.
  2. Lining up images and objects is much easier with the new alignment guides.
  3. A new Read mode resizes a document to the full window and lets you flip through pages.
  4. Collaboration is easier as comments are grouped into discussions.
  5. A real winning feature is the ability to not only open a PDF, but to also edit it right in Word without additional programs or add-ons.
  6. Formatting a Word table has always been time-consuming. But Word 2013’s new Border Painter tool makes changing the formatting much easier. Other new tools also make working with tables easier.
  7. New layout options make features such as wrapping text around an illustration a simple task. You can even right-click and crop the image without using the menu system.
  8. A new object zoom lets you double-tap or double-click to enlarge objects.
  9. You can now insert online videos and watch right in the Word documents.
  10. You can collapse or expand parts of a document – great for working on long documents.

Of course, Word 2013, like other Office 2013 products, is also more closely integrated with Microsoft’s SkyDrive for working in the cloud.

If you are a heavy Word user, the integration and ability to work within Word will be a valuable upgrade. Casual users may not find it a necessary upgrade, but it does have a lot to offer.

Featured image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Sandy Berger
Sandy Burger, based in Pinehurst, N.C., is a veteran tech journalist and regular contributor to Tech Page One. As senior editor at, Sandy covers tech tips and tricks, apps and gadgets in general. Email her at [email protected]
Sandy Berger
Sandy Berger
Tags: Software,Technology