Useful tips: Quickly rearrange text in MS Word with the Spike

paper spike

I’ve been using MS Word for about 10 years and thought I knew most of its important features, but I didn’t know about the Spike!  I found out about this great feature recently in a blog post on Help Desk Geek. It allows you to quickly rearrange non-contiguous blocks of text or other items in your Word document. Basically, instead of using the simple cut and paste (Ctrl X, Ctrl-V) which I’m sure you’re all familiar with, you can use Word’s in-built Spike feature to ‘multiple cut’ items and then paste them all in order in a single operation.

Let me explain. The Spike allows you to add multiple selections (by cutting, not copying) to Word’s clipboard in the order you want, then to paste them all at once. So for example if you have an unordered list of say references which you want in alphabetical order, you just cut each selection in turn in the order you want using Ctrl-F3. They are added in that order to the Spike. No need to paste items individually, just keep adding your selections to the Spike. When you’ve finished cutting the items, you paste them all at once at your insertion point using Ctrl-Shift-F3.  Everything is pasted in one operation with all the selections in the order in which they were cut.

Try it out and see what you think. Definitely a time saver if you find yourself frequently rearranging selections in Word. And this feature works in all versions of Word from 97 to 2010. These are the main features of Spike but for a full how-to on using it, head over to the Help Desk Geek post. And let us know how you use the Spike in the comments.

Image credit: quinn.anya

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