Gadgets for EdGeeks: Microsoft Word AutoSummarize Function

Tech Tool: Microsoft Word AutoSummarize Function 

Description: This function of Microsoft Word is applicable to readers of all ages (yes adults, that includes you!) This feature can and will change your life.

Application in the classroom: As a special education teacher I was constantly using this tool to modify texts in the classroom and for homework. This tool allowed me to differentiate texts to meet the needs of all of my readers including support and enrichment.

Concrete Examples of In-Classroom Use:

  • Type a text and modify to different levels for in class readings
  • Download an article online and modify to different levels for in class or home reading
  • Differentiate homework by creating different levels of reading assignments
  • Allow students the opportunity to read articles from adult newspapers by modifying the text to an appropriate reading level

Application at home: Many families ask the question “How can I support my child at home if they do not understand their homework?” You can use the AutoSummarize tool at home to support your children with their homework! Use this tool to make a reading assignment more accessible for your child. Middle and High-School students can use this function independently. This is a great help with non-fiction readings that students will encounter in college-level courses so it might be helpful to learn to navigate the tool now!

 Concrete Examples of At-Home Use:

  • Help your child understand their reading homework by using the AutoSummarize tool
  • Is your child working on a research project?  Support them by finding articles online and using the AutoSummarize tool to make them more accessible 
  • Help your child develop an understanding of what is happening in the world by modifying adult news articles

Appropriate Grade Levels: Grade 2-Forever

Support or Enrichment? At first glance, this tech tool seems like it is primarily helpful for supporting struggling readers but I disagree. This tech tool has given me many opportunities to offer enrichment to my highest-achieving students by finding texts that are well above grade level and making them accessible and appropriate.

Concrete Example: I used this tool to create packets of information for a class research project. I was able to create 8 different levels of research material so that all of my students had something they could understand. This took little time compared to other methods I had used in the past because I could use one article to create multiple levels. This tool made our class research project possible and all of my students benefitted!

How it works: (Instructions below are based on Microsoft Word 2008)

Step 1: Type your own text or copy and paste a text from another source into your Microsoft Word Document.
Step 2: Click Tools then scroll down to AutoSummarize
Step 3: The AutoSummarize tool will then automatically read your text and identify the key sentences
Step 4: Next, a window pops up and you must choose a format from the following choices:

  • Highlight key points in the text
  • Create an abstract at the top of the text
  • Create a new document and put the summary there (Marisa’s recommendation)
  • Hide everything but the summary without leaving the document
Step 5: Choose the percentage of original information that you would like to maintain 

Example: A text taken from National Geographic for Kids being modified in two different ways

(Click on a picture to enlarge)


Don’t have Microsoft Word? Click on the picture below to learn more or to buy it at Amazon. Remember this is the 2008 version, which my instructions are for but there is also an updated 2011 version available.

[amazon-product image=”″ type=”image”]B000X86ZAS[/amazon-product]

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