How to Make an Obituary on Microsoft Word

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Compressing a long, fruitful life into a few brief words can be difficult. As much as you want to capture the hearts of readers, you still need to make sure you don’t end up with a full-out biography of the deceased. Keep in mind that an obituary is a writer’s way of acknowledging an individual along with the life that had been lived. While there are many resources available to create an obituary, using a computer software, such as Microsoft Word, proves to be more efficient to work with compared to a handwritten material.

Obituary Writing: A Step-by-Step Guide

You’ve probably used Microsoft Word before to write an essay or type in a school project. Although death is inevitable and there may come a time when we’d have to create an obituary for a loved one at some point in our lives, the chances of constructing a personal obituary on the said software may be slim on your part. But, little do people realize how this commonly-used application can help speed up the writing process by a mile.


Given below is an example of an obituary for a mother:

Brittany Anne Murphy, 72, of Dallas, has joined our loving Creator at 10:00 AM, Thursday, February 9, 2012, at The Faith Presbyterian Hospice in Dallas, Texas. She was born March 23, 1940, in Houston, Texas, to Tommy Rex and Holly Costanza. She married Jeremiah “Jerry” Murphy on December 15, 1965, and he survives.

Also, surviving are her two sons, Peter (Hanna) Murphy of Fort Worth, and Chester (Nicole) Murphy of Arlington; daughter, Janna (Andrew) Tee of Dallas; grandchildren, Jenny Murphy, Scott Murphy, Clayton Murphy, and Crystal Tee; one sister Bethany (Lucas) Brown of San Antonio; one brother Raphael (Shannon) Costanza; three nephews, Kyler Brown, Johnny Brown, and Douglas Costanza, and several cousins.

Britany’s mother, father, and one son, Jake Ryan Murphy preceded her in death.

Sara was a long time resident of Dallas where she lived since leaving her childhood home in Houston at the young age of 13. She graduated from North Dallas High School in 1958 and was a professor at the University of Dallas, where she had also graduated from college.

She loved to cook, spending most of her spare time trying to learn new recipes to cook for her family and friends. She also enjoyed teaching and mentoring students at the local community center whenever she could.

The visitation is from 10:00 AM until 11:30 AM on Saturday, February 11, 2012, at the Golden Gate Funeral Home. The funeral service will follow at 11:30 AM on Tuesday, February 14, 2012, also at the Golden Gate Funeral Home. Reverend Stephen Garcia will be officiating. The burial will be held at the Dallas Fort Worth National Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Faith Presbyterian Hospice at 12477 Merit Dr, Dallas, TX 75251, USA.

To help you create an obituary on Microsoft Word, similar to the one given above, you can refer to the following guidelines:

1. Open Microsoft Word

Once you have opened the application, type in the word ‘obituary’ into the Microsoft Word search engine. You will then see a list of topics appear on the right side of the blank document being opened. Hover your mouse over the topic ‘Funeral Planning Checklist’ and download the said checklist.

2. Click on the ‘Funeral Planning Checklist’

Open the downloaded checklist and complete the necessary information in the ‘Notify’ section. Here, you may enter all kinds of details regarding the funeral home, clergy, family members, relatives, friends, executor of will, insurance company information along with the policy number, bank details, social security number, and many others. Make sure these details are as accurate as possible to avoid any shortcomings; otherwise, you may want to conduct a thorough research first.

3. Scroll to the ‘Funeral Decisions’ Section

Once the checklist has been completed, you can then fill out the ‘Funeral Decisions’ section. The time and location of the funeral service, names of the pallbearers, and readings chosen for the funeral are just some information required for this area. Make sure the details listed are already finalized before they have been typed in to ensure a smooth flow on the day of the service.

4. Go to the ‘Information for Obituary’ section

The next thing you need to do is fill out the ‘Information for Obituary’ section. The data required for this area include the date of death and birth of the deceased, cause of death, age, place of birth, education, marital status, spouse, names of father and/or mother, children, and other survivors. In case funeral details have not been determined yet, you can complete this section first.

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5. Save the Checklist and Start Writing

Now it’s time to begin writing the obituary. Including the deceased individual’s general background, such as job promotions, achievements, physical characteristics, and personal traits is one way to create a connection with readers. Using descriptive words such as ‘kind’, ‘brave’, and ‘handsome’ or ‘beautiful’ is a great way to emphasize the positive qualities of a person.

6. Tell a Story

The key to writing a good obituary is to keep it as compelling as possible. Since obituaries are meant to be sincere and personal in nature, you may extend your utmost gratitude towards the people who have been a significant part of the individual’s life. For donation requests and the like, be sure to add the necessary details for others to refer to. It could be for a charity fund, a nonprofit organization or the deceased’s family to cater funeral expenses.

7. Click ‘Save As’ from the ‘File’ Button to Save Your Document

Finally, when you are finished writing your obituary, you can then save the document on your computer. Make sure to save the document in a place that’s easy to locate. It would be best to save the document in a folder with the right file name to avoid confusion. The saved document will then be ready for printing.

However, if you’re worried about losing your composition right before you had the chance to save it, then you can do this step in between writing.

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People come and go so easily, but it’s the way we celebrate those times in between birth and death that matters the most. Although dealing with death can be a tragic experience to go through, it’s important for us to give value to the moments we have shared with the deceased through an obituary. Not only can this serve as a reminder of who the deceased was, but it also serves as a channel to inform friends, relatives, and acquaintances of the sad passing. So, whether you’ve never written an obituary before or possess very little experience in writing one, these steps will help you through the daunting process.

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