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Master Microsoft Word with These 75 Quick and Easy Shortcuts

According to Microsoft’s most recent estimates, more than 1.2 billion people around the world use Microsoft Word. This word processing gold standard is used in 140 countries and supports 107 languages-numbers unmatched by just about any other software.

Even though many people use Microsoft Word, not everyone knows how to maximize the capabilities of the program. Word is packed with a multitude of features that can help make the creation of documents, reports, and text files easier.

Below are 75 of our favorite shortcuts, tips, tricks, and timesavers to supercharge your use of Microsoft Word. Try a few out today and let us know what works for you. (Most of these suggestions work with all versions of Word, but some are exclusive to newer versions like Word 2013, 2016, or 2016 for Mac.)

1. Delete entire words at a time.

This is an easy one you may not know about: instead of slowly deleting individual portions of text, or holding down Backspace to eliminate words or entire sentences, press Ctrl + Backspace with the cursor placed after a word you want to erase.

2. Copy, paste, and cut with keyboard shortcuts.

Ask anyone who knows these shortcuts — Ctrl + C to copy, Ctrl + V to paste, and Ctrl + X to cut — and they will testify to their importance. Master these three basic commands first and you’ll find yourself creating documents much faster.

3. Quickly zoom in or out to save eye strain.

Some people like to work in a Word window zoomed in to 150%, while others like to eliminate the need to scroll left and right or up and down by zooming out to 75%. Either way, use the Window > Zoom button to choose the setting that works best for you — or look for the “100%” tab with a slider at the bottom right of the document to easily zoom in or out.

4. Use Smart Lookup to search the Internet

Anytime you highlight a word or phrase and right-click it, you’ll see “Smart Lookup,” which serves as a quick shortcut to browse the web without slowing down to open a separate browser window. From word definitions to news scans, this powerful tool can transform a simple question into a wealth of knowledge.

5. Tell the program exactly what you want to do.

Most newer versions of Word include a handy “Tell me what you want to do” field at the top of the toolbar. Insert a word or phrase pertaining to any instruction and the program can quickly identify the command you’re looking for.

6. Remove unwanted formatting.

Trying to turn a document from an external source into something that works for you? Strange formatting can slow you down, so instead of trying to fix one thing at a time, press Ctrl + Space or click the Clear All Formatting button (in newer versions, an eraser on an A on the Home tab) to remove formatting from highlighted text, and start fresh with your own style.

7. Use multiple clicks to select chunks of copy.

Rather than employing the tedious drag and highlight method, you can use your mouse to select chunks of copy: double-click over a word to highlight it or triple-click to highlight an entire sentence or section.

8. Quickly insert links into a document.

Similar to the copy/paste/cut commands, learning the keyboard shortcut for adding web links to a document — Ctrl + K — will save lots of time and quickly become one of the most effective tools in your kit.

9. Select the default font you want, not the default font Word wants you to use.

Don’t like Calibri or Cambria? Prefer Arial to Times New Roman, or like the modern nature of Verdana? The best part about Microsoft Word is you can choose the default font — this command differs by version, but the most reliable way is to click Format > Font, select the attributes you want, and then click Default.

10. Find any word you want quickly and easily

Instead of using your mouse to navigate to the Find command, click Ctrl + F to either open the window (in older versions of Word), or move the cursor automatically to the Search in Document menu that always appears in the toolbar in newer versions.

BONUS TIP: Click the drop-down arrow on the Find menu’s magnifying glass and click Replace to automatically replace a certain word or phrase with a different word or phrase you specify. 

No matter what your level of proficiency with Microsoft Word, we could all use a boost to make our use of the program more productive and efficient. Curious about how the Office productivity suite can have an impact on your day-to-day operations? Wondering whether it’s time to upgrade your version of Word? Want to tell us about other tips and tricks that have impacted your use of the program? Contact CMIT Solutions today.

11. Replace any word or phrase with the appropriate word.

Click the drop-down arrow on the Find menu’s magnifying glass and click Replace to automatically replace the chosen word or phrase with a different word or phrase you specify.

12. Open a document.

Want to open an existing document? All you need to do is to press Ctrl + O and a list of documents will appear on your screen.

13. Create a new document.

Microsoft word has shortcuts that help to reduce time. In order to create a new, untitled document click Ctrl + N.

14. Undo.

The most common and useful shortcut of all time, Ctrl + Z will undo your last action. With this small trick you can erase your errors without having to highlight and delete them.

