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Video: Cool, lesser-known Microsoft Word keyboard shortcuts

Bill Detwiler shares 10+ lesser-known Microsoft Word keyboard shortcuts that let you format text with ease.

Microsoft Word has been a mainstay of business users for years, and whether you're an IT pro or an end user, word-processing is a part of daily life for many of us. You probably have some favorite shortcuts to speed you along in Word already, but in today's episode of TR Dojo, I show you a few of the lesser-known shortcuts that could make you a Microsoft Word Master.

For those who prefer text to video, you can click the Transcript link that appears below the video player window or read Jody Gilbert's article, "10+ lesser-known shortcuts for formatting Word text," on which this episode is based. If you want even more Microsoft Word keyboard shortcuts, check out the following downloads:

You can also sign up to receive the latest TR Dojo lessons through one or more of the following methods:

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

50 comments
lsberkowitz
lsberkowitz

Why isn't this available in a document that I could print out for future reference. Instead it is in a video that I have to watch.

dibl283+zd
dibl283+zd

My absolute favorite: To move an entire paragraph or a bullet item up or down 1) Position the cursor anywhere in the paragraph or bullet item (no need to drag to highlight the text) 2) Use Alt+Shift+up_arrow and Alt+Shift+down_arrow to move to the "block" (paragraph or bullet item) up or down Word will automatically select (highlight) the "block" that contains the cursor and move the selected text. NOTE: This works in PowerPoint too.

pkemke
pkemke

My favorite keyboard shortcut is a "soft return" that starts a new line but does not create a gap between the lines like a hard return would between paragraphs: Shift + Enter

jim.warner
jim.warner

You mention Ctl+Shift+A to toggle all caps on and off. I prefer Shift+F3. This will cycle between no caps, first letter capitalized and all caps.

Animal13
Animal13

Having a Microsoft Server Ad show up that I cannot stop or skip but am forced to listen to makes me reticent to visit the site again. I vote against sites with "In Your Face" ad campaigns by closing them out once an ad starts. MSN is so guilty I do not even attempt to look at videos on their site anymore. The 5 second plug is now up to 30-45 seconds; way more time then I'm willing to spend to see some video...

lisa.sears
lisa.sears

My FAVORITE keyboard shortcut of all time is CTRL + Z for Undo (and it works in Excel and many other apps)!!! You can also hold down the CTRL button and scroll the mouse wheel to go through several font sizes in any of your documents.

patrokov
patrokov

I really don't understand Tech Republic. The content of this should be in an HTML document for easy scanning and reference. The video should just be supplemental. This is why I hardly ever use TechRepublic. They have no clue...

terry
terry

These shortcuts only work when the 'normal' template in place or the template does not re-allocate the shortcut. An example of this is LawPerfect. These shortcuts are no longer applicable as LawPerfect hijacks the shortcuts for other purposes. Some more: Shift F3 has already been mentioned (toggle UPPER, Proper Noun, lowercase) SHIFT F5 (my fav) Move cursor to previous position including when re-opening the doc. CTRL SHIFT > or

ruoccolv
ruoccolv

Do any text formatting commands such as these exist for test used in Excel?

Petetm
Petetm

Why not just use open office or Lotus Symphony (among others) that are free and be done with the MS licensing fees?

gmdoran
gmdoran

Shift+F3 toggles throughfirst letter caps then all caps and back again for anything that is highlited.

knoxbury
knoxbury

You say that ctrl + plus controls superscript and ctrl + equal controls subscript. But the plus and equal sign are the same key. It's actually ctrl + shift + plus controls superscript and ctrl + plus toggles subscript.

keyboards
keyboards

"If you are a heavy Word shortcut user..." Does this imply an overweight keyboarder, or an overly bloated Word document? Maybe "A heavy user of Word shortcuts"??? Juust kidding! One small real comment though Bill; your voice is somewhat muffled. Maybe a bit more treble in the audio processing would make your words sparkle a bit more?

asalwin
asalwin

Even more useful than the shortcuts Bill describes is to define your own. For example, I've defined the various function keys for the most common operations: copy, cut, paste, save, save as, underline, bold, italics. One keystroke on one hand and the operation is accomplished Also defined some control-key shortcuts for such things as "keep with next paragraph". If only Microsoft would allow this capability to define short cuts on their other Office products.

