Many of us writerly types spend a lot of time in Microsoft Word, and I even know a few Web designers who like to use it and Microsoft Excel for doing simple site prototyping work. Whether you’re sentenced to use Word all day by a dictatorial IT department, or it’s simply your word processor of choice, you can save time and have more options by mastering a few easy shortcuts.
The seven tips I’ll list here are very easy to learn. They work in most versions of Word, and under Windows or on a Mac:
Where Was I? I get up and walk around frequently when I’m writing—gets the blood flowing. Sometimes I close a document I am editing, and when I come back to it and open it up, I just hit Shift + F5 to return to the exact place in the document where I was editing.
Serial Saves. If you’re like me, you often have many documents open at once. For safety’s sake, I like to frequently save all of them at once. To do this, hold down the Shift key when you go to the File menu. This changes Save to Save All.
Paragraph Hopping. You can circumvent the multi-step process of cutting, pasting and deleting to move paragraphs with an easy paragraph hopping feature. Often when I’m writing, I decide that a given paragraph would work better above or below another one. Do this: Go into a document with several paragraphs and put your cursor at the beginning of one of the middle paragraphs. Hold down the Shift and Alt keys in unison, then use the up and down arrow keys to “hop” the paragraph to new positions in the document.
One Fell Swoop Word Deletion. You can delete entire words with your keyboard. Just put your cursor at the beginning of the word and press Ctrl and Del together. This is very useful when editing.
Customize Line Spacing and Alignment. The Ctrl key is your best buddy when you want to experiment with line spacing and alignment variations. Ctrl + 1 provides single spacing, Ctrl + 2 provides double spacing and Ctrl + 5 provides 1-1/2 line spacing. Ctrl + R right aligns a paragraph, Ctrl + L left aligns one, and Ctrl + E centers one.
Quick Selecting. You can select all text between the current location of your cursor and the end of the current paragraph by hitting Ctrl + Shift and the down arrow.
Serial Undo. Many Word users are familiar with using Ctrl + Z to undo the last change that was made to a document, but did you know you can serially undo the last several changes you made? Just keep hitting Ctrl + Z to do so.
Do you have any Word shortcuts to share?