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Tech Tips

15 Keyboard Shortcuts to Boost Your Productivity

Keyboard shortcuts save you time, but only if you can remember them.

By Danielle DavisRoe

When shortcuts are the same across most of the applications you use, it’s much easier to remember them — no matter what you’re working on. Here are 15 common Microsoft Office keyboard shortcuts every lawyer should know.

office keyboard shortcuts

Common Office 365 Keyboard Shortcuts

These Microsoft Office keyboard shortcuts make working in applications like Word, Excel and Outlook much more efficient, and they work in many other software programs and cloud apps as well.

Want to learn how to get even more out of Office? Check out Affinity Consulting Group’s in-depth manuals “Microsoft Word for Legal Professionals,” “Microsoft Excel for Legal Professionals” and “Microsoft Outlook for Legal Professionals.”

Cut, Copy and Paste

Whether you’re copying text from a statute, case law or a document you previously drafted, using keyboard shortcuts to get the text from point A to point B can save you time.

To copy selected text, use Ctrl + C.

Alternatively, to remove the text from the original location, use Ctrl + X to cut the selected text.

Then, paste the text in the new location with Ctrl + V.

You can remember it’s a “V,” not a “P” because Ctrl + P is for printing and the “V” key is next to the “C” and “X” keys on the keyboard.

Undo and Redo

Make a mistake? Quickly undo your last action (or five) with Ctrl + Z.

Undo too many changes? Quickly redo with Ctrl + Y.

Save

Get in the habit of constantly saving your work as you go. Once Ctrl + S becomes muscle memory, you’ll need to worry less about losing your work if something goes wrong.

Need to save a file as a new document? F12 will open the Save As dialog in Microsoft Office. Most other programs, such as Adobe Acrobat, use Ctrl + Shift + S.

Open

Ctrl + N will create a new, blank document or email.

Use Ctrl + O to open an existing document.

Find and Replace

Search a document or website for a word or phrase with Ctrl + F. (Note, however, that this will forward an email in Outlook.)

Need to replace text throughout a document? Ctrl + H will open the Find and Replace dialog.

Select All

To select everything, use Ctrl + A. This will select the entire body of a document, an entire worksheet, or everything typed in a field within a form.

Bold, Italicize, and Underline

Use Ctrl + B to bold, Ctrl + I to italicize, and Ctrl + U to underline the selected text.

Close Current Window

When you click the X in the upper right-hand corner of an application to close a document, once you close the last document, the application closes. Reopening the application takes longer than just opening a document.

Use Ctrl + W to close the open document without closing the application.

Zoom In and Out

To quickly zoom in or out, hold down the Ctrl key while scrolling up and down with the wheel on your mouse.

Switch Between Open Windows

To switch between open windows or applications, hold down the Alt key, then press the Tab key. A screen will come up with a small box for each open window/application. Press the Tab key again to select the window/application you want. When the desired window or application is selected, release the Alt key.

About Affinity Consulting Group

Affinity Consulting works with law firms and legal departments on strategy and technology engagements that help them create a great place to work and deliver excellent services to clients by improving how work gets done, aligning their stakeholders, while focusing on profitability. 

Want to work faster? For in-depth information and instructions on getting the most from Word, order Affinity Consulting Group’s hands-on digital manual “Microsoft Word for Legal Professionals. Individual and site licenses are available for download in the Attorney at Work bookstore.

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Danielle Danielle DavisRoe

Danielle DavisRoe is a senior consultant with Affinity Consulting Group (@affinitylegal). Whether it’s teaching clients a new skill through training, speaking at CLE events, or management consulting, Danielle is 100% focused on making the lives of her clients better. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business and a Juris Doctorate from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

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