Animal13
Animal13

When I had a Windows Mobile phone, I found that there was a Ctrl key on the onscreen keyboard. The shortcuts I used all the time were: Ctrl - A : Select All Ctrl - B : Bold Ctrl - I : Italic Ctrl - U : Underline

GraphicStart
GraphicStart

Is there a tip for that annoying problem on a Mac in Word when starting up for the first time and no matters what you choose (open new document or cancel) it still opens a new, blank document!?!

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

In the above TR Dojo post, I share 10+ lesser-known Microsoft Word keyboard shortcuts that let you format text with ease. Heavy Word users (end-users and IT pros alike) often love to use shortcuts like these on their own documents, but I'm curious how likely IT departments are to share this information with the end users they support. Take my poll on office suite application support and let me know. Original post and poll: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/itdojo/?p=1511

charleswdavis6670
charleswdavis6670

A couple of was to determine the Excel keyboard shortcuts. Open Excel, press the F1 key on your keyboard (that's a keyboard shortcut for Help). Search for "keyboard shortcuts" (without the quotes). Someone above suggested that OpenOffice Writer might have keyboard shortcuts... press the F1 key. The F1 key has never broken anything!

RickGTOC
RickGTOC

At home, I have the authority to use whatever software suits me. And I take full advantage of that authority. On the other hand, in the cubicle-land of "Corp America," one may be restricted to whatever software suite that the IT Director sanctions -- including that awful move to Office 2007 and the purgatory that is "The Ribbon." When in Rome, it pays to drive on the same side as the Romans, even if it's not what one would do at home.

charleswdavis6670
charleswdavis6670

Why not dump the computer off at a recycle facility and eliminate all software expense? No more viruses, updates, etc. Eliminate IT expense altogether. Also cut down on power usage, have more room in your home or office...

SgtPappy
SgtPappy

This is about MS Word shortcuts. Not about why or why not someone uses one piece of software or another. -add I'll bet some of these shortcuts work in OpenOffice too.

slbl58
slbl58

Shift + F3 toggles 3x - ALL CAPS, Initial Caps and all lowercase btw new tip: you don't have to highlight - or select - the word if you are altering one word only. go to tools, options, edit; under Editing Options, in the right-hand column, select "When selecting, automatically select entire word". with this option checked, you can place your cursor anywhere inside the word and when you press shift+F3 - it will toggle the word as described above. this also works when adding or changing font attributes, etc.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

I thought about including Shift key in the Ctrl + Plus command, but eventually decided against it. I assumed people would understand that you must press the Shift key to actually activate the Plus key and was afraid that saying Ctrl + Shift + Plus would be confusing and technically incorrect as you are actually pressing Ctrl + Shift + Equals to get Ctrl + Plus.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

create a shortcut, right-click on the shortcut that opens Word and then click on Properties . Then skip down to the text line after Target , and using the arrow keys, move to the extreme right end of the line and add a space and then type forward slash n (/n) . No need for a mug, I haven't broken my mugs yet. Your navy blue polos are pretty nice though, mine is fading.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

I don't know. But, I'll offer up a TechRepublic coffee mug to the first person the explains how in a response to this forum post.

Ron_007
Ron_007

I've been a keybored fan since I started computing. That's why I hate the Ribbon Gooey (GUI), it strongly encourages mousing by discouraging keyboarding. It kept many shortcuts, but changed enough to be annoying. Here are a few more links to shortcut collections: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word/HP101476261033.aspx - Word 2007 http://www.c2000.com/mswindow/wordcut1.htm - this one has a HTML table of Word97 shortcuts that I've used as starting point for newer versions. I prefer this tabular layout to simple lists http://www.c2000.com/mswindow/wordcut2.htm - continues on with rest of keyboard http://www.microsoft.com/enable/products/keyboard.aspx - MS collection of links to shortcut pages for various MS products. Kept up to date Print a list of all commands and shortcut key assignments The Print / What / Key Assignments prints the key assignments that you?ve assigned for the current document, if any, & the attached template. To get a complete list of keyboard assignments, press Alt+F8, scroll in the box for ?Macros in? to ?Word Commands? then select the ?ListCommands? & run that command. It will give you a complete list of current keyboard assignments. I, too, have found that the Print / ? / Key Assignments is not necessarily accurate. If you wish to compare current key assignments with MS default ones, open Word from the command line (Start/Run/ winword.exe /a) & then go to ListCommands & run it. Built in Macro - ListCommands A complete set of Word shortcut keys (including your personal customizations) can be printed by: ? to display ?Macros? dialog box ? in the "Macros in" box select ?Word Commands? ? from the list of macros displayed, select ?ListCommands ? Press ?run? button ? make a selection from the dialog box Print dialog Word allows you to assign your own shortcut keys to invoke styles or initiate macros. To print such a list, follow these steps: ? Select Print from the File menu. ? In the ?Print What? drop-down list, select Key Assignments. ? Click on OK. VBA Macro Sub lc() Application.ListCommands ListAllCommands:=1 End Sub http://www.chriswoodman.co.uk/Shortcut%20Organizer.htm - a tool to help you migrate customized shortcuts between word installations Find out what Command a Keyboard combination calls - changes mouse pointer to a clover leaf. Mouse to, and click on a command. The (Tools / Options) Customize dialog box is displayed with the command selected so that it also shows the associated shortcut key combination. (This tip continues to work through Word 2010 Beta, too bad it doesn't also work in http://word.mvps.org/FAQs/General/Shortcuts.htm

