Shortcuts in Editing (Are They Allowed?)

ShortcutEditor’s Corner

Shortcuts in editing may be frowned upon, but when it comes to word processing, editing shortcuts are not only allowed, they’re essential. If you’re still fumbling around in the pull-down menus, fighting with features that won’t leave you alone, and wasting time on tasks that could be done with lightning speed, stop it right now!

Here are just a few shortcuts you can try. Pick one or two and use them until they’re second nature. Then pick a couple more. Or, if you prefer, think of something you hate doing and see if you can find a shortcut online by Googling “shortcut for [hated task here].”

Useful Shortcuts in Microsoft Word

  • Toggle tracking on and off: Ctrl+Shift+E.
  • Upper- or lowercase selected words: Shift+F3. Do it again. And again.
  • Show/hide hard returns and space marks: Ctrl+Shift+8.
  • Single-space the paragraph your cursor is in: Ctrl+1 (then, just for fun, Ctrl+A, then F4). Note: Ctrl+2 for double-spacing.
  • Jump to your previous editing location: Alt+Ctrl+Z.
  • Cursor by a paragraph or a word at a time: Ctrl + Arrow keys.
  • Remove all hyperlinks in a document: Ctrl+A, then Ctrl+Shift+F9.
  • Split/unsplit your screen: Alt+Ctrl+S.

Gaining skill with your primary editing tool increases your power and worth. It gives you time and money. And it feels great.

Please share your favorite shortcuts in the comments section below.

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SCE2 thumbnail with borderEditor’s Corner posts are the opinion of Carol Fisher Saller, editor of the Chicago Manual of Style Online Q&A and author of The Subversive Copy Editor. Find Carol on Facebook and Twitter (@SubvCopyEd).

New: The 2nd edition of The Subversive Copy Editor is now available, with two new chapters, expanded advice for writers, and a completely new “Further Reading” section.

Photo: Shortcut, erfan a. setiawanr

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9 thoughts on “Shortcuts in Editing (Are They Allowed?)

  1. I like to put in em dashes using alt-0151 and en dashes using alt-0150. I’ve programmed a macro that puts in a large centered ampersand to use as a paragraph divider in my notes. Shift-F7, an old WordPerfect command, brings up a list of synonyms for whatever word you’re in.

  2. Pingback: Shortcuts in Editing (Are They Allowed?) | Edit...

  3. Repeat your last action: Ctrl+Y (I seem to use this more in PowerPoint than Word, but I was excited to learn it.)
    Add a row to a table: Place cursor immediately before the right border of the last cell in a row and click Enter

    • I’m sorry, I should have checked that first. It’s actually just outside the table border: Place the cursor after the last text in the row and then click the right arrow. Then click Enter.

      • Table shortcuts are great – tables can be so fiddly. I put several of the table commands (such as “Formula”) into my Quick Access Toolbar.

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