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12 Time-Saving Tips for Microsoft Word

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Despite the availability of many excellent, free word processors many of us still spend most of our writing time in Microsoft Word. It tends to be the most compatible tool you can choose to exchange documents with others, and lots of people are even forced to use it by dictatorial IT departments. In this post, I’ll round up some good tips that can make you more productive and save you lots of time in Word.

Paste Your Formats. If you want to apply your formatting and styles for a given paragraph or document to a new paragraph or document, hit Ctrl+Shift+C to copy, select the text you want to apply the formatting to, then hit Ctrl+Shift+V. Colors, fonts, styles and all other formatting will be applied.


Take me Back. If you need to step away from a document but want to have your cursor sitting right where you left it in the middle of an editing session when you return, you don’t have to leave your document open. Go ahead and close it. When you reopen it to resume editing, hit Shift+F5 to take your cursor back to precisely where you were.

Select a Whole Document. To select an entire document for copying or deletion, hit Ctrl+A.

Experiment with Paragraph Placement. Often, one paragraph or another in a document might work better above or below its current location. You don’t have to cut and paste to move paragraphs around. Just hold down the Shift and Alt keys together, then use the up and down arrow keys to move the paragraph around in the document.

More Paragraph Shuffling. Hit CTRL+E, CTRL+L, or CTRL+R to center, left-align or right-align a paragraph.

Create a Line. To create a horizontal line across the width of a document, as you might do to separate one part of a document from another, hit the hyphen key three times and then hit Enter.

Save Many Documents at Once. Do you have eight Word documents open and need to take a break? To rapidly save all open documents, hold down the Shift key and go to Word’s File menu. The usual Save menu choice will show up as Save All.

Rapid-Fire Sentence Jettison. Hold down the Ctrl key when you click on any sentence to highlight the whole sentence, then hit Delete. While you’re at it, click three times in rapid succession in any paragraph to select the whole thing, then hit delete if you want it gone.

Rapid-Fire Word Jettison. Double click your mouse on any word in a document to select it, then hit Delete.

Rapid-Fire Table Jettison.
To quickly get rid of a table, select it and hit backspace.

Beginnings and Endings. Hit Ctrl+Home or Ctrl+End to go to the beginning or end of a document.

Subscript or Superscript?
Hit Ctrl+ when you have a word, sentence or paragraph selected for subscript. Hit Ctrl, Shift+ for superscript.

Do you have any good Word tips?

19 Responses to “12 Time-Saving Tips for Microsoft Word”

  1. Always find the non-breaking space (ctrl-shift-spacebar, represented by the degree circle symbol) extremely useful in keeping phone numbers, currency amounts etc together. Much better than line breaks of any sort, as these will create problems if you need to reformat that part of the document in the future.

  2. I love the programmable auto-correct feature. Of course, if you type teh, Word will automatically change it to the.

    But you can add words to the list. In fact, you can add just about anything to the list. I created a letterhead, with my name in bold left aligned, a horizontal ling beneath it, then my address and phone number right aligned in small type, plus a couple of carriage returns to get me down to where I’d like to start typing my letter. Then I selected the whole thing and opened the autocorrect dialog, which came up with the selected text, including fonts and alignment, listed as the “change to” text. I typed “alhead” in as the “change from” text and the job was done. Now all I have to do is type alhead as the first word in a document, and it is instantly on my letterhead.

    The only problem is, what with email and texting, I virtually never send any snail mail any more…

  3. Paste Your Formats. If you want to apply your formatting and styles for a given paragraph or document to a new paragraph or document

    The right thing to do is to use Styles in the first place. It’s one of those things — like using version control — that seems like a lot more work, when it’s really a lot less. Learn about styles, use them. Want to apply your carefully-crafted font, border, and paragraph settings to a paragraph? Put your cursor there, and select the style from the styles sidebar or dropdown. Poof.

    The big gain, though, comes in changing the style itself. If you write documentation, say, and you have a style called “code example” — and you decide that your code examples should use Consolas instead of Courier one day. If you used the style, all you have to do is edit the style itself, and all your code examples’ formats will change.

    Saves a lot of time in formatting documents for submission, too…

  4. Those are some great tips. I have saved myself a lot of time in memorizing some of the keyboard shortcuts and applying them. I’m a fast typer and moving up to the menus can really slow me down.

  5. The “paste your format” tip is simply excelent. I wish I knew it years ago. I am going to look if it works also in Power Point…. Other tips I often use
    – Well known ctrl + Z and Crtl + Y for undo and redo actions
    – crtl + M & Crtl + T for text indent