Lightning-quick mouse tricks for accessing Word formatting options

There are shortcuts... and then there are shortcuts. These tricks may be the absolute fastest way to open the dialog boxes you need for certain Word tasks.

If you spend a fair bit of time hopping into dialog boxes to tweak the appearance of your text or documents, there are some double-click tricks you might find useful. Here's a sampling of the most common ones. (For a more comprehensive list, see 34 timesaving mouse tricks for Word users.)

  • To open the Page Setup dialog box, double-click on the horizontal ruler (the gray part) or the vertical ruler (any part).
  • To open the Paragraph dialog box, double-click on an indent marker on the horizontal ruler.
  • To open the Tabs dialog box, double-click on the horizontal ruler (the white part). This will also set a tab at the spot where you clicked. If you don't want to set a new tab, you can click an existing tab marker.
  • To access bullet or number options, double-click on a bullet character or number in a bulleted or numbered list.
  • To open the Table Properties dialog box, double-click the 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).
  • To open the Page Setup dialog box with This Section selected in the Apply To drop-down list, double-click a section break mark. "This" refers to the section above the section break mark you clicked on.
  • To open the AutoShape dialog box, double-click on an AutoShape.
  • To open the Format Picture dialog box, double-click on a picture or clip art object.
  • To open the Format Text Box dialog box, double-click on the frame of a text box.