Monday, April 16, 2007

Word keyboard shortcuts via drop-down menu

Note: if you came here looking for information about drop-down menus in the new Word 2007, or the lack thereof, have a look here! This article is about, er... something else!

A lot of commands in Word do not have a specific shortcut, unless you actually make one, or it is tricky to remember. But there is a way to eliminate excessive RSI-inducing mouse movement (and just stick to keyboard induced-RSI!) even with commands that you DON'T know the shortcut too.

One example is Insert comment. You do use this, right? Well, comments are used more often when, like me, you often edit or write (or translate) texts which are not for direct publication but are going to be read by others before they are finalised. The comments are not part of the text themselves, but float in a bubble, or appear at the bottom, depending on which View mode you are in, Print Layout or Normal.

Insert comment quickly with a "shortcut"
The default shortcut to Insert comment is CTRL+ALT+M, but you can do it like this too:

  1. Press Alt. A menu item is highlighted at the top of the page, and you can't type now - if you do, you will find yourself selecting menu items you didn't want! Accidental pressing of Alt, followed by other keys, is actually a common cause of the complaint "Word keeps doing things I didn't tell it to!"
  2. Now press I. You will see that the drop down menu with the underlined I, i.e. Insert, appears. This works all over Windows by the way - the underlined letters are shortcuts of a sort! More about that another time maybe.
  3. Now press the underlined letter for the Comment option, that being not C (who knows why, probably C is in use by some other menu item), but M.
Hey presto! (I say that a lot here - it's not really magic or anything!) You have inserted a comment! Once you use the quick key sequence

Alt -> I -> M

a few times it becomes second nature and saves a whole load of time and mouse movement, which is what we are trying to achieve here!

Do a word count quickly!
Here is another example, maybe you need this more often - press the sequence:

Alt -> T [Tools menu] -> W [word count]

Abracadabra! (There's another useful magic spell!) You have done a word count 50 x (at least!) quicker than hunting for it around the menus.

Many commands have a shortcut in Word, but even if you don't know it, you can use this method to navigate the menus at the top, select just about anything, and save on using the mouse. Just use ALT to activate the top menu, and then use the underlined letter of the menu option to select what you want.

Like all shortcuts and hints, it is much easier just to not bother with this, and keep doing things the way you always have, which is fine I guess, but with a little effort you can hugely improve your skill and speed in using Microsoft Word and other Windows applications and starting looking like a pro user!

You are TOO SLOW in MS Word!

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Watch how fast this pro uses Microsoft Word™! (VIDEO) - CLICK HERE) and find out how you can massively boost your productivity in MS Word just by learning a few simple "secrets" (our cheat-sheets and video reveal all :))