Word Features, by Program Version

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 2, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Debi needs to create some training material that explains how to use Word within her company. This will be used by both employees and out-of-house contractors. These individuals are using many different versions of Word. To give the proper direction, Debi needs to figure out what Word features were introduced in which versions of the program. So, she is looking for resources that might help in pulling together this information.

We've not been able to locate any such list for Word. Lists like this are available for Excel, primarily because it is important to know when various worksheet functions are introduced and, therefore, when it is "safe" to use those functions in formulas. Not so for Word, however.

The reason for this is twofold. First, features in Word are often not new "features," per se, but are instead changes in how long-existing features are accessed. For instance, Microsoft 365 recently (mid-2023) added a shortcut to paste text only (Ctrl+Shift+V). This wasn't a feature change, but a new shortcut key that allowed users to access an existing feature differently. When Word makes these sorts of changes, there is no record kept or published that details when those changes are made.

Second, Word doesn't really add major features that often. I'm hard-pressed to think of the last time a major feature was added. Some could call dictation capabilities a major change, but it didn't really modify how Word worked—it just provided a new way to get text into a document. As such, it was more a "promotion" of an accessibility capability, rather than a new feature.

It is important to know dates for worksheet functions in Excel because formulas won't work if they rely on functions that weren't available in a particular version. That is not the case with Word; it will gracefully just not use the "feature." A big example of this was almost 15 years ago when Word dropped "emboss" and "engrave" as formatting options for text. Any old documents that use this formatting will still work in current versions of Word, albeit without the formatting—it doesn't make the document unusable.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6858) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

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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