15. Redo.

If you delete something by mistake, no problem! In that case, simply click Ctrl + Y to redo the last action.

16. Help.

If you need help or assistance from MS Word, press F1 to open the Help and Support panel.

17. Move the insertion point.

For sake of navigating the insertion point, use the up, down, left, and right Arrow keys anywhere in the document. The up and down Arrow key will also move the page in upward or downward direction.

18. Move one word at a time.

By pressing the shortcut key Ctrl + Left/Right Arrow, you will be able to move the insertion point an entire word at a time to the left or right.

19. Move one paragraph at a time.

If you click Ctrl + Up/Down Arrow, you will be able to move the insertion point entire paragraphs at a time up or down.

20. Move to the beginning of the current line.

You are in the middle of a sentence but need to add something at the beginning of the line. Instead of moving your mouse, press Home in the keypad to move the insertion point to the start of the line.

21. Move to the beginning of the document.

Just like by clicking Home you come to the beginning of the line your cursor is on, pressing Ctrl + Home moves the insertion point to the start of the document.

22. Move to end of the current line.

Similarly, if you click End, you can move the insertion point to the end of the line.

23. Move to end of the document.

In order to reach at the last page of your document, press Ctrl + End. This will help reach the end of the document without having to scroll through all the pages.

24. Bold.

If the title of your document needs to be bold, you can press Ctrl + B to bold the selected text, or to start typing the letters in bold.

25. Italics.

Click Ctrl + I to italics the selected text or type the letters in italics.

26. Underline.

To underline words or phrases, click Ctrl + U. By pressing this shortcut key, you can either start typing letter in underline or simply underline the selected text.

27. Underline words only.

It may so happen that you want to underline some specific words and not the space between the words. In that case, press Ctrl + Shift + W to underline the selected text without underlining the spaces between words.

28. Center.

Ctrl + E will ensure that the selected content of your document will be in the center of the page. With this, the line of text where the insertion point is located will be adjusted to the center. The center alignment offers a formal appearance to the document and is often used for cover pages or headings.

29. Make the font smaller.

Click Ctrl and the left bracket ([) to make the font smaller one point at a time. Ctrl+[ helps to decrease the font size.

30. Make the font bigger.

Ctrl + ] increases the font size of the selected text. Click Ctrl and the right bracket (]) to make the font larger one point at a time.

31. Change text to uppercase.

In order to change the selected text to all uppercase, click Ctrl + Shift + A.

32. Change text to lowercase.

By pressing Ctrl + Shift + K, you can change the selected text to all lowercase.

33. Insert a page break.

How often do you accidentally delete too much or too little of the space between pages by manually highlighting? You can make this task much easier by clicking Ctrl + Enter to insert a page break at the insertion point.

34. Select everything in the document.

Instead of holding down the left mouse button and scrolling through the document, click Ctrl + A to highlight the entire document instantly.

35. Select text one character at a time.

Click Shift + Arrow to select text to the left or right, one character at a time.

36. Select text one word at a time.

Press Ctrl + Shift + Arrow to select multiple words one at a time to the left or right.

37. Select from insertion point back to start of the line.

By clicking Shift + Home, you can select everything from the insertion point back to the start of the line.

38. Select from the insertion point to end of the line.

Press Shift + End to select everything from the insertion point forward to the end of the line.

39. Enter selection mode.

Click F8 to enter selection mode. Every arrow movement or click of the mouse selects text, similar to holding the Shift key down. Again, to exit selection mode, press Esc.

40. Cut text to the spike.

What is a spike? The Spike is an extended clipboard feature of Microsoft Word. It allows you to remove two or more items (such as text or graphics) from nonadjacent locations in a Word document, and then insert the items as a group in a new location or document.  Click Ctrl + F3 to cut the selected text and move it to the spike. If you want to add an item to the spike without cutting it from its original place, click Ctrl + F3 and immediately press Undo (Ctrl + Z). The item will remain in the spike.

41. Paste the spike.

Click Ctrl + Shift + F3 to paste the spike at the insertion point in your document. Each selected sentence or word gets pasted onto its own line.

42. Move to the next cell.

Press Tab to move to the next cell in a table and select that cell. Additionally, the tab key is used to automatically indent a paragraph, or move a paragraph or selected selection to the next outlined level.

43. Move to the previous cell.

Press Shift + Tab to move to the previous cell in a table and select that cell. Also, this can be used to remove an indent, or to move a paragraph or selected selection to the previous outlined level.

