Though Microsoft Word is by far and away the most popular and prevalent word processing software for notebooks and PCs worldwide, Microsoft is not exactly bending over backwards to publicise the various tricks and keyboard shortcuts embedded in the program. However, a little tinkering with these shortcuts could streamline your experience of working with Word and save you time and exasperation. Here are few Microsoft Word tricks that you may find useful in your work with Word.

Please note that these instructions are for Microsoft Word 2010 for PCs; there are slight variations for these shortcuts if you’re using a Mac.

4 Tips and Tricks to Use Microsoft Word Like a Pro

Changing Character's Case

There’s nothing more infuriating than looking up from a couple of minutes of furious typing to find that you’ve left the Caps Lock key on and all your work is in capitals. Thankfully, Word has a quick and easy fix for this problem that should save you the irritating delete and retype process.

First, highlight the offending text. Then press Shift and F3 together to cycle through different casing options, from all lowercase (first line in the image above), to only the first letter being capitalised (second line) and finally to all capitals once more (third line) as shown in the above image.

Track Changes

Next up is a handy trick for when you want to propose changes to a document without altering the original. Known as Track Changes in Microsoft Word. This process is great for both collaborative work and for revising your own work, saving the time-consuming process of comparing the new version to the original and making the requisite corrections. It’s also simple to use and should definitely be in your arsenal of Word tools.

To turn on Track Changes, simply click on the Review tab at the top of the screen and then click Track Changes in the middle of the bar. This icon will then turn yellow.

From now on, any changes you make will show up in red color and can be accepted or rejected by any user of the document using the accept or reject buttons in the review bar. Accepting the change will make the change in the original document while rejecting it will remove the correction altogether. This is demonstrated in the screen above, where I have deleted the word “good” from the previous sentence with track changes enabled.

Incidentally, to accept all changes in a document with just one click, click on the arrow under track changes and click “Accept All Changes in Document”, as shown above.

Inserting Comments in Microsoft Word

Finally, another neat thing that Track Changes lets you do is insert comments that are not part of the Word document and can then be deleted. Comments are great for explaining why changes have been made and for asking questions about the text and can be inserted either through the new comment button on the Review bar (as shown in the image above), or by pressing Ctrl, Alt and M at the same time.

Creating Dedicated Shortcut Keys for Microsoft Word to Perform a Particular Task

Perhaps the most useful time saving feature embedded in Word is Macros, a tool that essentially enables you to assign a keyboard shortcut to any process you conduct on Microsoft Word. This is great if, for example, you need to easily repeat a time consuming action like changing text to a certain format or inserting page numbers. On a more general level, Macros allow you to create a shortcut for any action or series of actions that you need regularly.

In this example, we will set up a Macro keyboard shortcut for Microsoft Word that changes the font and size of text simultaneously.

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First, type some text so you can perform the actions that you will save as a macro.
Then, click the ‘View’ tab at the top of the page, click the arrow under Macros on the left-hand side and click ‘Record Macro’.

Once you have clicked on ‘Record Macro’, you will be faced with the a popup window. To assign a keyboard shortcut to the Macro, we now need to click ‘Keyboard’ option on the popup window, which takes us to the following screen.

Now, simply press the key combination to which you wish to assign the macro, here I am going to use Ctrl+Alt+B. Pressing the desired keys on your keyboard will light up ‘Assign’ on the box shown above, click ‘Assign’ and then close and you will be taken back to your document.

Word is now recording your actions, so you need to complete whichever actions you wish to save as a macro. For example, I will change the font of the text to Arial and the size of the text to 16.

After completing your desired actions, go to back to the View tab, click on the arrow under Macros and click Stop Recording.

Please note that, as Word is recording your actions, don’t do any actions you don’t want saved as a macro until you’ve clicked stop recording.

There – now your macro is done and those actions will be mapped to the keyboard shortcut you created. We can see this in use if we create new text, as shown below.

Now, if I highlight the text and press Ctrl+Alt+B, the saved macro will be performed and the text will be changed to Arial and size 16, the result of which is shown below.

This process is the same for any Macro you wish to record, so if you wanted to record a macro to insert page numbers into a document, you would click ‘Record Macro’, assign a keyboard shortcut, perform the action, and then click ‘Stop Recording’.

One final note: once a macro is created, it can be used across multiple documents and is not specific to a single document.

Although using macros may seem a bit complex initially, they are invaluable time saving tools once you get the hang of it.

These four useful Microsoft Word tips – changing case, tracking changes, inserting comments, and using Macros – will streamline the experience of using Word on your computer.