In Microsoft Word’s proofing options, in addition to checking your spelling as you type, you could also select to check your grammar, and your “style.” In this case, “style” refers to your use of capitalization, passive sentences, etc. While writing compelling proposal content, we conventionally favor a first person, present tense, active voice style. Word’s option to check style is a useful tool to helping you write in a compelling, consistent style. Unfortunately, Microsoft dropped this option with the release of Word 2016, much to the chagrin of proposal professionals who had upgraded!
However, now it’s back! Microsoft released a patch on 3 January 2017 that restored the style checker to Word 2016. You can read more about it in the Microsoft Knowledge Base in article KB3141451.
If you haven’t used the style checker before, Wordman recommends it as one of the first things you should configure in Word before you start writing. Time for a refresher…
To set the style checker option in Word 2010–2016, go to File > Options. Word displays the Word Optionsdialog. Click Proofing on the left side of the dialog, and then scroll down to When correcting spelling and grammar in Word on the right side of the dialog:
Select Grammar & Style in the Writing Style dropdown, and then click Settings… Word displays the Grammar Settings dialog:
Under Require you should set the option for the “Oxford comma” based on your company’s internal style guide. Punctuation should always be inside quotes (see example in the first paragraph of this article), and you should only use one space between sentences when using proportionally spaced fonts such as Times New Roman or Arial. You should check all of the options under Grammar. Scroll down and you will come to the Style options:
You can check all of the options under Style except Use of first person. Click OK to close the Grammar Settings dialog, and then click OK again to close the Word Options dialog.
“Wordman’s Word Tips” is sponsored by SMA. Wordman is Dick Eassom, CF APMP Fellow, SMA’s Vice President for Corporate Support. Wordman has been providing Microsoft Word help and training for proposal professionals for over 15 years.