Using Executive Summaries

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 27, 2016)


Word includes a special tool that creates automatic summaries of your documents for you. This tool is called AutoSummarize, appropriately enough. The summary can be any length you specify, and you can save it to a new document, add it to the beginning of your document, or simply highlighted it in place. This feature allows you to quickly create a starting point for an executive summary.

Notice that I said AutoSummarize creates a "starting point." This is because the summary is based on what Word can figure out about your document. This means that there are probably some finishing touches you need to manually put on the summary. As with most other computer-based tools, you should not rely completely on the AutoSummarize tool for your work.

To use the AutoSummarize feature, you first need to add it to your Quick Access toolbar. You can make the tool available by following these steps:

  1. Click the Office button and choose Word Options. Word displays the Word Options dialog box.
  2. Click Customize at the left side of the dialog box.
  3. Using the Choose Commands From drop-down list, choose Commands Not In the Ribbon. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Customize area of the Word Options dialog box.

  5. In the list of available commands, locate and select AutoSummary Tools.
  6. Click the Add button. The command is copied to the right side of the dialog box.
  7. Click OK to close the dialog box.

The AutoSummary tool now appears on the Quick Access toolbar. You can utilize this tool to provide a summary by following these steps:

  1. Load and display the document you want to summarize.
  2. Click the AutoSummary tool on the Quick Access toolbar. Word displays a submenu.
  3. Choose Auto Summarize from the submenu. Word performs an analysis of the document and displays the AutoSummarize dialog box.
  4. In the Type of Summary area, specify which of the four summary types you want to create.
  5. In the Length of Summary area, indicate by using the Percent of Original drop-down list exactly how long you want the summary to be.
  6. Click on the OK button. Word creates the summary, as you directed.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5996) applies to Microsoft Word 2007.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is 8 + 2?

2018-09-29 12:52:46

Louisa Venter

Auto summary is not available on the list of commands not in the ribbon or am I missing something?

2018-03-05 20:26:32



Thank you for information about autosummaries.

Currently working on resumes, and am trying to assess how frequently certain words are used.
If a main word is used say 8 times, maybe 1 or 2 sentences using that word can be eliminated.
Are there any programs that highlight the most frequently used words?


(see Figure 1 below)

Figure 1. 

2018-02-05 10:46:19

Fayia Azana Korkor Sr.

I really enjoyed the tips and I made lots of corrections in my own operations. Thanks for the updates.

2017-10-07 12:15:24

Ken Gosse

I have Word 2016 and discovered that Word 2007 was the last version that supported AutoSummary.
By the way, thank you for many tips which I have used, particularly with VBA coding to generate Word documents.

2016-01-24 06:56:52

Brian Wilson

Alas, despite searching, i could not find the command AutoSummary then read the comments below, neither could anyone else!! I did come across a problem however when looking to add commands when message appeared that command can only be added to custom groups and I can find where the tab for the group is located is any ideas (Word 2010) Thanks

2016-01-23 20:10:15

Jose L Santos

this tip also brought me great expectations, as this would be a terrific improvement.
But, before even trying to activate it in my Word 2010, I was considering that such an advanced tool would likely only be available on newer versions. But as I had not noticed in the tip which version it would apply to, I went up and tried to activate it, obviously to no avail.
Only after that I came back to the comments, where I found your entry about the end note.
Although it IS there, it is not readily VISIBLE.
So, I would like to request and suggest you to have such "applicable to version" information displayed in a VERY visible way, at the tip's header, so that the visitor is clearly advised on the applicability before spending his time with that tip.
Perhaps a single line of boxes (like a single line spreadsheet), having each cell displaying a version number (year) and having its background colored in green (applicable) or red (not applicable) would be a good approach.
Thanks for your support.

2015-01-14 16:06:51


Please, I was not able to locate the AutoSummary tools as described by Using Executive Summaries
by Allen Wyatt (last updated April 2, 2013) using office 2013. any new ideas

2014-05-01 09:05:19

Surendera M. Bhanot

The feature has been removed from Word 2010, according to .

2014-04-30 17:15:25


Microsoft should stop messing with their products. None of the features they add are as useful as the ones they remove. Go back to the 97-03 versions of Word and Excel and back to XP for the operating system and I and most of the people I know would be happier with it.

2013-04-02 11:02:52

Marilyn Hayner

Yes, definitely, point this out at the start. I have Word 2010, and this is a feature that would be extremely helpful, so I, too, looked for it.

Is there a feature like it in Word 2010?

2013-03-06 11:30:31

James Baisden

is there an auto summary on 2010?

2011-11-02 02:14:00


Note that the end of the tip/article it states "This tip (5996) applies to MS Word versions: 2007."

Each tip/article on the site includes an indicator at the end denoting which version it works with.


2011-11-01 16:28:05


You may want to point out that this feature was removed from Word 2010 to help prevent a very frustrating day for your readers.

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