A laptop computer showing a screen of work-in-progress tasks

Source: Laptop Computer, npslibrarian, Flickr

Word Processing Resources

In your writing, you may have used a spell-checker or another editing tool. Most word processing programs feature basic dictionary and thesaurus functions on their toolbars. Have you ever tried to find the meaning of a word or choose a word that would sound better in your writing by using the dictionary or thesaurus functions? These are good tools to know.

If you use a Windows PC, you probably have access to these tools. The image below displays the tabs in Microsoft Office 2010.

The tool tabs at the top of the Microsoft Word interface

When you are writing or reading a document in Microsoft Word, you can highlight a word and then click on the “Review” tab (circled) to check spelling. You can also look up the word using a thesaurus or dictionary (oval on the left).

The tool tabs at the top of the Microsoft Word interface

Source: screenshot, Microsoft Word tool ribbon, IPSI

It is a good idea to explore the editing options on your word processing program. In this example, we chose the “Review” tab to get to the spell-checker to find definitions and synonyms of words using the thesaurus button. In each of these functions, you can find additional options to assist you with new or unfamiliar words. If you use Apple products, you will have access to similar tools, but they may appear in different locations in your program.