Creating an Executive Summary

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 13, 2018)


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, follow these steps:

  1. Load and display the document you want to summarize.
  2. Choose AutoSummarize from the Tools menu. Word performs an analysis of the document and displays the AutoSummarize dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. 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.

If you chose to create a summary that simply highlights text in your document, then Word displays a small AutoSummarize dialog box on the screen. You can use this dialog box to adjust the percentage of the original document that Word should include in the highlighted summary. When you are done, you can click on the Close button.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1809) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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. ...


Removing Conditional Formats, but Not the Effects

Conditional formatting is very powerful, but at some point you may want to make the formatting "unconditional." In other ...

Discover More

Ignoring N/A Values in a Sum

You can use some of Excel's worksheet functions across a range or worksheets, but not all of them. One that has problems ...

Discover More

Characters in the Margin Next to Paragraphs

Laying out a document can be, at times, a challenge. This is particularly the case when you need some special document ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (menu)

Small Red Dots under Addresses

Does your document have all sorts of different colored underlines on it? Tracking down what most of them are can be easy, ...

Discover More

Automatic Scrolling

Spend a lot of time scrolling around in your document? You might find one of Word's hidden scrolling commands to be a ...

Discover More

Correcting Student Papers

If you are a teacher, you may be looking for ways you can use Word's features to correct papers your students send to you ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 8 - 8?

2019-04-18 20:56:34


i cant seems to find the toolbar on MS Office 2010

2019-01-11 15:41:45


I use Office 365 subscription on a brand new PC, 17, 16 GB Ram SSD et al, But I do not find the mentioned TOOLS menu!

2016-09-04 11:00:17

Frank D

Allen, I've been using MS Word (as part of MS Office) since it first came out (I'm guessing about 1989). Version 2002 ("XP") is the best for my purposes. When MS went to the "ribbon" interface I stopped updating. Version 2002 has all the necessary tools for word processing, with the best user interface.

2016-05-19 02:51:14

Jean Lodge

Why am I not finding autosummarize link

2016-01-08 09:46:45


Joshua: You misunderstand. I've been publishing WordTips (the newsletter) every week, without fail, since early 1997. I have *LOTS* of readers still using Word 2003. For them, this site is just about the ONLY place to still get authoritative information on use of the older versions of Word.

If you are using a newer version (and it sounds like you are), then you can find thousands of tips that apply for you at this sister site:

I invite you to visit it, too.


2016-01-08 07:14:04


Joshua Glazebrook: You're being rather hard on saying "..never to be visited.." because of the paragraph you quoted.

I agree that the first two sentences are somewhat unnecessary (which is why I remove them when reformatting each tip for archiving, but retaining "This tip ..."). That aside, however, I find Word Tips to be an invaluable source of information.

My thanks to Allan Wyatt and all other contributors.

2016-01-07 21:13:04

Joshua Glazebrook

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1809) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

WOW putting the above comment at the end makes for time efficiency for the reader.

On the basis that this feature was removed in the 2010 edition of MS Office, this is clearly a Search Engine grabber rather than anything useful. Last implemented 9 years ago, and removed 6 years ago.

has just been put into my never to be visited list.

2015-09-16 00:07:29



I don't know how to be more "transparent" than saying that this tip -- the one you are reading -- only applies to versions of Word up through Word 2003. (And that is exactly what it says at the end of the tip.)

In addition, at the right side of the page it says that this ENTIRE SITE is only for versions of Word up through Word 2003.


2015-09-15 13:18:43

Carol Thomson

If the AutoSummarize facility was removed in the Word 2010 version and is ONLY available in the 2007 version, it is false advertising to make the claim for this feature at all. You need to be much more transparent about what it is available - UPFRONT!!

2015-03-31 16:57:40


I also have MS Word, 2013. Where do I find auto summarize?

2015-03-02 17:44:53


I have MS Word, 2013. Where do I find auto summarize?

2015-01-13 06:45:27


how can i create auto summary in word 2010

2014-12-25 10:02:03


what program will be used to summarize text?

2014-12-25 09:58:19


how to summarize the large text to little

2014-11-21 21:27:17

Doreen GVine

Sadly AutoSummarize didn't make the cut past the 2007 Office Suite . . . after being 'hidden' in the 'more commands' second in 2007. Option B is to check online for Auto Summarize options - there are a few available that are FREE, just have to check and see which is best for your needs.
Does Microsoft perhaps have a set number of features, tools and commands that a program can have? If so what will go next. If it is "Show Special Characters" that will be the absolute last straw!

2014-08-27 12:01:14

Jan R

I have MS Word 2013, would LOVE to know how to autoSummarize in this version.

2014-08-27 04:10:59

Lilian Nabulime

I have failed to get AutoSummarize in Word on my Dell computer (Inspiration)has windows 8

2014-04-29 10:49:23


The AutoSummarize feature has been removed from Word 2010. It is however, available on the 2007 version.

2014-02-17 04:21:06

mary anne monye

This is a very useful information that I have been looking for. Please, may I be allowed to have it in my computer? thanks.

2013-11-19 14:46:42


It was removed from later versions of Word.


2013-11-19 14:34:53

Ross Burchard

Thanks for the information on AutoSummarize at your site: last updated October 19, 2013.

Please tell me how to locate AutoSummarize in Word 2010.


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.