Let’s Learn Proper Terms In Word

One of the biggest problems Help Desks complain of is people describing their problems using incorrect terms. You cannot fix something if someone is telling you it is one thing and that thing is not broken! I remember when I taught Microsoft Word to adults at night at a local community college and students would ask me about something they had a problem with at work. Once I had deciphered what they were really having a problem with, I could easily teach them how to rectify the issue. Oh sure, once in a while I am also guilty of doing that, as do many online sites and newsletters, but as a rule, when I write an article, I try my best to use the proper terms because I know from experience just how important that can be.

So let’s start with the basics, shall we?

We will start with the Ribbon in Word. I cannot tell you how important it is to know the proper terms here. Recently, I watched a YouTube video wherein the narrator referenced a “section.”  Hmmm, I thought, there is nothing on MY Ribbon called a “section.”  Thus this article. Below, you will see an image of a Ribbon, with all the proper terms attached:


It seems the narrator was really referencing the Groups found in each Tab on your Ribbon. See how that matters? There are sections in a Word document, but not on your Ribbon.

Your Ribbon is divided into Tabs as you can see from the image above. Each Tab contains Groups. In each of those Groups, you will find Commands that make your life easier (especially when you know the proper title for them)!

Of course, this is just barely scratching the surface. Another faux pas that many commit is talking about a “spreadsheet” in Microsoft Excel. The proper term is Worksheet.

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2 thoughts on “Let’s Learn Proper Terms In Word”

  1. Carol, you brought tears of joy as I read this article. Every job., field, product and so on has specific terms we should master. Saying “that thing, you know, when you do this” is frustrating to hear, Mindblower!

  2. I will confirm Mindblower’s comment with a little story. Years ago a friend used to call me for Excel help but he really needed a few lessons in proper terminology. When he would call for help in the days before we could do remote, he would try to explain what he was having problems with…it was usually with the “thingamajig” or the “thingamabog” and when I would ask for him to be more specific it would say, “You know, the thingamajic by the thingamabob over on the right side down the third column.” You can imagine the build up of frustration in trying to help him. Soon, I began telling him he was out of my skillset league, far beyond me in his endeavours with Excel. We continued meeting for beers, but conversations about Excel were verboten. Whew !

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