Insert A 3D Model In Word

You can now insert 3D models into Microsoft Word 2016. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, you can also rotate them to see them from different angles.

The following object formats are supported:

  • .fbx
  • .obj
  • .3mf
  • .ply
  • .stl
  • .glb

In the past you needed a 3D modelling application to render objects but now you can do it (in a limited way) in Word.

Inserting A 3D Object Into Word

On the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group, click 3D Models > From a File.

Insert A 3D Model

Navigate to where your 3D object is, select it and click Insert. Once inserted and still selected, you will see some handles with which to manipulate the object.

3D Handles

These handles look like the usual ones that allow you to resize and rotate an object. However, if you hover your mouse roughly over the centre of the object, you should see the cursor change shape to indicate that you can rotate the model in 3D space. Like this:

Rotate 3D Model

Once you have rotated the model, the 3D rotate handle will appear in the centre of the object and using this will make it easier to rotate the object.

While the object is selected, you will see the 3D Model Tools contextual tab displayed in the ribbon.

3D Models Tab
Click To Enlarge

We’ll just cover the commands that you will probably use the most, and that aren’t related to general image manipulation.

  • Reset 3D Model – this command will return the object to its initial orientation.
  • 3D Model Views – this group provides some preset orientations for your model that show it from different angles. Use these commands if you don’t want to manually rotate the object yourself.

In addition to being able to insert 3D models into Word, you can also insert them into PowerPoint presentations. This is especially useful if you want to show your audience the object from different angles as part of your presentation.

Learning Tools In Word

Learning Tools in Word 2016 are intended to help you improve your reading skills by boosting your ability to pronounce words correctly, to read quickly and accurately, and to understand what you read.

Learning Tools are hidden on the View tab:

Learning Tools

Clicking on it opens up the Learning Tools tab, which offers a few commands you might not have seen before:

Learning Tools Tab

Note, first of all, the big red cross at the right of the tab, used for closing Learning Tools.

Each command is self explanatory, but we’ll explore each one briefly anyway:

  • Column Width – lines of text with a high number of words can be difficult to read, so reducing the column width with this command can help you focus on the word you are currently trying to read.
  • Page Colour – you can choose a page colour of none (no change), sepia (pale yellow page with a print feel) or inverse (white text on a black background). I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t detest reading white text on a black background, but knock yourself out if you are one of the few. If you are trying to improve your reading skills, why not stick needles in your eyes to make it even harder?
  • Text Spacing – increases the spacing between words, characters, and lines. This can help you to scan text more easily. The command works as a toggle so click the button again to return to the original spacing.
  • Syllables – breaks up the syllables in a word by placing a dot between each one.
  • Read Aloud – if you like to listen to a stilted, mechanical voice reading your document aloud, Read Aloud is the command for you. Naturally, the first task is to see whether Word 2016 will read swear words aloud. It does!

Read Aloud

To close down Learning Tools (you probably should never have opened them in the first place), click on the big red ‘X’.

If you were trying to improve your reading, you probably would not choose to do it in Microsoft Word. Similarly, I doubt that the urge to improve your reading skills would ever overcome you while you were frantically trying to digest a Word document for work.

Word Document Locked For Editing By Me

When Microsoft Word crashes while you are editing a document, it leaves behind temporary files which may give the impression that you are still editing the document. Then, next time you try to open the document, you will receive an error message saying that it’s already locked for editing by you.

It may help to give an overview of what happens during normal use of Word. When you start Word, Word creates a selection of hidden temporary files, in various locations on your hard drive. If you open a document more temporary files are created. Likewise when you edit a document. If all is working correctly, these files are deleted when they are no longer required (i.e. when Word is closed), but if Word crashes, they may be left behind.

