Tips and tricks: keyboard shortcuts for editing text


by Bridget Blair AE

When working in Word for long periods of time, you can enhance your efficiency and greatly reduce the risk of RSI for your poor hands and wrists by getting familiar with Word’s keyboard shortcuts. The Control key (Ctrl), Shift and function keys are your friends – getting into the habit of using them can take some practice, but it’s worth the effort. No doubt you are using some of these already, but there may be some shortcuts you are unaware of. Try practising any new shortcuts one at a time until they become second nature. (Note, this article lists shortcuts for Windows only.)

Selecting text

To select text, use Shift with the left and right arrow keys. Adding Ctrl allows you to select the whole word to the left or right:

Ctrl+Shift+Left arrow = Select the word to the left.

Ctrl+Shift+Right arrow = Select the word to the right.

Similarly, you can use Shift with the Home and End keys to select to the beginning and end of the current line, and Ctrl+Shift with the up and down arrow keys to select to the beginning and end of the current paragraph:

Shift+Home = Select from the current position to the beginning of the current line.

Shift+End = Select from the current position to the end of the current line.

Ctrl+Shift+Up arrow = Select from the current position to the beginning of the current paragraph.

Ctrl+Shift+Down arrow = Select from the current position to the end of the current paragraph.


Copying and pasting

You’re probably familiar with the cut, copy and paste shortcuts:

Ctrl+X = Cut the selected content to the Clipboard.

Ctrl+C = Copy the selected content to the Clipboard.

Ctrl+V = Paste the contents of the Clipboard.

You can also open the clipboard in its own panel and paste items repeatedly from it: Alt+H, F, O.

The ‘Spike’ is a little-known extended clipboard function. You can keep cutting text to the Spike (like collecting paper documents on a metal spike) and Word will remember it all. When you paste the Spike’s contents, into the same document or a different one, each item you’ve cut will be placed on its own line. If you want to copy rather than cut, press Ctrl+Z to undo the cut. The content returns to the original location but stays in the Spike.

Ctrl+F3 = Cut the selected content to the Spike.

Ctrl+Shift+F3 = Paste the contents of the Spike.

It’s also very useful to be able to copy and paste formatting.

Ctrl+Shift+C = Copy the selected formatting.

Ctrl+Shift+V = Paste the selected formatting.


Deleting

Instead of repeatedly pressing the delete or backspace keys, use control as a booster:

Ctrl+Backspace = Delete one word to the left

Ctrl+Delete = Delete one word to the right.

Ctrl+Z = Undo the previous action.

Ctrl+Y =Redo the previous action, if possible.

For a detailed list of many more shortcuts, including those for Mac, see Microsoft’s support article here: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/keyboard-shortcuts-in-word-95ef89dd-7142-4b50-afb2-f762f663ceb2


Bridget Blair is a freelance editor and Editors Victoria’s communication officer. www.linkedin.com/in/bridget-blair-887480b7

edvic.communication@iped-editors.org