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by Samantha Cruff |

Keyboard Shortcuts to Increase Productivity

Most of us are frequent users of programs such as Word, Outlook, and Excel. But many of us are not familiar with the keyboard shortcuts that can help us throughout our day.

Keyboard shortcuts improve productivity by keeping your hands on the keyboard.

We all like to be more productive in how we work.

Shortcuts for Office

Because Microsoft Office products are separated by functionality, many keyboard shortcuts differ from program to program.

There are a few basic shortcuts, however, that are common among them.

The most common Office Keyboard shortcuts are:

  • Ctrl + B: Bold
  • Ctrl + I: Italicize
  • Ctrl + U: Underline
  • Ctrl + K: Insert hyperlink
  • Ctrl + F: Find
  • Ctrl + H: Replace
  • Ctrl + Home: Go to beginning of document. In Excel, this takes you to the upper left cell on the worksheet.
  • Ctrl + End: Go to end of document. In Excel, this takes you to the lower right cell on the worksheet.
  • F7: Spellcheck
  • F12: Save As

Shortcuts for Everything but Excel

Excel operates very differently from its companion products.

Because of that, there are several shortcuts that work in Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook that perform significantly differently functions in Excel.

This sometimes causes interesting results in Excel when I attempt to use a shortcut designed for another program.

Here are some useful shortcuts for the non-Excel Office products:

  • Ctrl + E: Align Center
  • Ctrl + R: Align right
  • Ctrl + L: Align left
  • Ctrl + J: Align Justified
  • Ctrl + “=”: Superscript
  • Ctrl + Shift + “=”: Subscript
  • Ctrl + Shift + “<”: Decrease font size
  • Ctrl + Shift + “>”: Increase font size
  • Shift + Right arrow: Select letter to the right
  • Shift + Left arrow: Select letter to left
  • Ctrl + Delete: Delete word to right of cursor
  • Ctrl + Backspace: Delete word to left of cursor
  • Ctrl + Spacebar: Remove formatting
  • Shift + F3: Change text case

(Note: any symbol included in a shortcut is enclosed in quotes to avoid confusion regarding the symbol. The “+” sign that appears outside of quotes indicates an “and”. The colon is simply a divider between the shortcut and the command it performs.)

I will separately discuss keyboard shortcuts that are specific to the 4 main office products: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook in future posts.

Have a keyboard shortcut that you swear by? Let me know your favorites.

This post was originally published in our Put Into Practice newsletter

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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