Sunday, December 23, 2007

Very useful Word shortcuts

After about fifteen years of typing on the keyboard nearly eight hours a day, I experience pain in my right wrist, presumably because of excessive mouse use. I wore a wrist band for the next 10 days, changed the keyboard to an ergonomic keyboard and started using keyboard shortcuts extensively. I was able to get rid of the wrist band soon after.

I have selected some of the most useful shortcuts that I use all the time – these are in addition to the common ones that I have listed below.

Common shortcuts in Word





Ctrl + C


Ctrl + P


Ctrl + V


Ctrl + S

Save file

Ctrl + X

Cut and Copy


Save file as

Ctrl + F


Ctrl + B


Ctrl + H

Find and Replace

Ctrl + I


Ctrl + O

Open file

Ctrl + Shift + +


Ctrl + N

Open New Document

Ctrl + Shift + -


If you still use the mouse instead of some of these shortcuts – beware! Your wrist may start complaining, especially if you are typing eight hours a day. Here are the ones that I found useful and worth memorizing:

Useful Shortcuts in Word





Repeat previous action

I would rate this as probably the most useful keyboard shortcut. Paste the same table or apply the same header style on as many pages as you want by pressing just one key!

Ctrl + Alt + (Num) +

Keyboard Shortcut

If you often customize your keyboard shortcuts, this shortcut tells you what action a keyboard action is assigned to. After you press Ctrl + Alt + + , the cursor changes shape to a "four-circle" shape. Now press a keyboard shortcut or bring it click on an icon on the menu bar.

Ctrl + F6

Cycle through documents

If you have several Word documents open and wish to cycle through them, keep pressing this shortcut successively.

Alt + Shift + Left Arrow or Right Arrow

Create Heading Styles

I find this very useful to create Heading styles. If you use the right arrow with Alt + Shift, the Heading style drops from Heading 1, Heading 2 and so on. Useful to format only the headers so that you can create a Table of Contents later in one shot.


Extended selection

You'll love this shortcut. To select a sentence or a block, place the cursor at the beginning of the text, press F8 , then scroll to the end of the text you wish to select, and place your cursor there. That's all! The entire block of text is selected.

Shift + F5

Last Edit Point

Return to your last edit point. Cycle through the last three edit points. To resume at the last edit point when you start work the next day, use this keyboard combination.

Alt + Drag Mouse

Select a column of non-table text

Although this does make use of the mouse, its an excellent method to select a vertical block of text say up to 30 characters.

Shift + F3

Toggle case

Change between ALL CAPS ON to lower case.

Ctrl + A

Select entire document

This selection includes the end paragraph mark also.

Ctrl +F2

Print Preview

I use this quite often to see what the finished document would look like when printed. Press this key combination again to return to the normal view mode (that I usually use).

Besides the above, if you wish to print out a complete list of shortcut keys in Word, do the following:

1. Press Alt + F8.

2. In the "Macros in" box, select Word commands.

3. Click ListCommands in the "Macro name" box.

4. In the "ListCommands" dialog box, select "Current menu and keyboard settings."

5. A complete table of settings with description appears – print or save this file.

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