However, there are steps you can follow to get around the problems that these temporary files cause when left behind. First of all, close all instances of Word. To make sure they are all closed, press CTRL+ALT+DELETE to open the Windows Security dialog box > Task Manager > Processes tab > select Winword.exe > End Process. Start Windows Explorer, and then navigate to the folder that contains the document file that you tried to open when you received the error message. Delete the owner file. The owner file is located in the same folder as the document that you tried to open. The owner file name is the same as the real file name, except that the first two characters are replaced by ‘~$’.  For example, the owner file for testing.docx is named ~$sting.docx. When the owner file is gone, start Word. If Word asks you whether you want to load the changes that were made to the Global or Normal template, click No. Open your document.

If all goes to plan, the above steps will have resolved your problem, and you will now be able to edit the document. If these steps, haven’t helped, you will need to go to Plan B.

Plan B involves finding those pesky temporary files that Word created but never got round to deleting, and deleting them yourself. You will need to be able to see hidden files and folders, and also file extensions. In Windows Explorer, go to the View Tab and in the Show/Hide group make sure that File name extensions and Hidden items are checked.

Hide File Extensions

Locating Word Temporary Files

We need to delete those troublesome temporary files, and there are several places we should look to find them:

Windows Temp Folder

If you don’t know the path to your Windows Temp folder (it changes with the version of Windows you are running), you can type %temp% into the address bar in Windows Explorer and press Enter.

Windows Temp Folder

It is safe to delete everything you find in this folder.

User Templates Folder

Press Windows + R and type in %appdata%\Microsoft\Templates and press Enter.

Microsoft Template

Document Template

If you were using a document template that was stored somewhere other than the User Templates folder when Word crashed, then you will need to remove the temporary file associated with the template in that folder.

Word Startup Folder

Press Windows + R and type in %appdata%\Microsoft\Word\Startup and press Enter.

American Spellings In Microsoft Word

American usage of the English language (US English) differs from British usage (UK English). In addition to differences in vocabulary, there are differences in the spellings of words. For example, Americans use the word color, whereas the British use colour. Similarly, visualize occurs in US English whereas visualise occurs in UK English.

Whilst you can process these differences subconsciously and not even notice them when reading a book, Microsoft Word will underline in red what it considers a spelling mistake.

Colour vs Color

This can quickly become annoying, and distracting. When trying to locate and correct errors in your document, Word will erroneously highlight correctly spelled words. Many people simply put up with the annoyance and try to ignore it. But you don’t have to.

You can tell Word that your proofing language is different.

Change The Proofing Language

If Word highlights the word colour as an error, and you are British, you should set your proofing language to be UK English. Do this by going to the Review tab and in the Language group click Language > Set Proofing Language.

Set Proofing Language

In the language window that opens, select your preferred proofing language. If you click ok, the change will affect only the current document. However, you should probably consider setting it as default: click Set As Default. Doing this will set the default proofing language against the NORMAL template and so will affect all new documents. This is probably what you want.

Select Language

If you change your mind, for example if you are working on a document for an American audience, you can always change the proofing language again using the steps shown above.

Double Blue Underline In Word

If you have just found your Word 2016 document littered with words that are underlined with two horizontal blue lines, then you have just stumbled upon a new feature of Word: Editor. Microsoft claim that

Editor is like your personal writing assistant, helping you write better documents and emails, bringing out the best writer in you. Along with spelling and grammar suggestions, editor gives you better proofing and editing services than before.

Note that the Editor feature is available only to users who have an Office 365 subscription, and that the only language currently supported is English.

In a nutshell, Editor purports to give you better proofing and editing services together with spelling and grammar suggestions. The goal is to make it easier for you to choose the right suggestions in the right context for your document by enhancing the way spelling, grammar and style suggestions are made. Call it arrogant and egotistical if you want, but Microsoft claim that the machine learning and natural language processing technologies now present in Word 2016 will educate you, and improve your writing style. Yeah, right. English lessons from a machine… You are free to take such claims with a pinch of salt.

Here is an example of the double blue underline in Word:

Double Blue Underline

When you right click on the phrase in error, you get the following suggestion:

Right Click Options

In this case, the suggestion is actually helpful. The author clearly meant “another” and not “an other”. Afer right clicking on the word, you can select “Another” (see the description of its meaning), Ignore the “error” or See More suggestions.

