How to Use Microsoft Word to Type Organized College Notes

How to use Microsoft Word to type College Notes! A step-by-step tutorial to learn how to use Microsoft Word to type organized and efficient college notes on your laptop. 

How to Use Microsoft Word College Notes School Notes Note Taking

How to use Microsoft Word to type organized and efficient college notes on your laptop. The first part of the blog post explains how to organize Microsoft Word. The second part of the tutorial explains how I color code and use different shortcuts in Microsoft Word to type my school notes efficiently.

Please use the following table of contents to navigate through the tutorial ♡

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How to Use Microsoft Word to Type College Notes

Getting started

1. The first thing you should do is put a title to your document and save it to your computer or cloud folder.

Microsoft word college school notes

I am a big fan of Dropbox and OneDrive. Create a folder in your favorite cloud drive and put all your documents there. I have all my classes color-coded to find them faster.

Microsoft word college school notes

How to autosave your work

Set Microsoft Word to auto-save your work. A couple of semesters ago, I had to write a 12-page history paper. I started writing my paper but never saved it to a folder. Something happened to my computer that made Microsoft Word quit unexpectedly, I only recovered a portion of all the things I wrote.

I learned my lesson and from that day on, the first thing I do is name my file and save it. While I keep adding more information to the document, I constantly click “command+S” to make sure the latest version of my document is saved.

Here is how you autosave a document in Word:

Word > Preferences > save > set the “save autorecovery info” to 1 minute.

Microsoft word college school notes note taking


How to take advantage of the whole page

Write more by changing the size of the paper. Not only does it gives you more space, but it also helps you organize your titles, pictures, and ideas.

Microsoft word college school note taking


How to easily insert pictures inside the document

Sometimes you need to place a picture in a specific place inside your notes. Here is how you customize an image position in Microsoft Word:

Word > Preferences > Edit > click the option for insert/paste picture as > choose tight.

Microsoft word school college note taking

This option keeps your text organized and your pictures aligned correctly along with the text.

school college note taking Microsoft word


How to assign a folder for all your pictures

Sometimes you need to save pictures from google to add them to your lecture notes. Create a specific folder where all your screenshots or google images are going to be stored. This folder keeps my laptop organized, clean, and all the pictures in one place.

Word > preferences > file locations > clipart pictures

college school note taking Microsoft word

select “clipart pictures” > modify >

how to college notes Microsoft Word

select the folder that you want to assign for pictures.

saving files Microsoft word mac


How to customize your keyboard

The best way to use Microsoft Word to take notes faster is by customizing the keyboard. To insert a text box I have my keyboard set up to “command+option+t” and to insert a picture I just click “command+option+i”

Here is how you can customize your keyboard:

tools > customize keyboard >

Microsoft word keyboard customization how to

 in categories scroll down to “all commands” > in the search box type what you want to customize.

microsoft word how to

I suggest you customize the tools you use the most:

  • InsertPicture (command+option+i)
    • Note: In the previous step, we selected a folder for all the pictures that you want to insert inside a Word document. With this shortcut, the folder will immediately open and you’ll be able to choose the picture faster.

microsoft word insert image shortcut

Keep in mind that some shortcuts might already be assigned to other tools. For example, crop Image was already assigned to some other tool, instead of using (command+option+c) I use: (control+command+c)


There are some symbols I constantly use when I type my notes. Instead of searching for the symbols, I have my autocorrect do the work for me. For example, whenever I type the word degree it is automatically replaced with the symbol.

Tools > Autocorrect > replace “type a word” with “symbol”

Tip: To find your characters in an apple computer: click the apple symbol at the top left > system preferences > keyboard > click the option: “show keyboard and Emoji viewers in menu bar”.

click the apple symbol at the top left > system preferences > keyboard > click the option: “show keyboard and Emoji viewers in menu bar”.

Microsoft word keyboard shortcut how to


How to customize the toolbar

You can also customize the top toolbar to find your most-used tools faster

Microsoft word toolbar customization how to

Toolbar > more commands > choose all commands > now you’ll see more options.

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Add all the commands that you want. Keep in mind, some of them will work and some will not (since we selected all commands)

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How to organize and color-code your notes

Before you start writing your notes have a picture in your mind of how you want them to look.

My main titles are yellow, my subtitles are green and any extra information that belongs to the subtitle section is color-coded in blue. It helps my brain remember information faster, whenever I take a test I can remember what information was under what title. I also associate the titles with the pictures I include in my notes.

Tip: Try to associate the titles with the pictures you put inside your notes, this is helpful when you are trying to recall information during an exam.

Here is an example of my notes:

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The notes from the picture above are written with a 1.5 space.

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The space between the lines makes my notes look less crowded and they are easier to read.

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How to customize the highlighter colors

Microsoft Word comes with pre-selected highlighting colors, sometimes when I use them I can hardly see the text behind them. Here is a trick to select a softer color as a highlighter:

Select the text that you want to highlight > format > borders and shading >

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 shading > make sure to select: “apply to text” > click fill >

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 choose a color or click choose more colors >

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In this color options you can choose a pastel green or a light pink as your highlighter:

Microsoft word color customization how to

Once you choose the color click ok

Microsoft word color customization how to

Here is an example of 2 shades of green. I personally prefer the light-green color for my text.

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How to assign a specific font and font size to all your future documents

Here is how you can make a font and a font size default in Microsoft Word:

Format > Font > (ignore the Asian text font) >

Microsoft word fonts how to

In the”Latin text font” option > choose the font that you want to use for all your documents > choose a size

Size 10.5 is the perfect font size for me. Even when I print my notes, the font is not small to read. Once you have a font and size click “default”.

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A pop-up window is going to ask you to confirm, just click yes.

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Now, every time you start a document, it is going to automatically have your desired font and font size. Don’t be afraid to play with the settings in Microsoft Word, the more familiar you become with them, the easier it will be to take notes during classes or online lectures.

If you want to learn about digital planners and bullet journaling join my Facebook group! Readers from all over the world share their bullet journal and digital planner spreads. It’s amazing to learn from other people that share a common interest.

Thank you for stopping by! Check out my collection of FREE Bullet Journal Printables and digital planners & stickers.♡

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10 Comments

  1. That was interesting- I haven’t really done the customizing keyboard thing before- I may need to give that a shot.

  2. Love this! I’m a big fan of organization and color coding. My notes in college were similar 🙂

  3. These are great tips! I’ve always taken notes by hand and they are totally messy by the end of class. I definitely need to take your advice and type them up so they are actually review-able!

  4. This is awesome! Many students could use this to stay organized and help them study! By re-typing notes, they are actually reviewing notes which helps with memory retention. Plus students can stay organized and share notes with friends and classmates.

  5. You’re honestly a star, this was so helpful! I use a similar format, but you have made it so much easier! Thank you x