The purpose of this article is to teach you five tricks that can make you more productive using MS Word.

Some information in this article has been borrowed/adapted from an article published on ZDNet. For the full article, follow this link: Six clicks: Microsoft Word tricks to make you an instant expertNew Window

  1. Use Shortcuts
    Every time you take your hand off of your keyboard and reach for your mouse, you are losing precious time. Try using these three shortcuts to help you become a bit more productive.

    • Press F8 to turn on extend mode. You can then use the left arrow or right arrow to extend the selection in either direction. But that's not the real secret. Press F8 again to increase the size of the selection: Press F8 twice to select the current word. Press it a third time to select the current sentence, once more to select the entire paragraph, and one more time to select the entire document. You can then cut, copy, or apply formatting to your selection. To turn off extend mode, press Esc and click anywhere else in the document.

    • Press Ctrl+Y to redo or repeat the last action. If, for example, you're working your way through a document changing the formatting of certain words, you can apply that formatting once, then go to the next instance and press Crl+Y to repeat the action.

    • Press Shift+F3 to change 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.

  2. Paste Text without Additional Formatting
    • Everyone knows to use Ctrl+V to do a standard paste. However, if you do not want to add additional formatting, press Ctrl+Alt+V to open the Paste Special dialog box and choose the Unformatted Text option to merge the text into your document without any additional formatting.

  3. Use Heading Styles
    The built-in heading styles (Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, and so on) are incredibly useful in longer documents such as reports and user manuals. When you use headings, you can switch into Outline view (from the View tab) to see your document. 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 for Heading 2 style or Ctrl+Alt+3 for 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.

  4. Use the Navigation Pane
    The Navigation pane is normally hidden. For anything more complicated than a simple memo, use the checkbox on the View tab.

    • If your document includes paragraphs formatted using heading styles, the Navigation pane will show them when you click Headings. You can click any heading to jump directly to that section.

    • The Pages view, shown here, lets you see thumbnails of your document and jump to any page with a click. It's especially useful for long files in PDF format.

    • Finally, use the Results view to open a search box where you can find every instance of a word or phrase in your document. The list in the Navigation pane shows each result in context.

  5. Set Default Formatting for All Documents
    Personalize Word so that every time you start a new document it uses your preferred fonts and paragraph settings by saving your preferences into the Normal document template.

    • Press Ctrl+Shift+F to open the Font dialog box. Choose your preferred font and font size, and click OK. Now reopen that dialog box and click the Set As Default button. In the resulting dialog box, choose the All documents based on the Normal template option. Save your changes by clicking OK.

    • You can do the same with paragraph formatting. Right-click any text and choose Paragraph from the shortcut menu to open the Paragraph Formatting dialog box, which also has a Set As Default button.

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