Frequent users of MS Word know that a list of synonyms is available for most words and that a synonym list can be accessed just by right clicking on any word, but launching Word’s Thesaurus using Shift F7 is just as easy and provides better word suggestions for writers.

Try it out. Open a Word doc and type the word “strong”, then place your cursor on the word and right click. Hover your cursor over the word Synonym. Note the synonyms listed. All good choices, but Word has a stronger tool for conciseness – Shift-F7. Shift F7 (clicked together while your cursor is over the word) adds a Thesaurus onto the right side of the document.

Now, put your cursor back on the word “strong”, but this time hit Shift-F7. Notice the first words listed are those you saw on the right-click synonym list. Notice also how many more choices the Thesaurus lists and how much more specific they are. None of the words on the list from the right-click would accurately replace the word “strong” in the sentence “Inserting a strong verb is an easy way to fix the sentence”, but in the Thesaurus list, specifically in the list under “convincing”, several work: a sound verb, a persuasive verb, a compelling verb. Now click the word “convincing” in the Thesaurus list – note how many more concise word choices appear.

The Thesaurus can also be used to check that the word you use is the correct word and/or the correct spelling. Not sure if you want angel or angle, conscious or conscience? Shift-F7.