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Tech Tips: Take Ctrl in Microsoft Word with 34 Keyboard Shortcuts

Oct 19, 2020 | Tech Tips

The control (ctrl) key on a computer keyboard takes a role in numerous keyboard shortcuts, in all operating systems and their programmes. Keyboard shortcuts vary, depending on the operating system you’re using, and in this article, we’re looking at Windows OS. Ctrl is a key player in Excel spreadsheets, as well as Word, but for now, let’s focus on the keyboard shortcuts available for Word documents.

Keyboard shortcut functions come in two forms. The first is to carry out an action that is not dependent on where your cursor is – i.e. not specific to a particular part of the document. The second type of keyboard shortcut is one that performs an action on selected content – i.e. either highlighted content, or identified by the position of the cursor.

Ctrl shortcuts unrelated to specific content

  1. Ctrl + A: Select All

All content will be selected for another action.

2. Ctrl + D: opens Font Preferences window

The font preference window presents options for: font style, (e.g. Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri); formatting (regular, bold, italic); effects (underline, strikethrough, superscript, subscript, caps, small caps); colour; size.

3. Ctrl + F: opens Find window

Enter the word, phrase, or part of a word that you want to find (e.g. content, all content, con) The number of times the word/phrase occurs will be shown, and each one will be highlighted.

4. Ctrl + H: opens Find & Replace window

Enter a word or phrase in the find what box; enter the word or phrase that you want to substitute in the replace with box. Select more for further options, such as case-sensitive or part-word searches. This dialogue window can also be accessed in the drop-down menu in the ctrl + F window.

5. Ctrl + N: opens New Word Document

6. Ctrl + O: Open

A shortcut to all files on your device. Select folders or documents, and your most recently active folders/documents will be available, with the most recent (i.e. the one you are currently working on) at the top of the page. Click browse to find older files. To exit (return to your open document), click the back arrow (top left of screen) or select the document name from the list. If you close the Open page, your current document will be closed, with an option to save changes.

7. Ctrl + P: Print options

Ctrl + P brings up the Print window, with printing options such as page orientation, paper quality, page size etc. To exit, click the back arrow (top left). If you close the Print page, your current document will be closed, with an option to save changes.

8. Ctrl + S: Save

Ctrl + S will save all changes that have been made to your document since the last save.

9. Ctrl + Z: Undo

Undo your last action with ctrl + Z. Use it again, and the action before that will be undone – up to the point where you last saved your changes.

10. Ctrl + F1: displays or hides the Ribbon

If the ribbon at the top of the document is displayed, it will be hidden by pressing ctrl + F1. Use ctrl + F1 again to display the ribbon.

11. Ctrl + Shift + F8: turns on Selection Mode

With Word’s selection mode turned on, you can use the arrow keys to select a column of text for formatting. To turn off selection mode, press Esc.

12. Ctrl + F12: displays Open dialogue box

A shortcut to all files, but different from the ctrl + O shortcut. Select cancel to close the dialogue box, and your current document will remain open.

13. Ctrl + Shift + 8: displays Paragraph Formatting

These three keys will display the pilcrow (¶) at the end and beginning of each new paragraph.

Ctrl key shortcuts for selected content

In some cases, the text to be affected must be highlighted. In many cases, these shortcuts can be actioned either by highlighting the text or by positioning the cursor.

14. Ctrl + B: Bold

Selected (highlighted) text is formatted to bold. To remove bold format, highlight bold text and use ctrl + B.

15. Ctrl + C: Copy

Selected (highlighted) text is copied.

16. Ctrl + E: Alignment Centre

Highlight the content you want to align centre and press ctrl + E. If you want to align only one line to centre, the line can be selected either by highlighting part (or all) of the content, or by placing your cursor anywhere on the row. Centre alignment can be undone by selecting the text and using ctrl + E.

17. Ctrl + I: Italic

Selected (highlighted) text is italicised. To undo italic format, highlight italicised text and use ctrl + I.

