Better crosswords with Word

You're relaxing, doing a crossword on your coffee break, when you find yourself stumped for a seven-letter word for a brightly coloured bird. You have the first letter, "t", and the last letter, "r", and the correct answer is right there on the tip of your tongue...

The solution? As the illustration shows, if you have Word 6.0 or later, you can get a positive ID on that "tanager" in just a few seconds and return to work. Here's how:

1. Type the unknown word as best you can, using question marks in place of the unknown letters. For instance, in my bird clue example, you would type t?????r.

2. Select what you've typed, and then press to fire up the spelling checker.

3. Scroll through the list of suggestions until you find the word you need.

Another option, in Word 7 or later, is to right-click the word and select the best choice from the pop-up menu.

Hint: Word can't perform this trick unless you have at least the first and last letter of the word, but you can still try to find the solution by typing a test letter if the first or last letter is missing. If you still don't succeed in finding what you want, it's possible that Word's word list just doesn't contain what you're looking for.

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