Keyboard Shortcuts and Other Amazing Productivity Tips

As you might have surmised from some earlier blogs, I work with accountants. Seeing the mountains of paperwork that go in and out is nothing short of astonishing during tax season. Accountants’ fingers tap a keyboard, particularly on the 10-key side, like nothing you’ve ever seen.

Yet, with all that finger-tapping, I just taught a class today with the list of shortcuts below and they fell on it like starving scavengers. It occurred to me as I watched them coo and ooooh over these shortcuts that perhaps this list would be helpful to all of my fellow WRITERS. (You know I live to give to writers. :-))

Keyboard Shortcuts in Word (remember, you don’t type the “+”)
Note: The majority of these work on the Mac using Command instead of CTRL.

Ctrl + A       Selects all the text in your document
Ctrl + B        Bolds your selected text
Ctrl + C        Copy selected text to the Clipboard
Ctrl + D       Opens the font dialog box
Ctrl + E        Center Align text
Ctrl + F        Find…
Ctrl + G       Go To…
Ctrl + H       Replace… (Find is available here so I usually just go to Replace…)
Ctrl + I         Italicize currently selected text
Ctrl + J         Fully Justify text
Ctrl + K        Insert Hyperlink
Ctrl + L        Left Alight text
Ctrl + M      ½” Indent a paragraph
Ctrl + N       New blank file
Ctrl + O       Open… (an existing document)
Ctrl + P        Print… (the current document)
Ctrl + Q       Removes Paragraph Formatting (this one is AMAZING!)
Ctrl + R        Right Align text
Ctrl + S        Save changes to the current document

Ctrl + T        ½” Hanging Indent (this is where the 1st line is on the margin and the rest of the paragraph indents…think party invitations)

Ctrl + U       Underline currently selected text
Ctrl + V        Paste text from the Clipboard
Ctrl + W       Close Document currently open
Ctrl + X        Cut currently selected text
Ctrl + Y        Redo
Ctrl + Z        Undo (last change)

Function Keys and Shortcuts in Word (and Excel, in case you’re tracking something…like submissions!)

Microsoft Word:
F1                     Help
F4                     Repeats Last Action
F5                     Go To…(also gets you to Find… and Replace…)
F7                      Starts SpellCheck (SCORE!)
Shift + F7         Opens Thesaurus
F12                   Save As…
(This is the single most important key in all of Microsoft Office for the writer…save your work!)

Ctrl + 1            Changes current selection to single-spaced
Ctrl + 2            Changes current selection to double-spaced
Ctrl + 3            Changes current selection to 1 ½ spaced

Microsoft Excel:
F1                      Help
F2                      Activates Edit mode; places cursor at end of cell contents
Shift + F2         Activates Cell Comment dialog
F4                      Repeats Last Action
F5                      Go To…
F7                       Starts SpellCheck
F9                       Calc Now — Allows Formula Bar to Calculate
F11                      Creates Default Chart Sheet from selected data
F12                     Save As…

What about having a cheer squad while you write? Who is going to hold you accountable and make sure that you keep that Butt in the Chair, those Hands on the Keyboard, Typing Away Madly at your MASTERPIECE?

(Side Note: By now my pals know I’ve been at the coffee again…CAP, CAP, CAP!)

I used to belong to a group called BIW (Book in a Week) and their motto is the above: BIC-HOK-TAM! This amazing group posts goals and follows through. Even if you don’t make your goal, you’ve made friends and are given a TON of encouragement.

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is another godsend for the writer who’s trying to learn how to spit the words out. Every November, Chris Baty and his crew gather hundreds of thousands of writers all around the world online and try to write FIFTY THOUSAND words in a month. (If you go crazy this year and join, I’m “jennyhansen” – come buddy up with me.)

For Wrimos, there are write-ins, costume parties, online forums, prizes, pep talks, and even a conference halfway through the month. It’s crazy, it’s frenzied…it’s amazing. I’ve never won, but I love it just the same. They run ScriptFrenzy during the month of April if that’s more to your liking.

For those of you that pine for NaNo from December through the end of October, why not try ROW80? My blogging pals Tiffany A. White, Shellie Sakai and Danielle Meitiv are doing it and they’re all “Rocking the ROW.” Another pal, Jen Greyson, blog hops. It’s all about goals and working toward them with a community of other writers.

There are groups on Facebook and LinkedIn – too numerous to name (my DSWS peeps know who they are). My critique group keeps me going, each and every week, making sure my writing stays fit, not flabby.

