There are those certain things that are staples of your average workday, that you almost don’t even realise you do anymore because they just sort of happen. Things like coffee, never-ending to-do lists, clearing that never empty email inbox, and, if you’re like most people, working on Microsoft Word.
We all have our own ways of working and tend to end up in a routine of what we use and don’t use Microsoft Word for. All in all, Word is pretty simple to use—it doesn’t carry the same level of intimidation and mystery as Microsoft Excel, for example where it comes in handy to know how to add in the “coding” to really utilise the software for anything other than making a pretty table.
But, even if you consider yourself a pretty proficient Microsoft Word user, there are probably still a few things you can learn to be even more efficient and effective.
When you’re staring at a blank Word document, you usually start typing at the top, i.e. the beginning. But if it’s a cover page or something that isn’t your standard document, you may want to start further down the page.
Rather than pressing Enter a bunch of times, just double-click on the line where you want to start. Word will automatically add in the extra spaces meaning you don’t have to keep hitting that return key!
Among the most frequently used formatting tools in Word are bold, italic, and underline. Word has of course made these buttons easy to find on the Home tab, BUT there is still a quicker way to do it – keyboard shortcuts! Press the shortcut keys once to turn on the effect, and a second time to go back to normal text. It is as simple as that and once you’ve gotten into the groove of doing it, you’ll forget all about that mouse!
Bold: Ctrl + B
Italics: Ctrl + I
Underline: Ctrl + U
Collect What You Need
Let’s say you need to go through a document and pick out certain words/phrases and create a list from them.
Instead of going back and forth, writing each item onto the list each time you see a word, you can simply highlight each word and press CTRL + F3. You can do this multiple times until you have found each word/phrase.
Once you are finished, go to the area in the document you’d like the list to be created and press Ctrl + SHIFT + F3 to paste all of the highlighted areas you’ve just copied. This feature is known as Spike in Word.
Need to delete a big chunk of text? Instead of holding down the backspace bar, you can instead hold CTRL and then press BACKSPACE.
Doing this will delete one word each time you press the backspace button, instead of just one character. Hold down the backspace button and the ctrl button together to delete chunks of text at lightning speed.
Fix That Mistake
Did you make an error in your document? For example, perhaps you spelled someone’s last name incorrectly—it should’ve been “Smith,” but you have it listed as “Smit.”
Don’t panic – you do not need to go through the whole document and edit it. Word has a “Find and Replace” feature that can help you immediately repair your error—while only manually fixing it once.
Head to the main “Edit” menu of Word. Once there, scroll down to “Find” and then select “Replace”. Within that popup, type the error that you want to find, as well as the correct version it should be replaced with.
Click the “Replace All” button, and that mistake will be corrected within your entire document!
So, there you have it! Hopefully these useful tips will help you work more efficiently in Microsoft Word and stay focused and on track!
My name is Selina Johnson and I'm a Business Support Expert providing Virtual Business Support to businesses. We help SME's with administrative, technical and creative support so you are free to grow your business and increase your profits.
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