cawwilsontx
cawwilsontx

Isn't the shortcut for increase/decrease type size missing the "shift" key? Control + shift + bracket (At least it works that way in PageMaker--where I discovered it years ago--and my old MS Word 97. Maybe you don't need shift in this century's versions of Word?)

nick
nick

I always overlook the title that starts "Video:" and I only see the introductory script that ends with a link "read more". How about ending the script with "watch video". It's only a small point but would be more honest.

TheChas
TheChas

Bill, Both links take me to the blog post. Where is the video? Better yet, where is a list of these commands? Chas

SgtPappy
SgtPappy

Are you crazy? Dump my computer off at the Recycle center? They can take my computer when they can pry it from my cold dead hands.

wfs1946
wfs1946

Repeat that statement three times. . . real fast!

baum4fun
baum4fun

No better shortcut than the F12 key to perform the SAVE AS function! Works as well in several apps.

DanCh
DanCh

If you start Word 2003 from scratch, yes indeed you get a new empty Document1. But, if you then open an already existing document, then Word discards the empty one - there are not 2 entries on the Window menu for you to flip between. So, not so bad after all... If it really bugs you, change how Word starts, and use the startup switch "/n" - without the quotes. So, Start.. Run.. winword /n [see more on these by using Word's help to look for "startup switch" and check the Customise How Word Starts.] I'm sure most folks here could modify a shortcut to Word already... Time for my mug now?

HavaCigar
HavaCigar

There already is a blank document open, most likely to provide processing of normal.dot (or whatever.dot) regardless of what you do, by the time you have the option, the .dot has been processed. Most of the time most users will want to do something in a new document if they open Word directly. If not, they would logically launch Word by (double)clicking on the document or selecting it from their recent list.

SgtPappy
SgtPappy

Now where is my coffee cup?

terry
terry

to do my own. I have now completed a list of my own with a LITTLE help from MS. Gee! their Online Help should be called Online Hindrance. If you can say anything in a few words the MS Hindrance extends it to pages and includes videos on everything but the topic you require! Thanks heavens for Google

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

Using Word 2008 for Mac and Word 2007, Ctrl + [ and Ctrl + ] both change the font for me.

scratchbaker
scratchbaker

I find the videos mostly superfluous. Would really just prefer a text article.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll pass it along to our engineers.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

The video wasn't showing up for some reason, but it's there now. You can find a link to the list of shortcuts, in the paragraph after the poll.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

Indeed, Word 2007 users can create a shortcut to the Word executable using a switch that prevents the application from opening a new, blank document when the program starts. Just put the following in the shortcut's command line box: "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Winword.exe" /n However, these switches don't seem to work on the OS X version of Word--at least not for me. Using AppleScript and OS X Script Editor, I've been able to create a script that open's Word 2008 for Mac and then immediately closes the blank document which the program automatically spawns. I outline the process in the following post: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/itdojo/?p=1518 Although my script reproduces the effect GraphicStart is looking for, it doesn't technically answer the question. I've therefore turned this query into a TR Dojo Challenge question--just check out the link above.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

Afraid "it's a Mac" doesn't quite solve the problem. ;)

terry
terry

CTRL ] increases one point size CTRL SHIFT > increases one font size (goes up in increments as listed in the Font Sizes for the Font.

cawwilsontx
cawwilsontx

Having a senior duh moment, I just realized that I meant the less-than and greater-than symbols, not brackets. And I discovered your trick of Control+[ or ] DOES work in old Word 97. I use Control+Shift+ > or < so now we have two ways of doing this.

TheChas
TheChas

Thank you for the response. Good to see the video. I was not sure if the tips discussed were part of the downloads. Chas