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Tech Tip

Handy Keyboard Tricks

By Deborah Savadra

One key to increasing your efficiency in Microsoft Word (in addition to letting Word fix your typos) is keeping your hands off the mouse as much as possible. To do that, though, you need to know a few handy shortcut keys so you can format as your fingers fly. Try some of these and see if you don’t agree that it speeds things up.

Note: In these key combinations, CTRL refers to the Control key and SHIFT to the Shift key, located at the bottom of your PC keyboard. The plus sign indicates the keys should be pressed simultaneously. Key combinations that perform formatting functions usually do so in a “toggle” mode, meaning you press the key combination once to turn the formatting on, then once again to turn it off.

Font Formatting Hotkeys

Select the text you want to format, and use one of these key combinations.

  • Boldface: CTRL+B
  • Italicize: CTRL+I
  • Underline: CTRL+U
  • Increase font size: CTRL+SHIFT+.
  • Decrease font size: CTRL+SHIFT+,

To change capitalization or case, select a word or sentence and use this key combination to display your choices—lowercase, UPPERCASE, Sentence case, Capitalize Each Word and tOGGLE cASE:

  • Change case: SHIFT+F3

These key combinations will subscript and superscript the text:

  • Subscript: CTRL+=
  • Superscript: CTRL+SHIFT+=
Paragraph Indentation and Justification Hotkeys

Click your mouse on the paragraph to make these formatting changes.

  • Left-justify the paragraph: CTRL+L
  • Right-justify the paragraph: CTRL+R
  • Full-justify the paragraph: CTRL+J
  • Center the paragraph: CTRL+E
  • Increase indent: CTRL+M
  • Decrease indent: CTRL+SHIFT+M
  • Hanging indent: CTRL+T
  • Hanging indent off: CTRL+SHIFT+T
Navigation and Editing Hotkeys

Once you’re done typing, hotkeys can speed editing, too.

  • Copy: CTRL+C
  • Cut: CTRL+X
  • Paste: CTRL+V
  • Select all: CTRL+A
  • Select next word: CTRL+SHIFT+RIGHT ARROW
  • Select previous word: CTRL+SHIFT+LEFT ARROW
  • Select next paragraph: CTRL+SHIFT+DOWN
  • Select previous paragraph: CTRL+SHIFT+UP

Finally, if you memorize no other key combination, remember this one: CTRL+S to Save Document. Although you can have Word automatically save an AutoRecover version of your document every few minutes, it never hurts to save the document yourself frequently.

This is just a small sample of the keyboard shortcuts available in Microsoft Word. What functions would you want a hotkey for? Let us know in the comments below.

Deborah Savadra is editor and chief blogger at Legal Office Guru, which specializes in helping legal professionals with Microsoft Office tasks like diagnosing and fixing Microsoft Word formatting problems. You can follow her on Twitter @legalofficeguru.

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Deborah Savadra Legal Office Guru Deborah Savadra

Deborah Savadra spends a lot of her time explaining technology to lawyers, mostly as editor and chief blogger at Legal Office Guru, which features Microsoft Office video tutorials and other content especially for legal professionals. Watch her quick tips videos here, and follow her on Twitter @legalofficeguru.

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