But lets put the machine learning and natural language processing technologies in Word 2016 through their paces. Let’s think of a phrase that sounds right, but is grammatically wrong. For example:

Fare vs Fair

Oh dear. The fare should be fair and have a double blue underline as punishment, but Word 2016 hasn’t spotted it. Fail!

What about another simple test:

Hymn vs Him

Hymn should obviously be him. No double blue underline, and another fail. I think that’s two to me and one to Word. We’d better stop there…

If you want to be reckless, turn off Word’s suggestions and go it alone, click the File tab > Options > Proofing and uncheck the box labeled Mark grammar errors as you type.

Mark grammar errors as you type


Word 2016 Find And Replace

You can find occurrences of a word or phrase, or even a large chunk of text, in a document using the find function in Word 2016.

Open your Word document, go to the Home tab and in the Editing group click Find. When the Navigation panel opens on the left, type in the search word.

Find Navigation

Word will show you all occurrences of the word in the document, with each occurrence highlighted, and a small excerpt of the surrounding text in the navigation panel. This is to help you better identify the occurrence. If you click on an occurrence in this panel, you will jump to its location in the document.

Notice that there are three headings in the navigation panel: Headings, Pages and Results. Sometimes when you open this panel, a different heading will show but it’s the Results one you need.

If there are too many occurrences of the search word to display in the navigation panel, you will see, instead, a count of those occurrences:

Too Many Results

As with many commands in Word, there is a keyboard shortcut for Find, and that is ctrl + f.

Replacing text in your document is just as easy. On the Home tab, in the Editing group click Replace. This time the Find and Replace dialog opens. Type in the word you want to replace, and then the one you want to replace it with. The following will replace all occurrences of the word “black” with “brown”.

Find And Replace Dialog

You either replace all occurrences (click the Replace All button), or replace each one individually by clicking Replace and then Find Next to find the next occurrence.

If you need more control over your replace, click on More. For example, you might want to replace only words whose first letter is capitalised. If this is the case, then you would check the Match case box.

Find And Replace Options

Whichever replace option you choose, Word will give you a summary of how many occurrences were replaced.

All Done

The keyboard shortcut for Replace is ctrl + h.

Word 2016 Add A Digital Signature

How To Add A Digital Signature In Word 2016

When you sign a signature line in Word, you add a visible representation of your signature and a digital signature. To add a digital signature line to your document, place the cursor where you want your signature to go. Go to the Insert tab and in the Text group click Signature Line. If you click the down arrow to the right of the Signature Line button, be sure to select Microsoft Office Signature Line.

Signature Setup

In the Signature Setup window that appears, type in the text that you would like to appear beneath the signature line:

  • Suggested signer – this is the name of the person signing the document.
  • Suggested signer’s title – if the signer has a title, like Dr or Ms. etc., then enter it here.
  • Suggested signer’s email address – if required, you can enter the email address of the signer.
  • Instructions to the signer – if you want to give some instructions to the signer, type them here. There is some example text in the window that you can blank out if you want it removed.

There are additional checkboxes that you can select:

  • Allow the signer to add comments in the Sign dialog – if you want the signer to add some text when they sign the document (for example, their purpose in signing) then check this box.
  • Show sign date in signature line – if checked, the signing date will be shown next to the signature.

Once added, the signature line will look like this:

Signature Line In Word

You can add as many signature lines as you want; just repeat the above steps for each one.

How To Sign A Signature Line In Word

When you open a document that requires signing digitally, you will see a signature line, as in the screenshot above. To sign it, right click on the signature line and select Sign.

Sign A Document In Word

To sign a Microsoft Office document, you need a digital ID. If you don’t have one, you will be prompted to get one when you try and sign a document. How to get a Digital ID for Word.