44. Move to the first cell in a row.

Press Alt + Home to move to the first cell in the current row. Alt + Home is also used to open the homepage in an active tab.

45. Move to the last cell in a row.

By clicking Alt + End, you can move to the last cell in the current row.

46. Move to the top of a column.

In order to move to the first cell in the current column, Microsoft Office offers you a short key i.e. Alt + Page Up.

47. Move to the bottom of a column.

In order to move to the last cell in the current column, you can click Alt + Page Down.

48. Cancel.

Press Esc to terminate any task you are unwilling at the moment to complete. In some cases, you may also need to click “Cancel.” By pressing this key, you can cancel the ongoing process or program, or close a pop-up window.

49. Open the Save As window.

Click F12 to bring up the Save As dialog box to save the document with a particular filename or within a new folder.

50. Close the current document.

With one click, you can now save and close your document. The shortcut key Ctrl + W is often used to close the current document. If it hasn’t been saved, Word will inquire if you want to save it.

51. Split the window.

Alt + Ctrl + S is often used to divide the current document into sections so that you can refer to or edit two parts on-screen. By pressing the keys again, you can close the split.

52. Zoom.

Press Alt + W and then click Q to bring up the zoom control to transform the magnification of Word on your screen. This does not affect the size of the document on the printed page.

53. Exit

If you wish to exit from the ongoing process, program, or document, press Alt + F4.

54. You can check your spelling.

Microsoft Word provides an easy way to check your spelling. By pressing F7 you can open a dialog box that keeps track of potentially misspelled words, and allows you to correct them.

55. Collapse the ribbon.

Need more space? Press Ctrl + F1 to collapse the ribbon so that only the tab names are shown. You can pin the ribbon by following the same trick, pressing Ctrl + F1, and keep it open while you work.

56. Outline border.

Click Ctrl + Shift + & to apply the outline border to the selected text.

56. Outline border.

Click Ctrl + Shift + & to apply the outline border to the selected text.

57. General number format

Press Ctrl + Shift + ~ to apply general number format.

58. Currency format with two decimal places.

Microsoft Word offers another shortcut that will help you apply the currency format within two decimal places (negative numbers in parenthesis). Press Ctrl + Shift + $ for this.

59. Percentage format without decimal places.

By pressing Ctrl + Shift + %, you can apply percentage format with no decimal places.

60. Hide the selected column.

By clicking Ctrl + 0 you can hide the selected column. This can also toggle line space between paragraphs.

61. Hide the selected rows

You can hide the selected rows with a single click. All you need to do is press Ctrl + 9.

62. Display or hide the outlined symbols.

Press Ctrl + 8 and choose to display or hide the outline symbols.

63. Alternate between hiding and displaying.

Alternate between hiding objects, displaying objects, and displaying placeholders with one single click. Press Ctrl + 6.

64. Double spacing

Click Ctrl + 2 to set line spacing to double.

65. 1.5 line spacing

Set your desired distance between lines. Press Ctrl + 5 to set line spacing to 1.5.

66. Single line spacing.

Click Ctrl + 1 and set the line spacing to single.

67. Insert copyright symbol.

You can now insert a copyright symbol in your document. This can be done by pressing Alt + Ctrl + C.

68. Insert trademark symbol.

You can also add a trademark symbol, performed by clicking Alt + Ctrl + T.

69. Insert registered trademark symbol.

For inserting a registered trademark symbol, press keys Alt + Ctrl + R.

70. Ellipsis

An ellipsis symbol … also known informally as dot-dot-dot, is a series of (usually three) dots that indicates an intentional omission of a word, sentence, or whole section from a text without altering its original meaning. Press Alt + Ctrl + . to add ellipsis symbol.

71. Data field

Stop badgering yourself trying to find the current date and adding to your document manually. To insert that data field- Alt + Shift + D.

72. Time field

Stop wasting time to insert time in your document. Simply press Alt + Shift + T to insert time field.

73. Page field

Press Alt + Shift + P to insert page field in your document.

74. List field

Press Alt + Shift + L to insert the list field in your document.

75. Empty Field.

Press Ctrl + F9 to insert empty field.

No matter your level of proficiency with Microsoft Word, we could all use a little boost to make our use of the program more productive and efficient. Curious about how the Office productivity suite can have an impact on your day-to-day operations? Wondering whether it’s time to upgrade your version of Word? Want to tell us about other tips and tricks that have impacted your use of the program? Contact CMIT Solutions today.

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