34 timesaving mouse tricks for Word users

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Keyboard shortcuts are a mainstay for most Word users who are trying to streamline their work. Even brand-new users start slinging around Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V soon after mastering the intricacies of scrolling. But keyboard shortcuts are often nonintuitive and hard to remember. (What mnemonic would you use to recall that Ctrl+E centers document text or that Ctrl+T produces a hanging indent?)

That's where mouse shortcuts -- the unsung hero of built-in functionality -- can take up the slack. Users probably know the basic moves: Right-click on an item to display a shortcut menu, double-click to select a word, triple-click to select a paragraph. But Word has quite a few additional mouse tricks up its sleeve. This overview will help you (and your users) learn some easily remembered techniques to gain quick access to a host of Word options.


Action Result
Double-click an indent marker on the horizontal ruler Opens the Paragraph dialog box
Double-click the vertical ruler (in Print Preview) or the gray area of the horizontal ruler Opens the Page Setup dialog box
Double-click a tab marker on the horizontal ruler Opens the Tabs dialog box
Double-click the style area Opens the Style dialog box. (To display the style area, make sure you're in Normal view, choose Tools | Options | View, and enter a value in the Style Area Width text box.) This is a particularly neat trick for those who prefer setting style options in a dialog box instead of in the task pane.
Double-click a section break mark (visible in Normal view) Opens the Page Setup dialog box with This Section selected in the Apply To drop-down list. "This" refers to the section above the section break mark you clicked on.
Double-click a paragraph properties mark Opens the Line And Page Breaks tab in the Paragraph dialog box. The mark is a small black square that appears to the left of a paragraph that has the Keep Lines Together, Page Break Before, or Keep With Next option enabled. (The display of Formatting Marks must be turned on to see these marks; you may need to click Show/Hide ¶ on the Standard toolbar to turn on the display.)
Double-click a number in a numbered list Opens the Numbered tab in the Bullets And Numbering dialog box
Double-click a bullet in a bulleted list Opens the Bulleted tab in the Bullets And Numbering dialog box

Objects and pictures

Action Result
Double-click the frame of a text box Opens the Format Text Box dialog box
Double-click an AutoShape Opens the Format AutoShape dialog box
Double-click a WordArt object Opens the Edit WordArt dialog box
Double-click an embedded object, such as an Excel worksheet or PowerPoint slide Opens the object for editing
Double-click a picture Opens the Format Picture dialog box
Double-click a control (check box, command button, etc.) Launches the VB Editor and open the properties and code window for that item

Miscellaneous tasks

Action Result
Hold down Ctrl and click within a sentence Selects sentence
Hold down Ctrl and drag selected text or an object Creates a copy of the text or object
Double-click the split bar at the top of the horizontal scroll bar Splits the window into two panes; double-click the top border of the lower pane to remove the split
Double-click in the header or footer area (in Print Layout view) Activates the header or footer; double-click in the main text area to return to it
In Print Layout view, click between pages Shows or hides the white space between them
Double-click an unused area beside any toolbar Displays the Customize dialog box
Right-click on any toolbar Displays the toolbars list
Double-click a footnote/endnote marker Jumps to the corresponding footnote/endnote (and vice versa)
Double-click the top border of the Reviewing Pane Closes the pane and returns you to the main text area
Double-click the right border of the Document Map or Thumbnails pane Closes the pane
Double-click the document title bar Toggles between maximized and restored window size. (Little-known related trick: The same thing happens if you double-click the gray square at the intersection of the horizontal and vertical scroll bars.)
Double-click a Move Table Column marker (those little dotted squares you see on the horizontal ruler when you're in a table) or the Table Move Handle (the four-headed arrow that appears at the top-left corner of a table in Print Layout view) Opens the Table Properties dialog box
Click the Table Move Handle Selects the table
Double-click the plus symbol next to a heading in Outline view Expands or collapses the heading's subordinate text

Status bar tools

Action Result
Double-click the status bar anywhere to the left of the REC item Opens the Go To dialog box
Double-click REC on the status bar Opens the Record Macro dialog box
Double-click TRK on the status bar Turns track changes on and off. (Right-clicking on TRK will bring up a shortcut menu of additional options.)
Double-click EXT on the status bar Turns extend selection mode on and off
Double-click OVR on the status bar Turns overtype mode on and off
Double-click the Spelling And Grammar Status icon on the status bar Checks document spelling and grammar. (Right-clicking will bring up a shortcut menu of additional options.)