Smart Moves and Shortcuts


A proper place for the mouse: Since I’m a lefty, I guess I’m biased, but I think the right place for the mouse is on the left of the keyboard. That leaves your right hand free to work the number pad. Hard to make the switch from right to left? Many right-handers who did switch say it took them just two or three days to get comfortable using the left hand. Try it.

If you get frustrated when you try to select text with the mouse past the bottom of the currently visible page and it leaps past the place you want to go, forgo the mouse and use the Shift key plus the down arrow key. It’s fast and accurate.

To select a word, double-click on it. It picks up any space immediately after the word but ignores punctuation. Select a sentence by pressing Ctrl and clicking anywhere in the sentence. To select a paragraph, triple-click within the paragraph or move the mouse just past the left margin of the paragraph, and when the pointer changes to a right-pointing arrow, double-click to select the whole paragraph.

If you work with a lot of open, overlapping documents, cycle between them quickly: Ctrl+F6 to jump forward; Ctrl+Shift+F6 to go backward.

If you want to open a document and return to the exact place you left off, press Shift+F5—but you’ve got to press those keys before you do anything else in the newly opened document. Sorry Vista users, this shortcut only works in Word before 2007.

To delete the contents of all the cells in a Word table, select the table and press Delete—not Backspace. Pressing Backspace deletes the text and the table.

To create a Word 2003 style on the fly and format a paragraph the way you want it, click on Format, Styles and Formatting, type a name in the Style box on the Formatting toolbar (see screenshot at left) and press Enter. In Word 2007, you must first add the Style dropdown list to the Quick Access Toolbar.








Stanley Zarowin is a contributing editor to the JofA. His e-mail address is


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