The Insert tab has many actions that involve inserting various things into the document.
Above is the one for Word 2016. The sections include Pages, Tables, Illustrations, Add-ins, Media, Links, Comments, Header and Footer, Text, Symbols, and Section Break. The arrangement of these will be different for earlier versions of Word.
Cover Page gives you options to add a fancy pre-formatted cover page to your document. These contain a place to put your title and includes a design and sometimes a picture.
Blank Page simply allows you to add a blank page anywhere in your document.
Page Break is the one you use when you want to start a new page without keying in a lot of returns to bring you to another page. It creates a break and sends your cursor to a new page. This is handy for starting a chapter or section at the top of a new page. The Page Break also retains all your formats for page numbering and headers/footers.
The options in Table include inserting a table with the columns and rows grid provided, or from commands. You can also add tables (Quick Tables) that are already formatted in various designs for you. These can be anything from calendars to shopping lists.
You can insert illustrations from your computer and online from this section.
Pictures refers to photos or illustrations saved on your computer or any computer you have a connection to. You can also take them from a USB drive connected to your computer. These pictures can be resized and formatted to whatever you require.
Online Pictures connects you to online options on the internet. Naturally, you will have to seek permission to publish anything you download from online unless it is what is called public domain, which is free to use.
Shapes has numerous options to insert shapes from lines and rectangles to stars and arrows etc. When you decide on a shape and click on it, it will not automatically appear in your document. You must use your cursor (now showing as a cross) to draw it as you want it. You decide on its length and breadth and position. It can be placed anywhere, and moved to where you want it.
SmartArt takes it a step further and does automatically insert the art you choose at the next insertion point. These are graphics that you can use for business documents, and include such options as flow charts and diagrams. They can also be resized but positioning is restricted.
Chart is as it suggests, providing options for all kinds of charts from line and bar charts to pie charts. You must provide the data for the charts in a window that appears for that purpose.
Screenshot will allow you to take a snapshot of any window that is open on your desktop. When you click on it, any program that is open will show in the options. Just select the program window you want a snapshot of, and left click. The snapshot appears as a picture at your next insertion point. If programs are minimised, they will not show in the options for Screenshot, and you cannot take a screenshot of the document you are using (obviously). If you want more control to take a snapshot of only a specific portion of anything open on your desktop, I would suggest using the Windows Snipping Tool instead.
This section may not appear in earlier versions of Word, and is not crucial. It merely adds convenience and options not already included in the program. The section includes the Microsoft Store where you can buy add-ins; the My Add-ins which lists those you have bought, and the option to include the Wikipedia add-in for free.
In this section you can insert videos from a variety of online sources. It is perhaps not something that most people would use, but it’s there for those who are producing instructive or business documents.
Links takes you to other parts of your document or opens an email or web page.
Hyperlink is for web pages and email links that you can include in your document, and activate so anyone clicking on them will be sent to that web page or it will open their email with the chosen email address.
Bookmark allows you to create a virtual bookmark at any point in your document so you can come back to it later. You need to select the text that you want to bookmark then click on Bookmark to name it and add it. You can then use the Go To (see under Find) command to take you to any bookmark that you have created.
Cross-reference will allow you to link to another part of a document such as a heading or bookmark from the insertion point of your cursor. Clicking on Cross-reference gives you options to choose from. You can then choose the thing you want to link to and click on it. The link will then appear at your insertion point. Pressing Ctrl+click will take you to that point in the document.
The Comments section is mainly used by editors and teachers to place a comment to material in the document. The comment will appear to the right of the document and also when you wave your cursor over the text to which the comment refers. Right clicking the comment allows you to review the comment and delete it when satisfied.
HEADER AND FOOTER
The Header is an area at the top margin of a page where you can type in text that will automatically appear at the top of every page. Usually this is the document title and/or author. You have the choice to adopt one of the MS Office header designs or just create your own or add text without a design. You can use the left/right/centre actions in the Home tab to align the text to the left or right or centre of the Header. When you are in the Header, the rest of the page goes dim and your access is restricted to the Header until you close it. Other options appear for you to vary the text for odd and even pages and navigate between headers. You can also insert a page number which will automatically update all other pages with the correct page numbers displayed.
The Footer is the complement of the Header, and applies to the bottom margin section of the page. This is where page numbering is usually placed, but you can do everything to the Footer that applies to the Header.
Double clicking on the Header or Footer will immediately open that section for adding text or editing it. In Word 2016, working in the Header and Footer will take you to an alternative Design tab that only appears at this time.
The Text section includes actions for Text Box, Quick Parts, WordArt, Drop Cap, Signature Line, Date and Time, and Object.
The Text Box gives you the option to use a provided design or draw your own Text Box. A Text Box is a separate box-shaped area that you can size and position anywhere in the document. Text and pictures can be included in the box, and it can have its own border and background colour. However, they can be tricky to work with if there are a lot of text boxes, text and illustrations etc. in the document.
Quick Parts gives you access to insert Auto Text, a Document Property, Field, or insert template Headers, Footers, Cover Pages, Bibliography options etc.
Auto Text is text that you have copied from anywhere in the document that you want to repeat throughout the document. You first select it, open Quick Parts and save it under the option Save Selection to Quick Parts Gallery. You can then access it under the Auto Text option.
Document Property gives you options to insert a field that is like a separate text box with information such as the author of the document, category and so on.
WordArt gives you a creative option that is mainly useful for special design headings and text that incorporates design aspects such as shadow lettering and outlines. They can be positioned anywhere and at any angle. You can further determine colouring of the letters and background plus many other effects.
The Drop Cap is used at the start of a paragraph or section as another design feature. You have two main options of letting the Drop Cap be applied with the text or in the margin. You can also determine how many lines that the drop cap will occupy and how far away from the rest of the text you place it.
The Signature Line is simply a line that specifies the person to sign the document and shows an ‘X’ above a hard line for where the person must sign. You enter the details of the person to sign plus their email address if required.
DATE & TIME
The Date & Time setting gives you options to insert the current date and offers a choice of formats.
With Object, you can insert a different type of file (e.g. PDF) into the document. Clicking on it opens a choice of file types available to you. You can also take text from another document.
The Symbols section covers Equations and Symbols. If you are a mathematician, then you may want to insert an equation from the choices given. Obviously, the Symbols button gives you a vast choice of symbols that can be used in a text document, such as the copyright, pound sterling and Euro symbols – ©, £, €.
You can add another ‘group’ on the Ribbon here. Right click on the space to the right on the Ribbon and click on Customise the Ribbon to add any Commands that are otherwise not shown. A window displays with all the Commands available. Once you select the command you want, an Add button allows you to add the Command to those you already have in the Ribbon. You can also rename the group (default New Group) to whatever you wish. I added the Section Break command to the ribbon in the screenshot above.