Microsoft Word: Boost your productivity with these tips

Microsoft Office Tips
By Kyle McHatton, CA Today

4 February 2016

Here are nine tips for Microsoft Word that will help you get things done faster and more efficiently than ever before.

1. Select text quickly

Did you know you can triple-click anywhere within a paragraph to select the entire paragraph? Or press the CTRL key and click anywhere within the sentence to select the entire sentence.

You can also select rectangular blocks of text in a Word document, similar to the marquee tool in photo editors such as Photoshop, and apply formatting to the selected area. To do this hold down the ALT key and drag your mouse to select any rectangular area.

Microsoft Word select column of text

2. Move around a document faster

If you are working on a lengthy Word document, you can press the Shift+F keyboard shortcut to cycle through the spots that you have edited most recently.

Also, when you open an existing document inside Word, the same Shift+F5 shortcut will take you to the location that you were working on when the document was last closed.

3. Quickly change the sentence case

Select some text in Word and press Shift+F3 to quickly change the case of the selection. It toggles between upper case, lower case and title case and should come handy if you've accidentally left the caps lock key on while typing.

4. Start writing anywhere on a page

Did you know that you can use your Word document as a whiteboard and write your text anywhere on the page?

How it's done:

Just double-click wherever you want to type your text and start writing.

5. Convert to plain text

When you copy a snippet from a web page into Word, all the styles and formatting are retained. There is however an easy way to remove the styling from any block of text in Word - just select the block and press Ctrl+Space Bar and the rich text will be transformed into plain text.

6. Setup auto-save

The one thing people dread the most is losing their work due to a system crash. But worry no longer with this tip which makes sure you lose as little work as possible when Word crashes. All office applications are pretty good at recovering any open documents when this happens, but by auto-saving what you're working on every minute or two, you get an extra level of protection.

How it's done:

Select File - Options - Save and reduce the default Save AutoRecover information from 10 minutes to 1 or 2 minutes.

Microsoft Office Auto Save option

7. Customise the recent documents list

Word shows you a useful list of recently opened documents when you click on the File tab, then choose Open from the menu at the left. If you have a document or several that you regularly open and close throughout your working day, you can pin those documents to the top of the Recent Documents list to make opening them much quicker.

How it's done:

Simply right click the document you want to pin and choose 'Pin to list', or click on the pin to the right of the name of the document you want to choose.

Word Tips: Pin Item

8. Alternative to copy and paste

Word has a couple of valuable extensions to the traditional Copy-Paste process that most people use. If you thought keyboard shortcuts were fast, how about keyboard shortcuts for keyboard shortcuts?

Absurd as it may seem, Microsoft Word has just that, and it's an even faster way to move text from one place to another:

How it's done:

  1. Select the text you want to move and press F2.
  2. Place the cursor where you want to move it to and press Enter.

9. Move multiple sections of a document at the same time

Did you know there is also something called 'Spike' which allows you to move text and images from multiple locations in a document and paste them all at once in a different place in your document.

How it's done:

  1. Select text or text and images from your document and press Ctrl-F3. Your selection will disappear into the Spike, then go to the next information you want to move, select it and again press Ctrl-F3. Repeat this with all of the pieces of text and images you want to move.
  2. Once you've added everything to the Spike, move the cursor to where you want all of that information to be moved to and press Ctrl-Shift-F3 and the information you collected in the Spike will all be pasted into the new location in the order that you Spiked it.

* We used Word 2016 for our demo images but road-tested Word 2010 for these tips.


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