5 Quick Microsoft Word 2010 Shortcuts

December 7, 2010, By Christian Cawley

Microsoft Word’s powerful text editing abilities can often be overlooked when it seems like the only way to perform a particular task is to do it manually.

However with years of experience, the Word developers have been making pretty much every word processing task easier by creating functions and tools to aid in the completion of these tasks. For instance, you can resolve an oft-repeated error in someone’s name by using the Replace tool, or format text across an entire document or just a few words. You can even create an entire document without resorting to accessing the toolbar at all just by employing the context menu. Finally formatting symbols can be toggled on and off and used to uncover just why the document doesn’t look right.


One particularly useful shortcut in Word 2010 is the “bulk replace” option. A common feature in text editors, this option will let you reformat a regularly occurring phrase or word in your document. For instance if you have written a document referring to a “Mr T. Davies” but decided that you would prefer to have the phrase displayed as Mr T Davies, use the Home > Editing > Replace tool to Find a phrase and Replace it with your correction. You can also use the More menu for extra options such as matching the case of the word or phrase and apply formatting to the new text.

Formatting text

Vast areas of text can be changed with the click of a button in Microsoft Word 2010, and this shortcut can make all of the difference to the look and feel of your document.

An entire paragraph, a word or the whole document can be changed by selecting areas with the mouse (or pressing CTRL + A for the entire document) and then making a choice based on changes to the font or paragraph. For instance you might highlight an entire section or use the Home > Styles section to apply a specific formatting to the text.

Remember to save you document before making such changes – simply press CTRL + S for a quick save.

Context Menu

To easily access a range of formatting functions and tools without resorting to the main toolbar menu, simply right click your mouse to open the context menu where you will find regularly used tools such as the font tools and highlighting options.

Also if you double click to select a single word or left click and drag to select a section of text, a “ghosted” menu will appear. Mouse over this to reveal the font menu with some alignment and text formatting tools also thrown in.

Special Paste and Clear Formatting

If you are copying text from one file or source into another and are concerned about the formatting of the original document being carried over into yours, use the Paste options in the Home > Clipboard section. Left-click where you intend the text to be pasted and use the Paste menu to choose between Keep Source Formatting, Merge Formatting and Keep Text Only.

Similarly the Clear Formatting tool in Home > Font will allow you to remove the formatting after pasting the text.

Show and Hide Formatting Symbols

On the Home > Paragraph section you will find the Show/Hide¶ button, which will enable you to toggle on and off the various formatting symbols that appear around the document.

This is particularly useful as it can help to illustrate why a document isn’t laid out in the way you intended. For instance you might have a page break that rather than existing on its own line instead sits at the end of a line of text, causing problems with the position of the next page or the formatting of the next page’s heading. Using the Show/Hide¶ button you should be able to track down such problems quickly and resolve them.

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