Even new users catch on to Word’s easy-to-use interface and can start entering and formatting text quickly. As you learn, you’ll stumble upon shortcuts that make your daily work even easier. Here are five tips that I use frequently when working in Word. None of these tips are new, which is why I’m always surprised to hear a user exclaim that they’re unfamiliar — they are so much a part of my Word sense that I forget that others might not know about them.
1. Highlight a sentence with one quick click
Sometimes you need to edit an entire sentence — you might want to move it or apply formatting. Regardless of why you need to, you want the process to be easy and simple. Clicking and dragging to highlight the sentence can be awkward, but there’s a simple way to select an entire sentence. Hold down the [Ctrl] key and click any word in the sentence, and Word will respond by selecting the entire sentence for you! Similarly, if you want to select an entire paragraph, click anywhere in the paragraph three times. If you double-click without engaging the [Ctrl] key, Word selects the clicked word. And here’s one last quick selection tip: to select a single line, move the mouse into the left margin until it turns into a large arrow. Then, click to the left of the line.Figure A shows the result of using this method.
2. Enter text anywhere
If you’ve tried to enter text in the center of a blank page, you’ve probably been a bit frustrated. All the head scratching in the world won’t help! You can click a blank spot, but Word won’t let you enter text. When this happens, you might resort to returning to the top of the blank page and pressing Enter several times to move down the page. That works, but it’s unnecessary. All you have to do is double-click a spot, and then Word will let you enter text. I admit, it’s a bit obscure and not terribly intuitive, but one double-click is all it takes. Word will automatically insert all the necessary hard returns and tabs for you.
You can specify case while you’re typing, but you can also easily change case after the fact. There are two ways — either way, you’ll need to select the text you want to change first. Then, click the Change Case option in the Font group (on the Home tab), and choose from one of the options shown in Figure B. However, there’s a quicker way: if you want to bypass the ribbon, select the text and press [Shift]+[F3] to cycle through proper, upper, and lower, in that order.
4. Quickly change formatting or styles
Changing a document’s formatting or style can be an exercise in patience. It’s tedious work, and you might miss something! Instead of working your way through the document manually, use Word’s Replace feature to make those changes for you. It’s not any more difficult to implement than the first three tips — you just have to know the right options. For example, you might use Replace to change all the italicized to bold, as follows:
- Select the text you want to change. You can select a single sentence, a paragraph, a block of paragraphs, or even the entire document.
- Click Replace in the Editing group (on the Home tab).
- Click inside the Find What control (don’t skip this step).
- Click More (if necessary) to access the Search Options.
- Then, click the Format drop-down and choose Font.
- Next, indicate the Format you want to change. In this case, you’d select Italics (Figure C) and click OK.
- Word will display the selected format under the Find What control (Figure D).
- Figure D