As an author, you probably spend a lot of time in Microsoft Word (or a similar program). Here are 11 useful Microsoft Word shortcuts that will make your writing life just a little bit easier!
1. Insert Page Break
PC: ctrl + enter
Mac: cmd + enter
This is very useful for inserting those pages breaks between chapters. And of course, never use multiple paragraph returns instead of a page break. Be kind to your formatter, who will have to take those all out.
2. Repeat Most Recent Command
PC: F4 OR ctrl + y
Mac: cmd + y
This one is useful if you’re doing something over and over again, like inserting a table, inserting a symbol or accented letter, and so on. If you find yourself doing something multiple times in a file, try to bulk it together and do it one after another with this shortcut.
3. Center Text
PC: ctrl + e
Mac: cmd + e
You probably center your chapter titles and scene break stars. With this shortcut, you can do it quicker (and please, don’t use tabs to “center” text!).
4. Left Align Text
PC: ctrl + l
Mac: cmd + l
If you need to change the alignment of the text to left-align, this shortcut is one you’ll also want to know.
5. Save the Document
PC: ctrl + s
Mac: cmd + s
If you’re not using this handing shortcut, you should. Losing your progress because your program or your computer crashes is never fun, but you can easily and often save your file with this shortcut after every writing pause and avoid a lot of frustration.
6. Open the Thesaurus
PC: shift + F7
Mac: shift + Fn + F7
Maybe you don’t quite have the word you want to use and you want to look up alternatives in a thesaurus. Word has a built-in thesaurus you can try, and you can access it quickly with this shortcut.
7. Move to the Beginning of the Next Paragraph
PC: ctrl + up/down arrow
Mac: cmd + up/down arrow
This shortcut can help you move faster through your document, like when you’re editing it or scanning for a specific spot.
8. Turn Track Changes On or Off
PC: ctrl + shift + e
Mac: cmd + shift + e
If you’re editing your or someone else’s manuscript, this handy shortcut will allow you to toggle Track Changes on and off, saving you a bit of time. This is especially useful if you are helping someone clean up their formatting, and they don't need to approve those changes.
9. Insert a Comment
PC: ctrl + option + a
Mac: cmd + option + a
In that same vein, you can easily insert a comment into a document with this shortcut.
10. Create a Bulleted List
PC: ctrl + shift + l
Mac: cmd + shift + l
This will change the paragraph your cursor is in into a bulleted list item.
11. Switch Between Programs:
PC: alt + tab (alt + shift + tab to go the other way)
Mac: cmd + tab (cmd + shift + tab to go the other way)
This isn’t a Word-specific shortcut, but it’s very useful when you have a few programs open that you need to frequently switch between, such as your Word document, a browser window with some research information, an Excel sheet with data, and so on.
What useful Microsoft Word shortcuts do you love to use? We'd love to hear about them in the comments below!
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