18. Ctrl + J: Justifies the text across the page

Highlight the content you want to justify and press ctrl + J. If you want to justify only one line, it can be selected either by highlighting part (or all) of the content, or by placing your cursor anywhere on the row. Justification can be undone by selecting the text and using ctrl + J.

19. Ctrl + K: insert Hyperlink

  1. Highlight the text that will be displayed (anchor text) and press ctrl + K. Either paste or type the URL into the hyperlink box.
  2. Place your cursor where you want to insert your hyperlink and press ctrl + K. Type display text in the appropriate box and paste or type the URL into the hyperlink box.

20. Ctrl + L: Alignment Left

Highlight the content you want to align left and press ctrl + L. If you want to align only one line to left, the line can be selected either by highlighting part (or all) of the content, or by placing your cursor anywhere on the row. Left alignment can be undone by selecting the text and using ctrl + L.

21. Ctrl + M: Increase Indent

Ctrl + M increases the indent of a complete paragraph. Place your cursor anywhere in the paragraph, or highlight any part (or all) of the paragraph, and press ctrl + M. The indent can be undone by selecting any part of the paragraph and using ctrl + M.

22. Ctrl + R: Alignment Right

Highlight the content you want to align right and press ctrl + R. If you want to align only one line to right, the line can be selected either by highlighting part (or all) of the content, or by placing your cursor anywhere on the row. Right alignment can be undone by selecting the text and using ctrl + R.

23. Ctrl + Q: resets Paragraph Formatting to Original style

All paragraph formatting will be undone and reset to the original style.

24. Ctrl + T: Increase Hanging Indent

A hanging indent is where all lines but the first are indented – opposite to the conventional paragraph format. Either highlight the paragraph (or part of it), or place your cursor anywhere in the paragraph. Press ctrl + T, and all but the first line will be indented. To undo formatting, use ctrl + Q.

25. Ctrl + U: Underline

Selected (highlighted) text is underlined. To undo underline format, highlight underlined text and use ctrl + U. This shortcut only provides the basic underline option. For more underline options (double line/wavy line etc), go to the font section in the ribbon.

26. Ctrl + V: paste

Place your cursor where you want the content to be pasted.

27. Ctrl + X: Cut

Selected (highlighted) text is cut. If the content isn’t pasted before further cutting or copying (ctrl + C), it will be deleted.

28. Ctrl + Y: Redo

Ctrl + Y reverses the undo action (ctrl + Z).

29. Ctrl + F3: Cut to Spike

Spike is a clipboard feature of Microsoft Word. Use ctrl + F3 to cut items from non-adjacent locations in the document. All content is accumulated in the Spike. Note that text can only be cut – and not copied – to the Spike.

30. Ctrl + Shift + F3: Paste from Spike

Insert all contents of the spike. This action will clear all content from the Spike.

31. Ctrl + 1: applies Single Line Spacing

Ctrl + 1 applies single line spacing to selected content. Highlight the lines to which you want to apply single spacing and press ctrl + 1. For single spacing after just one line, the line can either be highlighted, or the cursor can be placed anywhere in the line before using ctrl + 1.

32. Ctrl + 2: applies Double Line Spacing

Ctrl + 2 applies double line spacing to selected content. Highlight the lines to which you want to apply double spacing and press ctrl + 2. For double spacing after just one line, the line can either be highlighted, or the cursor can be placed anywhere in the line before using ctrl + 2.

33. Ctrl + 5: applies One-and-a-Half Line Spacing

Ctrl + 5 applies one-and-a-half line spacing to selected content. Highlight the lines to which you want to apply one-and-a-half-line spacing and press ctrl + 5. To apply one-and-a-half-line spacing after just one line, the line can either be highlighted, or the cursor can be placed anywhere in the line before using ctrl + 5.

34. Ctrl + 0: inserts a 12-point Line Space

Use ctrl + 0 to insert a 12-point line space before selected content. Either highlight content or place your cursor anywhere in the line.

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Article produced for and on behalf of PCSimple Ltd by Hazel @ Folio Copywriting.