If your work involves creating reports, eBooks, guides or academic documents you’ll be thankful for Microsoft Word.

It gives you much more than a white page on the screen to type into.

Word helps you with references, research and rolling out a bibliography. It provides the tools to expertly top and tail your documents.

Picture of three men holding top hats

You may know some of what it can do. Other functions may be a surprise or revelation to you.

Table of Contents

Adding a table of contents to a long document makes life easier for the reader. It helps them to see immediately what they are about to read and to pick out the section or sub-headings of most interest to them.

It allows them to skip to that part first or know how far down it is.

Chapter headings for books and eBooks are really useful for the same reason. Why do you think Amazon has a ‘Look Inside’ feature on its bookselling website? It allows people to read the first pages AND get a look at the chapter headings and topics covered – which may help to sway the browsing customer into buying.

In Word, the table of contents shows what’s in the document and numbers each section accordingly.


If you are writing a business report, summary or guide you may have images, charts, diagrams or illustrations in your document.

Adding a caption for each one helps the reader to quickly understand what they are about. If you are referencing them in the copy, you can number the captions accordingly, e.g. Figure 1, Figure 2, Figure 3, etc.

Table of Figures

When you have all your captions in place, and in the right order, you can create a table of figures. This is like a table of contents except it only lists figures, pictures or tables in your Word document.


The cross-reference function is a neat way of helping the reader to find the references made in the copy.

It allows you to link the wording to, say, a graphic or a chart that features in another part of the document. Instead of having to scroll down the reader can just hit the link. Hey, presto!

It’s also possible to create a cross-reference link to a heading, bookmark, footnote, endnote or even an equation in your Word file.


If you are tasked to work on a book, e-Book, research document, white paper or academic paper, you’ll find the bibliography feature in Word a time-saver.

If information, data, text segment or a quotation is being used as a reference in the document, you can include its source through the citation function.

When you have provided all the sources, you can create a bibliography to list all the books and reference points used in writing the whole thing. The function allows you to format things in a range of styles.

Footnotes and Endnotes

Microsoft Word also allows you to add footnotes and endnotes to your Word document.

A footnote appears at the bottom of a page. It can either add additional information or research relating to a section of the main text or a source of reference.

Endnotes are another way to create, present and organise citations or help to put together a bibliography.


An index lists the topics and terms that appear in a Word document. It is typically found at the end of a work, to help people find a specific word or phrase. The function allows you to provide page numbers as an easy reference point for the reader.


Perhaps a less well-known feature of Microsoft Word is its research capability. It allows you to work on a book, eBook, guide, report or paper and find information as you go.

You can use the search bar in the ‘researcher’ function to discover links to sources of information about the person, place or topic you’re looking for. You can also highlight a word or subject in the body text of your document and use ‘smart lookup’ for a similar result.

Get Booked Up and Raise Your Worth

Whether you are a VA, PA or EA, being able to design, edit and add polish to eBooks, guides, reports and papers is a valuable skill.

If working in an organisation, bosses will notice the creative publishing edge you bring to your role.

If you are a VA or other freelance assistant, these skills can open doors to new clients and opportunities.

So much is being published these days, in print and online. Someone who can make sense of longer documents and arrange and knock copy into shape is going to be much sought after. If they can also sort out all the tables, captions, reference points, citations sources, index and bibliography – even more so.

Some VAs have made a nice niche out of being a book, eBook or guide specialist.

If you like the sound of the potential, can see opportunities for yourself yet feel a little unsure of your skills in this area, it’s worth taking a look at my online course on Creating E-books and Lead Magnets in Word. It will show you how to do the important stuff well.

The more you know, the more valuable you are. The higher your value, the more you can charge and rise in reputation. That’s good for your personal brand and your career prospects.

The session was well structured and the explanation was very clear. It was amazing how Shelley managed to squeeze so much info in just one hour and a half! Colin’s support and contributions were also very valuable, and so were “Virtual Veronica”‘s. Thank you for a most interesting and useful training session at the Miss Jones Virtual Summit!

