Microsoft Word 2003, 2007 and the current version 2010, has many features that cater to students who require additional learning supports. Some features are in the toolbars or ribbons, but are often not apparent or their use or relevance not evident.
Others can be accessed via a mouse or preferred pointing device whilst others can be invoked using a variety of keyboard shortcuts. These can be introduced and taught to students who have different learning styles. Remembering where the functions are or mastering the combinations of keyboard shortcuts can often present difficulties and challenges for both teaching staff and students.
Using colour to differentiate background and foreground, page magnification, line and word spacing, ready-made templates, and highlighting tools guarantees that this powerful word processing software can be used more efficiently and enable users to be more productive and competent in dealing with text.
Students of all abilities and ages can become more confident in completing school tasks and master skills to meet their specific needs, over time. Most schools use this program but many students are still disadvantaged as it has so many different features but most are not used well, if at all.
A number of add-ins exists for MS Word. These handy add-ins provide increased functionality over and above the inbuilt features and tools. Simple yet powerful tools provide additional supports – at no cost to the student or school.
They may introduce features not readily available within MS Word or provide easier access to MS Word – visually, physically and/or cognitively. They may be useful in supporting students or users who have:
- Learning disabilities
- Learning Difficulties
- A print handicap
- Issues with English as they are recent arrivals and English is their second language
- Intellectual disabilities
- Reading, spelling writing or planning/organisational difficulties