10 time-saving tips for Microsoft Word

10 time-saving tips for Microsoft Word

Spending too long trying to navigate Microsoft Word? Follow these handy shortcuts to make the most of your computing time

Unless you have a highly technical job, the chances are that most of your work-related computing life revolves around Microsoft Word. It therefore makes sense to master those shortcuts and handy tips that will speed up the way you use this software. Learn exactly how to do this with the help of our top time-busting tips.

1. Hide ribbon

Free up screen space by hiding the ribbon when you don’t need it. Simply right-click anywhere on the ribbon and choose Minimize the Ribbon to do so. Everything except the tab headings will vanish. Simply click a heading to access the tab’s contents.

2. Customise the ribbon (Not available in Microsoft Word Starter Edition)


Make your own custom tab on the ribbon with all your favourite commands on it.

Select the File tab, click the Options button, and select Customise Ribbon. You can either modify the contents of an existing tab or click New Tab to create your own custom ribbon with all the features you use most. Select the commands that you want to use and group them in whatever way you like.

3. Copy formatting

Copy the formatting from some text by using the format painter.

Copy one block of text’s formatting to another by selecting the formatted text you want to use. Now click Format Painter on the Home tab’s ribbon. Finally, select the text that you want to restyle to apply the new formatting.

4. Add special characters quickly

Need to use a special symbol? They're all here under Insert > Symbol.

Switch to the ribbon’s Insert tab and click Symbol. Select the symbol you want from the list displayed. If it's not there, click More Symbols and browse through the full list. When you find the one you want, select it and click Insert, then close the dialog.

5. Remove formatting

Want to strip that fancy formatting from your text quickly? Simply select it and press [Ctrl] + [Space]. Alternatively, if you’d like to switch back to the default style, press [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [N] instead.

6. The spike

By default, the clipboard only saves the last cut or copied piece of text. The spike works like a cumulative clipboard – it always cuts your text, but keeps everything you store on it until you paste it. To use the spike, select your first bit of text and press [Ctrl] + [F3] to cut and store it on the spike. Repeat for other sections of text. Finally, position the cursor where you wish to paste all your text and press [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [F3] to clear the spike and paste its contents in the order in which it was picked up.

7. Table formulae

Take the strain out of adding up in tables by inserting a formula to do the hard work for you.

There’s no need to add up quantities in tables. You can add formulae, just like in Excel. Once you've inserted your table, choose Layout under Table Tools on the ribbon and click Formula. Now enter the formula you want to use.

8. Quick-fire navigation

Navigate your document quickly with these handy keyboard shortcuts: use [Ctrl] + [←] and [Ctrl] + [→] to quickly jump to the previous or next word, or use [Home] and [End] to jump to the start or end of the current line. To move to the beginning or end of your document, use [Ctrl] + [Home] and [Ctrl] + [End] respectively.

9. Text selection

Sometimes the mouse won't quite behave the way you want. Tame your selections by pressing [Ctrl] as you click a word to highlight a whole sentence. Use the [Alt] key while dragging to select a rectangular block of text, ignoring words or sentences within it.

10. Print backwards

Save yourself from collation hell by setting Word to print pages in reverse order.

By default, you print off documents first page first, which can cause problems when collating. Set Word to always print the last page first by clicking the File tab, then choosing Options. Select Advanced and then, under Print, check the box marked Print Pages In Reverse Order.