Get A Digital ID

If you don’t already have a digital ID, the chances are that you may want to just insert a textual representation of a signature line that allows you to place a written (not digital) signature and that doesn’t require authentication (unlike a digital certificate).

Read about how to add a textual signature line.

Word 2016 – Remove Password

Passwords can be added to a Microsoft Word document for a variety of reasons. The document’s content might be so important that only certain people may amend it, or it might be for viewing only, regardless of who you are.

It’s pretty easy to remove a password from a Word 2016 document, but you do have to know the original password that was used to protect it. The way to remove this password uses the same process that was used to add it in the first place. Note that if you forget or lose the password, it can’t be recovered. Passwords are case sensitive so make sure that the Caps Lock key is turned off when you enter a password for the first time.

Open the document and enter its password. You won’t see its contents until you do.

Password Protected Document

Once the document is open, click File > Info, to see information about the document. Note that in the Info panel, you can see straight away, by the yellow highlighting, that the document is password protected.


Protect Document
Click to enlarge

Now click Protect Document > Encrypt with Password.

Encrypt Document

All you need to do here is blank out the password. Select it and delete it, and then click OK. You will see the yellow highlighting immediately removed from the Protect Document section, because the document is no longer password protected.

Usability is uppermost in our minds, so we ask you this: is it obvious what you need to do here in the “Encrypt Document” window to remove the password protection on your document? We hazard this answer: no. It would be more user friendly to display a “remove password” button to give you a clear course of action. Alas, you will have to just blank out the password as suggested.

Interestingly, Microsoft say:

If you lose or forget a password, Word can’t recover your information so it might be a good idea to keep a copy of your password in a safe place or create a strong password that you’ll remember.

But anyone with any kind of security awareness will tell you not to keep a copy of your password in any other location than your head! You work it out…

And then get back to use with your ideas.

Insert A Comment In Word 2016

Inserting a comment in Word 2016 is a good way of providing feedback on a document, or at least a portion of it, without actually changing its content. Comments can be used to add notes and to offer suggestions, or to pose questions. They are attached to certain pieces of text within your document so you will first need to select your text, and then click the Review Tab > New Comment (in the Comments group).

Insert A Comment
Click To Enlarge

You can select as large or small a portion of text as you require, so your selection may include a single word, or multiple paragraphs. After clicking New Comment, the selected text becomes highlighted and a comment box appears on the right in which you can add your comments. Each comment you make is saved with your User Name and the time the comment was added.

Interestingly, even if you have signed out of Microsoft Office, the comment box still shows your User Name, from last time you signed in.

Press the Esc key when you’ve finished typing the comment, or you can click in the document’s text.

After you have added your comments, they are immediately on display in the right margin. This is because when you add a comment, the Show Comments command is automatically activated. Equally, you can hide all comments and increase the available space for viewing your document by clicking Show Comments. It acts as a toggle for displaying/hiding comments.

Show Comments

Once you have added a comment, you can select it by clicking on it. When you do, the text you commented on is highlighted again.

In addition to text, you can add comments to other elements like images, charts and SmartArt etc. The same principle applies: select the item and then click on New Comment.

Changing a comment is easy: if you click to select the comment it becomes editable. You can then make your changes. As you’d expect, you can’t change someone else’s comment. You can only change your own. You can, however, reply to a comment left by someone else.

Replying To A Comment In Word

In some circumstances, you may want to reply to a comment added by a colleague. To do so, click on the comment and then click on the Reply link below. Another entry will appear for you to type your reply. Again, your reply is recorded with your User Name and the time it was added.

Reply To Comment

Your colleagues can also reply to your replies, and often a dialogue ensues, with each subsequent comment indented.

Other Comment Features

You can delete comments individually by selecting them and then clicking Delete in the Comments group (on the Review tab). You can also delete all comments in a document by clicking on the lower portion of that same Delete button > Delete All Comments in Document.

Delete All Comments In Document

If you want to delete an individual comment but don’t want to jump to a different tab, you can right click on the comment and select Delete Comment.