Today’s writer doesn’t have to write alone unless they choose to be. We can all build a writing team.

I hope the writing goes smoothly this week. My wish for you:

May the words flow like a melody from your mind to your fingertips, retaining all the beauty and the magic they possessed when they entered your imagination.

Who is a part of your team? What do they do that is so special to you as a writer? We want to know what motivates you or helps you be productive! (Comments are welcome and encouraged, especially between now and May 17th because they automatically enter you in the Let’s Meet Up (for Training) Contest.)


About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm ( Write on!
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21 Responses to Keyboard Shortcuts and Other Amazing Productivity Tips

  1. amyshojai says:

    I’ve got lots of folks on the “team” (including you *s*) helping with the tweeting, FBing, cheering, chastising and lots of other -ing’s. Oh, and I’ve got a question for you re: shortcuts.

    I’m in HTML hell, writing content and coding like crazy for a soon-to-launch website (requires the coding). It’s tedious, eye-crossing crappiocca. Is there a way to create keystroke shortcuts? I tried doing that and it ended up being just as fast to write as to do a “ctr-h” or whatever. Thoughts?


  2. Shellie Sakai says:

    Jenny! Thanks for the shout-out! I am loving the shortcuts. I knew maybe half of them. Thanks for posting them. It will make life a lot easier. And speaking as a bookkeeper/tax preparer, anything that doesn’t envolve a 10 key pad is exciting and new!

    Great post!


  3. Excellent summary! I know Word well but am going to try Scrivener. Eventually it will have to go back into Word for formatting. Ctrl Q does sound handy.


  4. Awesome Stuff Jenny!!
    My DH gets mad at me when he asks for help with his cutting and pasting because I’m all about the shortcuts. (it’s Command + on Macs)

    Thanks for a few I didn’t know about. (and the shout out)

    I may have to check out Row80

    Now back to:


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      You go with your keyboard self! The Command instead of CTRL absolutely works to take these from the PC to the Mac. There are just a few notable exceptions…ex: Command + Q ejects a disk/cd on the Mac.

      I also like that the Option key with the mouse will give you the equivalent of the PC’s right mouse click.


  5. Thanks for the shout out & THANK YOU for all the short cuts. Your tips are so helpful to me!

    ROW80 is open to new members every Sunday & Wednesday…


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Awesome, Tif! Thanks for the ROW80 update. 🙂


    • I was writing some of these down in my notebook, and thought I’d let you know that I love the fact that you wrote “Keyboard Shortcuts in Word (remember, you don’t type the “+”)” – that was aimed at me, wasn’t it? 🙂


      • K.B. Owen says:

        ROFL when I got to the “remember, don’t type the +” !! That is so me. Glad to know I’m not the only one!


        • Jenny Hansen says:

          K.B. and Tiffany,

          That makes me smile. I used to forget to mention it but then I had all these people telling me keyboard shortcuts don’t work them and making that frowny face. Once I figured out the problem…

          Hats off again for Jen Greyson for reminding me to spread some Mac love in these blogs…I’ll try to remember from now on.

          So, K.B….since you are now entered in the Let’s Meet Up contest, what topic are you most interested in getting an hour’s worth of training on?


  6. Laura Drake says:

    YOU be my peep!

    And only a little bit because you’re such a techie!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. dryanleask says:

    Open this Blog and
    Ctrl + A
    Ctrl + C
    Ctrl + N
    Ctrl + V
    F12 (Type Best Shortcut Referance Ever)
    Ctrl + P
    and distribute!


    • Jenny Hansen says:


      I get a ton of funny comments, but not usually in tech-ese. That’s AWESOME!!!

      What topic do you vote for on the Webinar? Remember, the topic is decided each month by all of you. I’m just the trainer. 🙂


      • dryanleask says:

        Ah, topic. Well I haven’t even heard of Social Oomph so that said I likely know the least about it. That’s my vote!


  8. This is a great list Jenny!
    Wanted to pass on another Word one many people I teach find very helpful.
    Press CTRL+A to select the entire document, then press CTRL + [ to decrease the text 1 pt for each click or CTRL + ] to increase the text 1 pt for each click. This is great when you have a document of different font sizes and want to decrease/increase them all at once 1 pt at a time! You might be interested in our new productivity tool that includes all the MS Office keyboard shortcuts in one place that’s searchable too!


  9. Awesome tips. I knew a few of them but, well, bookmarking for the others. Thanks!


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