Laura Carizzo- Royal Norwegian Embassy in Argentina

I haven’t used PowerPoint in 20 years, this has really boosted my confidence.

Lyn Parker

Course is packed with so much valuable information in a easy-to-understand and follow language, even for a complete beginner. I can respect the fact that sometimes it’s very hard for an expert to break the information down to basics. but Shelley has done it brilliantly. I was sure that I knew quite a bit but Shelley has proven me wrong even at the very beginning of the basics of PowerPoint. Lessons are short and precise which allowed me to easily transfer the new skill into practice without being overwhelmed and to carry on adding on more with each lesson. I had so many ‘Aha!’ moments and for most of them I couldn’t believe I used to pay graphic designer to do it for me, now, thanks to Shelley, I am looking forward to creating, designing, converting my presentations all by myself!

Iva Freeman – Vertex Human Capital

Shelley was very thorough and knew a lot of tip’s for using Teams, thank you 🙂

James O’Connor – Cavannah Homes

Very informative, constantly getting everyone in the meeting involved, loved every bit of it!

Dylan Teal Hopkins – Cavannah Homes
Fantastic and informative training and great to see all of the exciting functions with Microsoft Teams.
Laura Rigby – The Apprenticeship College
Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.
Leigh Dowling – Innuous

Microsoft Teams One to One Training Session

Shelley was approachable, easy to work with, and agile with answering questions to apply the session to my specific needs

Melissa Marshall – Present Your Science

A course on Outlook had been on the top of my list when Shelley asked VA’s what they wanted to learn.

It was a real case of ‘so that’s how you do it’ or ‘I never knew that’. I have to say that I learnt so many great tips it has definitely improved the way I work in Outlook and my inbox is looking colourful and organised and I can’t wait to share this knowledge with my clients.

Jacqueline Leake – JLeake VA Services – Outlook

A great course with lots of examples and step by step instructions. I can now confidently create infographics and as a bonus, I learnt a lot of new PowerPoint functionality that will enhance all my PowerPoint work and save me so much time.

Jessica Bailey – Integral Resource

I really like Shelley’s courses. She has a clear and easy to follow teaching style. In ‘How to Create Fillable Forms’ I’ve learned about the functions of the Developer ribbon which will mean I’ll be able to create a bespoke Returns Form for a client who has an online shop

Freya Henderson – Virtual Office Orkney

Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.

Sarah Clements – Inuous

Absolutely superb course, easy to follow and to refer back whilst putting it all into practice! I was unaware of the extent you can customise a presentation and it’s just made me want to know more – what’s next Shelley?

Denise Williams

I thought I had a pretty good grasp of Outlook until I did this course! In her videos, Shelley is clear and concise, and the language she uses is straightforward and jargon-free. Each module is broken down into manageable chunks, which helps keep your attention and means the course is easy to fit in around other commitments. I’ve created email templates and implemented rules that are already saving me time, and as all the other things I’ve learnt start to become second nature, the positive impact on my efficiency is fast becoming clear. This course has been incredibly beneficial and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to strengthen their skills and boost productivity.

Pip Doleman VA

I thought I knew Powerpoint really well, but I wanted to specifically learn how to use Powerpoint to create better infographics, easily and quickly. Shelley explains everything in a very logical and clear way, so I understood everything the first time I heard it. The most useful thing I learnt was that Powerpoint can do so much more than I thought it could. By also using the short cuts that Shelley showed me I am much quicker than I have ever been and I thought I was already quick!

Susan Marot

Shelley Fishel of Tomorrow’s VA has a wealth of experience in Microsoft Office. I met her in person 2 years ago at the PA Show in London. I also saw her in action in a fab workshop and knew she was the whizz that everyone had told me she was. I have since bought a lifetime access to her HUB and all the courses in there are a MUST if you are a VA on a mission. The courses will give you confidence in all the Office 365 components and will catapult you to dizzy heights

Alex Hughes