Word: Synonyms

June 29, 2008

Looking for the right word? Trying to avoid repetition? Can’t think of the opposite word? Don’t have your Roget’s handy, and you’re not connected to the internet? Then check out Word’s Thesaurus feature, Mr Gates’ answer to Roget’s Thesaurus.

Select a word in your document, then press Shift+F7 to open the Research task pane window.

The word you selected is in the Search for field on the Research task pane, with similar meanings and their word form (noun, verb etc.) below it.

So now you’ve found a synonym, but it’s not quite what you were looking for. You can double-click on any of the items in the list to display that word as the Search for word. Continue double-clicking possible words until you find the one that’s just right, then click the drop-down arrow next to it and click Insert. You can always go back to where you were by clicking the Back button immediately above the results list.

You can open this task pane in other ways too:

  • Word 2003: It’s hidden under the Tools > Language > Thesaurus menu (yeah, it’s easy to find once you know it’s there!)
  • Word 2007: Review tab > Proofing panel > Thesaurus.
Research task pane showing thesaurus in Word 2003

[This article was first published in the September 2002 CyberText Newsletter; steps updated for Word 2003 in January 2008, and for Word 2007 in August 2008]

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