We use computers for a huge range of different tasks, but just about everyone uses a word processor on a regular basis.

It might be a report, dissertation, that novel you're working on, or a business plan, but all can benefit from knowing Word's many shortcuts and tricks to getting things done quicker.

From basic keyboard shortcuts that everyone should know to more advanced features such as tracking changes when you're collaborating on a document with others, you're sure to find our selection of tips invaluable.

You might find the list includes a few that you already know, but we hope everyone finds at least one useful trick which saves them time.

Common shortcuts

DID YOU KNOW: You don't have to select or highlight a word to apply formatting to it? Simply place the cursor somewhere in the word, and hit Ctrl, B to make it bold, for example.

Here are some of the main shortcuts you'll want to use to save time:

Ctrl, Z - Undo
Ctrl, X - Cut
Ctrl, C - Copy
Ctrl, V - Paste
Ctrl, A - Select all
Ctrl, Shift, C - Format painter (copies formatting of selected text)
Ctrl, Shift, V - Format painter (pastes formatting to selection)
Ctrl, L - Align text left
Ctrl, F - Find
Ctrl, H - Find and replace
Ctrl, P - Print document
Ctrl, Shift, . - Enlarge font size for selected text
Ctrl, Shift, , - Decrease font size for selected text
Ctrl, Shift, N - Applies the Normal style to selection
Ctrl, Backspace - Delete last word
Ctrl, cursor keys - Navigate through text one word at a time

Tips and tricks to use Word faster

1. If you constantly use the mouse to click on tools in the Ribbon or in menus, learning a the keyboard shortcuts above will save time. We like F12 for Save As, and Ctrl, Y to redo the last thing you undid. Visit Microsoft's Office website for a full list.


2. Master F4. F4 is a really useful Keyboard shortcut. It repeats the last command you issued. So if you’ve just deleted a line, move to a new point in a document and use F4 to delete that line. If you’ve just chosen a font style, select a new area and use F4 to apply it there too.

Master F4

3. Make templates. If you write a lot of letters, create a template letterhead for yourself. If you write a lot to the same person, create a template letterhead for letters to them. Templates save you retyping lots of text time after time after time. Make a templates folder to store them if you like.


4. Use and customise AutoCorrect. Word automatically corrects words you mistype. You can add to Word's auto correct list.  Go to the File menu then Options, Proofing and AutoCorrect Options. Use the Replace Text as you Type box to set up personalised auto corrections.


5. Use the thesaurus. If your writing needs a pick-me-up then try the thesaurus built into Word for some ideas. Highlight your word or phrase, then right click, choose Synonyms then Thesaurus. If you like a word, click it to insert into text.


6. Use track changes. If you are working with others on a document, keep an eye on their modifications with track changes. Under the Review menu choose Track Changes. You can also use the Review ribbon to add comments to documents.

track changes

7. Customise the ribbon. If the Ribbon is confusing customise it to be more helpful. Choose File, Options, Customise Ribbon. This can get quite complex but careful work can reap rewards.  You can also customise the quick access toolbar at the very top left of the Word window.

Customise Ribbon

8. Speedy editing. If you need to find something in a document click Home, Editing, Find (or Ctrl-F). Now type your search term and click to jump to its locations for editing. Use Replace (Ctrl-H) to change all instances of a word or phrase to something else.

Find and replace

9. Change margins. If you need to fit text onto a single sheet and it just won’t work, change the margin sizes. Click Page Layout then Margins and either try the preset narrow margins or define a custom size.

Print margins