Gawd Dash It All: MS Word Shortcuts Made Easy

I'm always amazed by how poorly people actually understand the programs they work with every day. Even in newsrooms filled with professional journalists, at the desks of overworked office assistants, and at the computers of recent college grads, I've seen otherwise intelligent individuals blunder away at their word processing software, blissfully unaware that they could double their processing speed if they only understood some of simplest functions beyond the standard changing-of-the-font, typing, saving, printing routine.

(And don't get me started on how many highly paid executives I've met that are proud of their inability to check their own email, type up a memo, or wipe their own ass without the aid of three assistants, four staff members, and two executive committee meetings.)

In a highly readable, shockingly funny article (for a very boring tech piece, that is), Herb Tyson explains how you can have the Microsoft Word "Paste Special Unformatted Text" option always "at your fingertips."

Not only does he give you a handy macro for quickly executing the "Paste Special Unformatted Text" command, but this is also a wonderful overview of macros, shortcuts, and cutting and pasting in general. You’ll be making new macros of your own in no time, Alt/Tab(bing) like a pro (this is the easiest way to switch between active program screens), pasting with the best of them, and creating nifty toolbar shortcuts for your macro and shortcut-key challenged coworkers. All tech articles should be this easy, helpful, and enjoyable to read.

Also, be kind and at least teach your Neanderthal friends the easy-to-remember MS Word keyboard shortcut basics, many of which actually work across numerous programs and platforms and all of which will keep them writing/typing fast: ctrl-a selects all, ctrl-x cuts (while copying), ctrl-c copies (without cutting), ctrl-v pastes, ctrl-b bolds, ctrl-i italicizes, ctrl-u underlines, ctrl-z will undo, ctrl-y to redo, shift-F3 changes the capitalization (I love that one), F4 repeats the last executed command, shift-F4 repeats the last Find/Search, shift-F5 jumps you to your last edit point(s), and shift-F8 brings up the macros.

More cool shortcuts can be found at the MS Word MVP FAQ, which also explains some nifty tricks, like how to copy and paste a text’s style & formatting without copying the text itself (ctrl-shift-c & ctrl-shift-v), how ctrl-space removes character formatting from selected text, how the paragraph markers contain all the paragraph formatting data (which can be copied and pasted as well), etcetera, etcetera.

And while we’re on the subject of MS Word: I wish I’d known how to turn my “invisibles” on (a visual representation of space and paragraph marks that improves your ability to proofread) and use the Format Painter tool earlier in life (the little broom icon on your Word toolbar that is also accessed with ctrl-shift-c). Oh, and hold down the Ctrl key while using the scroll wheel on your mouse to zoom in and out in Word and many other appilcations.

And using the following on your numeric keypad will give you an en dash (–) and em dash (—), respectively, for those times when Word hasn’t autocorrected them into your sentence for you: ctrl-minus and ctrl-alt-minus. See the Wikipedia article on dashes for more info on the proper use of the en and em dash.

Oh, and for accents, use any of the following (as needed) and then type the letter you want to accent:

For an Acute (e.g., é): ctrl-' (apostrophe)
Grave (À): ctrl-` (the apostrophe under the tilde "~")
Tilde (ñ) ctrl-shift + ~ (tilde)
Circumflex (î) ctrl-shift + ^
Dieresis (ÿ) ctrl-shift + : (colon)

Also see: Celebrity Cola's MS Word Macro for Preserving Formatting When Posting Documents Online.


In other news:

* Dumpster Bust asks, "Is the Halliburton-Bush-Cheney connection all on the up and up, or is there even more to all of this than meets the eye?"

* Rolling Stone squawks as PBS and NPR are overun by the right: "Muzzling the Muppets: The Bush administration wants to force public broadcasting to toe the Republican line."


steve said...

Thanks for the links, I didn't know "shift F3" it's extremely useful for me.

Thanks again!

Bazoombas said...