Your Formatting Genie On Steroids: Keyboard Shortcuts

Welcome to Techie Tuesday! This is the day we let our inner geeks out to play here at More Cowbell.

Believe it or not, my day job is with accountants. I know, I know…can you believe they even let me across the threshold with my subzero math skills??

Currently my group is gearing up for busy season, a 3-4 month period that leaves me awestruck EVERY year and their fingers are flying!

With all the 10-key talent they possess, it shocked me during their Word training to find them unfamiliar with many of Word’s shortcuts. They fell on me like starving scavengers when I showed them.

Over the last several weeks, we’ve been talking about being our own Formatting Genies with Techie Tuesday posts on Track Changes, setting up manuscript templates and how to do the dreaded 25 lines per page setting.

Some of you have asked me for shortcuts and you know I love to give to my fellow writers. In honor of you (and my accountants) I’m bringing this list of shortcuts back from an earlier post. Enjoy!

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 + ASelects all the text in your document
Ctrl + BBolds your selected text
Ctrl + CCopy selected text to the Clipboard
Ctrl + DOpens the font dialog box
Ctrl + ECenter Align text
Ctrl + FFind…
Ctrl + GGo To…
Ctrl + HReplace… (Find is available here so I usually just go to Replace…)
Ctrl + IItalicize currently selected text
Ctrl + JFully Justify text
Ctrl + KInsert Hyperlink
Ctrl + LLeft Alight text
Ctrl + M½” Indent a paragraph
Ctrl + NNew blank file
Ctrl + OOpen… (an existing document)
Ctrl + PPrint… (the current document)
Ctrl + QRemoves Paragraph Formatting in Windows (this one is amazing!)
(on a MAC, this ejects an external disk like a CD or DVD)
Ctrl + RRight Align text
Ctrl + SSave changes to the current document

Ctrl + T½” Hanging Indent (this is where the 1st line is on the margin and the rest of the paragraph indents…think party invitations)

Ctrl + UUnderline currently selected text
Ctrl + VPaste text from the Clipboard
Ctrl + WClose Document currently open
Ctrl + XCut currently selected text
Ctrl + YRedo
Ctrl + ZUndo (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…

I hope the writing goes smoothly this week. My New Year’s wish for you:

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

What helps you write faster or more efficiently? Enquiring minds always  want to know here at More Cowbell!


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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22 Responses to Your Formatting Genie On Steroids: Keyboard Shortcuts

  1. K.B. Owen says:

    Great shortcuts, Jenny! I didn’t know most of them, except for Shift + f7, which I use all the time! Hope you have a happy, happy New Year!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I LOVE the Shift+F7 and the F12 keys more than anything else on the keyboard. Plus I love the Ctrl+F4 to close a document and the Alt+F4 to close an application. I use a laptop so the keyboard is just usually easier than a mouse. 🙂


  2. So helpful, Jenny! I thought I knew most of the shortcuts, but was wrong!!!!

    Hope you have a happy 2012!


  3. Have you got a shortcut to help a dimwit remember the shortcuts? Actually, I use a lot of them, but I can’t remember them all.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      David, you need what I call a “wall page.” Print these out, or copy and paste them into a document and change the font to a type and size you like and put them on the wall next to your computer screen until you naturally memorize them.

      I promise, it will help. You’ll end up taking it down after 2-3 months because they’ll be embedded in your brain. 🙂


      • Marcia says:

        Great idea, Jenny, because I was going to say the same thing David said! Must be an ‘age’ thing. Thanks for the list…I never knew any of these.


  4. Ashlee Hartt says:

    Okay. I have a question. I remember years ago someone mentioned how you can close or change window screens on your computer by hitting a certain button but can’t remember what the key combination was. You know, for those times you’re playing solitaire or tweeting at work and need to minimize the window really fast when someone comes into your office (not that I would EVER do this, of course!)? Do you have any idea what that was?

    And thanks for these shortcuts!


  5. I don’t use all of these, but I couldn’t live without the shortcut keys I do use. I need to print this and start using a few more.


  6. Kathy says:

    Well, bless your heart.Your post is like a surprise Christmas present, one I can use every day. Thanks so much!


  7. My Wall Page is up. Like David, my biggest problem is remembering this list. Thanks Jenny – you are the gift that keeps giving!


  8. Julie Glover says:

    I pride myself on mastering wordprocessing software pretty well, and I didn’t know half of these! You are a genius genie yourself. Thank you, Jenny. I feel empowered now.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I’m sure you rock at wordprocessing, Julie! But remember, I’ve been a software trainer for more than 15 years. I have an edge. 🙂 The entire point is for you to feel empowered so I’m delighted.


  9. Oh man. Printing your list out and making an old fashioned sticky note for my computer. THANKS! 🙂


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