Shortcuts: Functionality at Your Fingertips -->

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Shortcuts: Functionality at Your Fingertips

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By Jessica Barron, Writing Consultant

Using the functions of Microsoft Word makes me happy. Finding the location of these functions, however, does not. Sometimes it just seems easier to manually double space a paper instead of taking the time to search through drop down menus for the line spacing selection. Thankfully, Microsoft has an extensive list of shortcut codes that puts functionality at your fingertips, literally! Check out for a complete list, but here are some of my favorites:

CTRL+S – Save a document

I use this shortcut the most, usually after every edit I make to a document. I have had more than one computer crash on me mid-sentence, so learning this shortcut would be beneficial to all writers who want to frequently save their work.

CTRL+Z – Undo the last action

I tend to click on things a lot, even if I don’t know what they do. The shortcut to “undo” helps me reverse something immediately before I click on something else and my actions become irreversible.

CTRL+C – Copy selected text or object
CTRL+X – Cut selected text or object
CTRL+V – Paste cut/copied text or object

These are classic shortcuts, but they are still useful in modern word processing. When revising a document, I often cut and paste sentences from one paragraph into a different one to see how that placement impacts my overall flow and organization.

CTRL+A – Highlight the entire document

This function highlights all of the items in a paper. While it may not be used often, if a global edit needs to be made (e.g., changing the line spacing or font style), this shortcut helps writers avoid dragging their mouse through a whole document in order to highlight their text.

CTRL+2 – Double space a document

Not sure what Word can do for you? This shortcut is fantastic for those new to the functionalities of Word. Because all course papers should be double spaced, this action helps those who may not be tech savvy format their papers per Walden and APA guidelines. No more manual spacing required! And yes, you guessed it—CTRL+1 easily changes double-spaced text to single-spaced text.

CTRL+ENTER – Insert a page break

This shortcut is especially useful for writers who have gotten into the habit of manually entering spaces to start a new page in a document, like for a reference list. Using Word’s page break functionality helps you avoid having to reformat the placement of that new page if you add or delete anything during the revision process.

CTRL+EQUAL SIGN – Create subscript text
CTRL+SHIFT+EQUAL SIGN – Create superscript text

Ever wonder how writers make text incredibly small and off-center, like in H01 or 21st century? These two shortcuts will help you avoid having to search for font options to create these subscript and superscript styles.

CTRL+T – Create a hanging indent

The term hanging indent often appears in discussions of reference list formatting, but finding a document’s ruler is often more time consuming than just using the Tab key to indent lines of a reference citation. However, this shortcut quickly creates a hanging indent, which will help ensure that your reference citations are APA compliant!

There are many more shortcut options available to Word users, so if you often use one that isn’t on this list, let us and your peers know!

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