5 Ways to Use Microsoft Word to Work Smarter

March 21, 2014

5 ways to use MS Word to work smarterI’ve recently learnt to use Keynote and Pages, finally!  Doing this has brought home that while the programmes we use today are extremely user friendly (when MS Office first came out in the early ’90s there were entire manuals to be read!), by taking the time to delve a bit deeper we can do a more professional, faster and smarter job.

Here are 5 ways to help you use MS Word, smarter:

  1. You can create hyperlinks within your document to make it easier to navigate, improving your reader’s experience within the doc.  You can hyperlink to an email address, a URL or a place within your document. [shortcut is Ctrl+k or Cmd+k).
  2. This tip is a no-brainer.  F7 and Shift+F7 … spelling and grammar check.  There is nothing worse than all your hard work going up in smoke when someone points out an embarrassing typo or grammatical error.  Proofing your document is crucial, make F7 the last key you press before save or print!
  3. Trouble placing images?  Select your image and click on the wrap text icon from your toolbar (or right click and select from the shortcut menu) to change the preference.  Another tip is not to insert an image straight into a table or shape and the editing options when you do this are limited.  Insert the image in your main body before cutting [Ctrl+x or Cmd+x]/ pasting [Ctrl+v or Cmd+v] into your object.
  4. Use your tab stops and list icons rather than your space bar.  It is next to impossible to have a professional looking list using spaces.  Drag a tab stop into your ruler and use the icons to set your bullet points and numbered lists.  I have spent many an hour tidying up numbering sequences in contracts and documents where numbers have been typed in manually.
  5. Less is more.  This article on designing great looking documents goes into more detail but use restraint when adding colours, fonts and images to your doc, too many can make your document look unprofessional.

When it comes to working faster in Word, nothing beats shortcut keys.  While it can take a little while to learn the ones you use the most, once learned they are never forgotten and many of the shortcuts below work across all MS Office programmes … and more!  Choose 5 new combinations each week to build up your repertoire.

MS Word shortcut keys

CTRL Shortcuts:

  • CTRL and A Selects all in the current document.
  • CTRL and B Bold text.
  • CTRL and C Copies the item or text to the Clipboard and can be pasted using CTRL and V.
  • CTRL and D Displays the Font dialogue box.
  • CTRL and E Centre Alignment.
  • CTRL and F Displays the Find dialog box, to search the current document.
  • CTRL and G Displays the Go to dialog box, to go to a specific location in the current document.
  • CTRL and H Displays the Replace dialogue box.
  • CTRL and I Italic text.
  • CTRL and J Full Justification.
  • CTRL and K Create Hyperlink
  • CTRL and L Left Alignment
  • CTRL and M Tab.
  • CTRL and N Creates a new document.
  • CTRL and O Displays the Open File dialogue box.
  • CTRL and P Displays the Print dialog box.
  • CTRL and R Right Alignment.
  • CTRL and S Displays the Save dialog box.
  • CTRL and U Underline text.
  • CTRL and V Pastes the copied item or text from the Clipboard into the current position in the document.
  • CTRL and X Cuts the item or text selected to the Clipboard.
  • CTRL and Y Redo the last undone action.
  • CTRL and Z Undoes the last action.
  • CTRL and ENTER Insert Page Break.
  • CTRL and F2 Show Print preview.
  • CTRL and F4 Closes the active document window.
  • CTRL and F6 Opens the next document window.

F and SHIFT shortcut keys:

  • F1 key Get help or use the Office assistant.
  • SHIFT and F1 Key Context sensitive help.
  • F2 Key Move text or image.
  • SHIFT and F2 Key Copy Text.
  • F3 Key Insert an autotext entry.
  • SHIFT and F3 Key Change the case of the selected text.
  • F4 Key Perform last action again.
  • SHIFT and F4 Key Perform a Find or Go to action again.
  • F5 Key Displays the Go to dialogue box, from here you can also Find and Replace.
  • SHIFT and F5 Key Move to a previous revision.
  • F6 Key Go to the next frame or pane.
  • SHIFT and F6 Key Go to the previous frame or pane.
  • F7 Key Launch the Spell checker.
  • SHIFT and F7 Key Launch the Thesaurus.
  • F8 Key Extend the current selection.
  • SHIFT and F8 Key Shrink the current selection.
  • F9 Key Update the selected fields.
  • SHIFT and F9 Key Switch between a field code and its result.
  • F10 Key Activate the menu bar.
  • SHIFT and F10 Key Display a Shortcut Menu. Same as right-clicking.
  • F11 Key Go to the next field.
  • SHIFT and F11 Key Go to the previous field.
  • F12 Key Save file As, equivalent to tools menu.
  • SHIFT and F12 Key Save document, equivalent to tools menu.


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