Keyboard Shortcuts


Sometimes if you’re in the middle of typing a compelling scene, it can be annoying to have to stop and take hold of the mouse in order to change something in your document, or save it.

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Even if you prefer using your mouse, there are a number of keyboard commands you can make use of to save yourself time.

I’ve memorized the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-s (Hold down the Control key and press "s") for save, because it means I don’t have to stop typing and pick up the mouse to save my document. Usually I save my document at the end of a sentence, or whenever I stop to think for a bit.

I also italicise my characters’ thoughts and I find it much easier to use Ctrl-i at the start and end of a thought. It means I don’t have to stop pounding the keyboard while I’m in “voice”, and I also don’t have editing problems with thoughts remaining in ordinary text because I’ve missed them while formatting later on.

There are a number of handy keyboard shortcuts that can help keep you typing. These are some of the more popular shortcut commands:

(Mac users - the Control key is called "Command" on your Mac keyboard)

Function Keys
Ctrl-F2 Toggles between Print Preview screen and Page/Print Layout or Normal View
Shift-F3 Toggles selection between lower case, initial upper case, and full upper case.
F4 Repeat the last action
Ctrl-F4 Close the current window
Alt-F4 Shut down MS Word, or other Office applications
F5 Go To Command
Ctrl-F6 Toggle between open documents in MS Word
F7 Spelling Command
Shift-F7 Thesaurus Command
F8 Extend a selection
F12 Calls up the Save As dialog box

Shortcut Keys

Ctrl-n Create a new document
Ctrl-o Open a document
Ctrl-s Save a document (will save changes over original document)
Ctrl-p Calls up the Print dialog box
Ctrl-c Copy selected text to the clipboard
Ctrl-x Cut selected text to the clipboard
Ctrl-v Paste clipboard contents to the insertion point
Ctrl-b Bold the selected text
Ctrl-u Underline the selected text
Ctrl-i Italicise the selected text
Ctrl-z Undo an action
Ctrl-y Redo or repeat an action
Ctrl-1 Single Line Spacing
Ctrl-2 Double Line Spacing
Ctrl-Enter Insert a Page Break

If you find you prefer to use the keyboard to the mouse, you can find more keyboard shortcuts by requesting “Shortcut keys” from Help or Word’s office assistant. Print out a list and keep it on your desk, or stick it to your monitor or keyboard. You will be amazed at how quickly these stick in your memory.

Copyright © Elsa Neal, 2005.

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Elle Carter Neal

Elle Carter Neal is the author of the picture book I Own All the Blue and the teen science-fantasy novel Madison Lane and the Wand of Rasputin. She has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, holding childhood slumber-party audiences entranced until the early hours of the morning. Elle decided to be an author the day she discovered that real people wrote books and that writing books was a real job. Join Elle on her new publishing adventure.