Five Ways to Increase Productivity While Using Microsoft Word

Written by Sandy Berger

Microsoft Word user? Here are five easy tips from Reviews Editor Sandy Berger to help you save time while using Microsoft Word. — People who use Microsoft Word generally only use about 10 percent of the available features. Here are five quick tips that will save you time and also extend your use of the program.

Let’s start with two basic tips. If you already know about these, you’re ahead of the game. Let this be your reminder to use them often. They are both real time savers.

Tip #1

There are many times in Word when you need to highlight a block of text, including a word, a sentence, or a paragraph. Simply double-click any word to choose it. To select an entire sentence, press the CTRL key and click anywhere within the sentence. Triple-click anywhere within a paragraph to select the entire paragraph. You can also press and hold the ALT key while highlighting a selected area of the document just as you would use a marquee tool in a drawing program.

Image credit: Sandy Berger

Image credit: Sandy Berger

Tip #2

Of all the tools in Word, the Format Painter is one of the most-useful. The icon looks like a paintbrush and is located on the home ribbon in the clipboard area on the left of the screen (if you prefer, you can also put it on the Quick Access Toolbar). The Format Painter is used to copy the format of any text in your document. For example, if you created some large highly-colored script that you would like to use again in your document, just place your cursor on that text and click on the Format Painter. After that, simply drag your mouse across the text you want to apply the new format to. It will automatically be changed. If you double-click on the Format Painter, you can paste the formatting to several different areas. After double-clicking, press ESC or click the Format Painter again to turn it off.

Tip #3

Most users know that the clipboard can be a useful tool for moving text and images. Few people, however, are aware of a clipboard feature called Spike. This provides a handy way to cut multiple pieces of text and images and paste them into a new location all at once. To use Spike, just highlight the text or graphic and press CTRL+F3 to move that selection to the Spike. Do this as many times as you like. Each selection will be added to Spike. Then place your cursor where you want the Spike information, press Ctrl+Shift+F3 and everything will be pasted at once.

Tip #4

When you open an existing document in Word, Shift+F5 will take you to the location that you were working on when the document was last closed. You can also press Shift+F5 multiple times to cycle through the spots that you have edited most-recently.

Tip #5

Have you ever been frustrated when you paste information from Word into another program and all the formatting changes with it? It’s annoying, right? Here’s the solution to that niggling problem. Web and WordPress users will find this especially helpful.

In Word 2010 or 2013 go to File > Options > Advanced. Next, scroll down to the “Cut, copy, and paste” options where you can control how the text is pasted in different scenarios.

So there you go — five easy tips to advance your MS Word skills. Are there any other Microsoft Word quick tips you use every day you’d like to share? Let me know which are your favorite shortcuts and time-saving tips.

For, I’m Sandy Berger.

Based in Pinehurst, North Carolina, Sandy Berger is a veteran tech journalist and senior editor at covering tech tips and tricks, apps, gadgets, and consumer electronics. Email her at Follow her on Twitter @sandyberger, +SandyBerger on Google+, and on Facebook.