10 Time Saving Tips to Work Faster in MS Word

Working more productively means you can finish work faster get on to something else or have some leisure time. I’ve collected 10 Word tips and tricks I’ve found really useful to help you save time. You’ll probably know some of these but hopefully there are one or two you don’t. I’ve written about some before so for those I’ll give a brief explanation and then link to the original post.

Quickly changing the case of a word, phrase or sentence

If you didn’t know about the Shift-F3 combination in Word, memorise it now – it’ll save you a lot of time in the future. With your cursor on a word, hold the Shift key, then press F3 repeatedly to cycle through all caps, initial capital and all lower case. Or highlight a phrase, sentence or paragraph then use this key combination to quickly change the case.

Return to where you left off yesterday

When you reopen a Word document, for example, the next day, Word remembers where you left off in the document, assuming you didn’t return to the beginning before closing. Pressing Shift-F5 will magically return you to where you were working.

Quickly navigate round your document using the Browse Object button

Look towards the bottom right corner of the document window. Have you used these browsing buttons? With these, you can browse up and down through your document by comment, section, heading level, graphic or table. A great timesaver.

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Access frequently used commands from the Quick Access bar

This is another great time saver. Think of the commands you use all the time and add them to the Quick Access bar. On mine, I have Undo, Redo, Advanced Find, Borders and Shading (tables), Select Row (tables), Delete Row (tables), Insert symbol, Insert comment, Show All Comments, Track Changes, and Apply Styles. Here’s my earlier post about using the Quick Access bar. I’ve also recently learned you can right click many commands on the ribbon and add them to the Quick Access bar.

Word Quick Access Toolbar1

Use Spike to rearrange your document

Need to rearrange all your paragraphs or sections? You can use the Spike to cut the sections in the order you want them then paste them all in your new order. For full details, see my earlier post on the Spike here.

Using Find in Word 2007 and later releases

Using Ctrl-F changed in Word 2007. The nicest part is you can now use Ctrl-Page Up and Ctrl-Page Down to move quickly through all the finds. See my earlier post here.

Alphabetise a list or your bibliography or sort numerical data

The button is sitting right there on your ribbon, but had you noticed it? A great way to quickly sort your bibliography into alphabetical order or get a list of numbers into ascending or descending order. For more details see this post.

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Paste unformatted text

Everyone knows about Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V, but if the text you are copying contains any formatting, this will be included when pasting it in. If you want to paste unformatted text, which will merge with your document style, use Ctrl-Alt-V when pasting. This will launch the Paste Special dialog box where you can select Unformatted Text. Or use the Paste Special button on the Home tab of the ribbon. At the left end, you’ll see Paste. Click the arrow below Paste for more pasting options and select Paste Special for the Paste Special Dialog box where you can select Unformatted Text.

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Keep paragraphs or tables all on one page

Paragraphs: Let’s say you don’t want a particular paragraph to break over a page. Put the cursor anywhere in that paragraph. Go to the Home tab on the ribbon and in the group Paragraph show the Paragraph dialog box by clicking the small icon at the bottom right corner of that group. Select the Line and Page Breaks tab, then check the attribute Keep lines together and click OK. Now the paragraph won’t break over a page.

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Tables:  To stop tables breaking over a page, select the entire first column of the table, except for the last cell. Again, go to the Home tab on the ribbon and in the group Paragraph show the Paragraph dialog box by clicking the small icon at the bottom right corner of that group as shown above. Select the Line and Page Breaks tab, then check the attribute Keep with next and click OK. Now the table won’t break over a page. Effectively, the bulk of the table is now forced to stay with the last row and won’t break across a page.

Use F4 to repeat the last formatting command

Only recently discovered this one. If you have applied a complex formatting command, you can just repeat it by pressing F4 for each item you want to apply the same format to. For more information, there’s a post about it here.

So there’s some quick tips to make you more productive in MS Word. What’s your favourite Word productivity tip?

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