Six clicks: Microsoft Word tricks to make you an instant expert

Six clicks: Microsoft Word tricks to make you an instant expert

Summary: There's much more to Word than just pointing, clicking, typing, and spell-checking. In this gallery, I present six of my favorite hidden features to make you more productive when creating and editing Word documents.

TOPICS: Software

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  • Power tips for Microsoft Word

    Most people use only a fraction of the features in Microsoft Word. That's not surprising, given the sheer breadth of capabilities that Word has.

    The secret of maximum productivity with Word is learning how to shave steps off the tasks you perform everyday. In this gallery, I present a half-dozen of my favorite time-saving shortcuts, which work in Word 2010 and Word 2013.

  • Master Heading styles in Word documents

    The built-in heading styles (Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, and so on) are incredibly useful, especially in longer documents such as reports. When you use headings, you can switch into Outline view (from the View tab) to see your document in the form shown here. Click the plus sign to the left of any heading to collapse it. Click and drag that plus sign (it turns to a minus sign if collapsed) to drag everything under that heading to a new place in your document.

    Here are two secrets every Word user should know about headings:

    • You can automatically apply the first three levels of Heading styles using keyboard shortcuts. Click anywhere in the line you want to use as a heading and press Ctrl+Alt+1 to apply the Heading 1 format. Use Ctrl+Alt+2 or Ctrl+Alt+3 for Heading 2 and Heading 3 styles.
    • In Draft and Outline views, you can make the Style pane visible on the left, showing you at a glance which styles are in use for each paragraph. Normally, this pane is hidden. To turn it on, click File, Options, then click Advanced in the Word Options dialog box. Scroll down to the Display section and find the "Style area pane width" section. Enter any value greater than zero (start with 0.5") and click OK. Choose Draft or Outline from the View tab to see the newly visible pane, which you can resize with the mouse.

     [Updated to fix a typo in the keyboard shortcuts.]

Topic: Software

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  • View | Macros

    is my favourite power feature. Even if you don't program, recording an action allows you to easily design your own new Word features (View | Macros |Record Macro - and you can then assign a keyboard shortcut.)
    • Thanks for excellent tip

      Macros are wonderful. Very good productivity tool, easy to use... Thanks for posting.
  • If on a Mac

    Using custom keyboard shortcuts is a nice time saver. If have the paste without formatting mapped to command option shift v
  • Shift-F3

    My personal favorite is Shift-F3. That changes the capitalization of the selected text. For example, select a word and then press Shift-F3. It will change to proper capitalization (the first letter is capitalized). Press it again and the word will change to all caps. Again, and it reverts to all lower case. If you don't make a selection before pressing Shift-F3, it will capitalize the word where the cursor is currently located.
    • That's a good one

      and I didn't know it. Always hunting for it in the ribbon!
      • Hated ribbon has "change case" feature.

        Home --> Font --> Change case. The icon is a capital A and a lower case a: Aa. It's located about 6 icons to the right of the Bold icon, of a standard (non-customized) ribbon.

        You can choose 'sentence case, ' 'upper case' or 'lower case.'

        You you can find out a lot of cool features by just browsing the menus.
      • I have really come to like the ribbon.

        The one thing I have noticed is that while it is different, once you find your tool, you seem to immediately remember where it is going forward. Yes, finding it is a pain at first, but for whatever the reason I always know after that initial hunt.
  • Format Painter

    Perhaps one of my biggest beefs with Office (minor though it is), is that Ctrl+Y doesn't work with Format Painter.
    • Or with the Highlighter

      Which is equally baffling and frustrating.
      Ed Bott
    • Copy/Paste Format could be useful

      I use the Format Painter icon because I've gotten lazy. Long before the Ribbon, CTRL-Shift-C would Copy Format (including highlights) in a selection, and CTRL-Shift-V would Paste Format wherever you want….over and over. It still works. You can get that repeat feature by double-clicking the Format Painter icon.

      My keyboard shortcuts list is a bit longer. Two favorites: Indent Paragraph (CTRL-M & CTRL-Shift-M) and Hang Paragraph (CTRL-T & CTRL-Shift-T). Got soooo bored of working on documents with people who just hit Enter and Space-barred over to get the look of a hanging indent.

      Another basic: Don’t format in Word unless you are viewing formatting marks in Page Layout view. There is no other practical way that you can know exactly what you are selecting, editing, etc. The ¶ icon is on the Home Ribbon in the Paragraph chunk. Keyboard shortcut: CTRL-* is a toggle: it makes formatting marks visible, and turns them off. That keyboard sequence works in all of the primary MS Office applications.
      HC Crain
    • Use styles instead of format painter

      It is easy to define a new paragraph or inline style. Each style is based on an existing style, they can work as CSS in HTML, when you override only a couple of things from the parent style. Define a few well thought out custom styles of your life will be much easier.

      To apply the same formatting to multiple places with the format painter, double-click the ribbon icon. It will stay active until it is pushed again.
    • Use the shortcuts for Format Painter

      Ctrl+Shift+C = Copy Formatting
      Ctrl+Shift+V = Past Formatting.

      The great thing is that the formatting stays in a special formatting clipboard, and is there until you put something else there. That means that you can type, navigate, and even cut/paste text, and not lose that one format that you want to apply!
  • Ctrl-Alt-1, 2, or 3

    In Office 2010, select headings 1 - 3 with Ctrl-Alt, not Shift-Alt.
    rob weller
    • typo

      Oops, I meant: not Ctrl-Shift.
      rob weller
    • Ack, did I type that wrong?

      It should be Ctrl+Alt+1. Will fix.
      Ed Bott
  • Shortcut for outline / heading

    My favorite keyboard shortcut: CTRL-SHIFT + UP or DOWN moves outline sections up or down. This is fantastic for randomizing multiple choice questions on tests and it's also good for moving blocks of text around.
    • Edit: It's ALT-SHIFT, not CTRL-SHIFT

      Edit: It's ALT-SHIFT, not CTRL-SHIFT
  • Six clicks: Microsoft Word tricks to make you an instant expert

    Thanks, learned a few good tricks between your six clicks and the comments.
  • Here's a good one...

    Reassign the following functions to the keys indicated:

    Repeat Last Edit -- F4
    Find -- ctrl + F4
    Repeat Last Find -- shift + F4
    Replace -- ctrl + shift + F4

    Now watch what happens when you have to locate and replace /particular/ instances of a word, rather than all of them.
  • Why are there so many HIDDEN features?

    I feel so dumb whenever I use WORD. I know that I can do almost anything but I can never find the magic shortcut, etc. WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE SO COMPLICATED!!!!!!!!!!!