When a discussion is finished, you can resolve a comment to close it. If you change your mind later, you can click on Reopen. If you change your mind again… you get the picture.

Mail Merge In Word 2016

What Is A Word Mail Merge?

A mail merge in Word will combine a preprepared letter with a mailing list, so that bulk mail is personalised before it is sent out. For example, you might be part of an organisation that has a list of members and you want to let them know about an upcoming Annual General Meeting. Your mailing list would be the list of members’ names and addresses, and the preprepared letter would be a letter informing them of the AGM. Each letter produced will be identical, apart from the personalised portions.

The three files involved in the mail merge process are:

  1. your main document
  2. your mailing list
  3. the merged document

The Main Document

You should prepare your document before you start the mail merge, so type that out and save it now. Once it’s ready, you will then tell Word the type of mail merge you are about to start: go to the Mailings tab and click Start Mail Merge > Letters.

Start Mail Merge

Now we will link the letter to your mailing list.

The Mailing List

Your mailing list can be stored in a variety of different locations, such as an Excel spreadsheet, an Access database, a directory of Outlook contacts, or an Office address list. It contains the personalised details that will be combined with the document.

If you don’t have a mailing list when you begin the mail merge, you can get Word 2016 to create one during the merge. We recommend that you create the mailing list before you commence the merge though, so for this example we’ll assume you have an Excel spreadsheet that contains names and address that you want to mail the letter to.

Link The Mailing List To The Document

Go to the Mailings tab and click Select Recipients in the Start Mail Merge Group. We’re going to assume you have a mailing list ready to use, although you can create one on the fly. Select Use An Existing List.

Mail Merge: Use An Existing List

In our example, we have an Excel Spreadsheet, so navigate to where that is and select it. Select the sheet that contains your data and click OK. If the first row in your spreadsheet is a header row, make sure that you check the box to say so.

Maile Merge: Select Table

Now that you have established the link between your document and mailing list, save the document.

We’re going to assume that you want to send your letter to everyone on your list, but if you want to, you can select only certain entries from the list.

Insert Merge Fields

We now need to tell Word what personal details to add to the letter and where. To do this, we will insert merge fields in the main document. We’re going to keep things very simple and we’re just going to insert the most basic information. In our example we will insert member names and addresses.

First of all position the cursor where you want the address to appear on your letter. Then, on the Mailings tab, in the Write & Insert Fields group, choose Address Block.

In the window that opens, you get the chance to review and amend the format of the address that will be inserted when the merge is actually run.

Insert Address Block
Click to enlarge

Make any changes you need and click OK. You will ten see the <<AddressBlock>> placeholder appear where you inserted it.

Let’s add a greeting line: position the cursor where you want the greeting and in the Write & Insert Fields group, click Greeting Line. Again, you get the chance to review and amend teh greeting, so make your changes and click OK. You will see the <<GreetingLine>> placeholder where you inserted it.

The address and greeting are standard items, that most people will want to use in their mail merges, so they get their own special buttons in the ribbon. What if you want to insert data that is not in the Write & Insert Fields group? You will need the Insert Merge Fields button for that.

In our example we have an email address column in the spreadsheet. We’ll add that now: click Insert Merge Fields > email.

Insert Email

Word gets all the column headings in the spreadsheet and lists them for you to select from. An <<email>> placeholder is inserted.

All the <<>> placeholders inserted will get populated with real data from your spreadsheet when the merge is run.

Run The Mail Merge

The preparation is complete! All that is left to do is preview what the merged letter will look like, and then run it. Click Preview Results, and then choose the Next record button or Previous record button to make sure the names and addresses in the body of your letter look right.

Preview Results Of Mail Merge

Make any changes you feel are necessary, and then, once happy, click Finish & Merge > Print Documents to run the merge and print.

Finish And Merge

Don’t forget to save your document.

This tutorial was more of a quickstart than an in depth exploration of mail merge in Word. We will be looking at all the different variations in the step involved in later tutorials, so stay tuned for those.