Byte of Prevention Blog

by Samantha Cruff |

Keyboard Shortcuts: Getting the Most Out of Microsoft Word

(This is the second part of a series. You can read the first post here.)

Word processing is one of the most common job duties in an office.

Whether its editing a letter, typing court documents, or using inter-office forms, many of us are typing constantly.

For most of us today, this means we are using Microsoft Word frequently.

Typing Trivia: The Story of The QWERTY Keyboard

You may, at one time or another, been told that the keyboard layout we’re all accustomed to was designed to slow down typing, resulting in inefficiencies.

This has been debunked.

Instead it’s a much less exciting story: In the late 1800s, designers received input from telegraph operators to determine the layout. Sholes sold his design to Remington, the famed gun manufacturer, who began producing typewriters.

Remington developed training sessions to teach typists to use their machines, so anyone hiring a trained typist bought typewriters with this keyboard layout, typically Remington typewriters of course.

Thus the QWERTY keyboard became the standard and is still used today.

Improve Your Typing Efficiency with Shortcuts

While our keyboards aren’t as inefficient as we thought, keyboard shortcuts can improve typing efficiency

It is much faster to “Ctrl + S” to save a document then it is to stop and navigate to “Save” in the Quick Access Toolbar – these are the icons at the very top of Word – or the menu.

However, not all shortcuts are as intuitive as “Save.”

To truly master shortcuts, you will need to practice them.

Once you add them to your typing arsenal, though, you’re typing speed will be faster than ever.

Shortcuts You Can Use

Here is a list of keyboard shortcuts that are useful in document preparation:

  • Ctrl + T: Indent paragraph
  • Ctrl + M: Create hanging indent
  • Ctrl + G: Go to
  • Ctrl + 0: Add or remove a space above paragraphs
  • Ctrl + 1: Single space
  • Ctrl + 2: Double space
  • Ctrl + 5: 1.5 space
  • Ctrl + Enter: Insert page break
  • Ctrl + [ : Decrease font size
  • Ctrl + ] : Increase font size
  • Alt + Ctrl + F: Insert footnote
  • Alt + Ctrl + D: Insert endnote
  • Alt + Ctrl + S: Split document window. This is useful if you need to view 2 parts of the same document at once.
  • Alt + Shift + D: Insert date. You may need to change the formatting to your liking. The advantage to using the date field instead of typing a date is that the field will update automatically to the current date.
  • Alt + Shift + O: Mark Table of Contents entry
  • Alt + Shift + I: Mark citation entry
  • Alt + Shift + X: Mark index entry
  • Ctrl + Alt + 1: Change paragraph to Heading 1
  • Ctrl + Alt + 2: Change paragraph to Heading 2
  • Ctrl + Alt + 3: Change paragraph to Heading 3
  • Ctrl + Shift + E: Turn tracking on and off
  • Ctrl + Shift + W: Underline words without underlining spaces
  • Ctrl + Shift + D: Double underline (includes spaces)
  • Ctrl + Shift + A: Format text in all capital letters
  • Ctrl + Shift + 8: View or hide nonprinting characters
  • Shift + F7: Thesaurus
  • Alt + F7: Find next spelling or grammar error

This post orginally appeared in our Put into Practice August issue 

About the Author

Samantha Cruff

Samantha Cruff is the Marketing Communications Coordinator at Lawyers Mutual. Contact Samantha for information regarding our available risk management publications at 800.662.8843 or

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