The key(s) to maximum efficiency in MS Word

There are generally two ways to do things in Microsoft Word. There’s the slow way, which involves digging around in menus and tabs until you finally find the right thing to click on; or the fast way, where you use hotkey shortcuts to access essential features.

Hotkeys can save a lot of time — and your backside. The hotkey combination Ctrl/Cmd + S saves the current document and is a reflex for writers who have learned the hard way how important it is to save work frequently.

Other hotkeys include:

  • Ctrl/Cmd + C — Copy text
  • Ctrl/Cmd + V — Paste copied text
  • Ctrl/Cmd + D — Open the Font menu
  • Ctrl/Cmd + A — Select all text
  • Ctrl/Cmd + B — Bold selected text
  • Ctrl/Cmd + I — Italicize selected text
  • Ctrl/Cmd + U — Underline selected text
  • Ctrl/Cmd + Enter — Insert a page break

There are plenty of other, less-known hotkeys that can be just as handy. Did you know, for example, that you can search the web for selected text with Cmd + Shift + L on the macOS version?

You can discover all Word’s hotkeys — and tweak them or even define new ones — in the Customize Keyboard menu. Look under the Customize Ribbon submenu in Word Options on Windows or the Tools menu in the menu bar on macOS.