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Terrific Tips and Tricks in Microsoft Word

Terrific Tips and Tricks in Microsoft Word

November 27, 2017 in Corporate IT Training, Microsoft Office / by Craig Gerdes

Since Microsoft Word is one of the most frequently used software programs, people assume they know everything there is to know. Therefore whenever you find new and cool things you can do in Word, it is an awesome treat. I have been teaching Microsoft Word for years and it seems like I learn new and cool things (or maybe remember old, useful things) frequently. Here are some of my most recent favorites that I thought you might enjoy:

  • Inserting a horizontal line and random text with special commands
  • Using Spike cut and paste
  • Selecting a vertical rectangular area
  • Creating customized keyboard shortcut keys
  • Finding and replacing text using codes, wildcards, and/or expressions
  • Eliminating leading and/or trailing spaces easily
  • Learning about Sticky Keys including how to use them or turn them off
  • Turning on and using Key Tips

Obviously, some of these may be very situational and not something you would use every day but still they may be very useful skills when you need them. At the very least, you should be able to impress everyone in your office!

Special Commands

  1. To create a horizontal line from margin to margin, type three hyphens and press Enter. Example below:


  1. Typing = rand(paras, sentences) and then pressing Enter will automatically generate random text you can use for testing page formatting, fonts, etc.
    Example below: =rand(2,5)

Video provides a powerful way to help you prove your point. When you click Online Video, you can paste in the embed code for the video you want to add. You can also type a keyword to search online for the video that best fits your document. To make your document look professionally produced, Word provides header, footer, cover page, and text box designs that complement each other. For example, you can add a matching cover page, header, and sidebar.

Click Insert and then choose the elements you want from the different galleries. Themes and styles also help keep your document coordinated. When you click Design and choose a new Theme, the pictures, charts, and SmartArt graphics change to match your new theme. When you apply styles, your headings change to match the new theme. Save time in Word with new buttons that show up where you need them.

Spike Cut and Paste

Usually when we cut and paste, we are moving entire sentences, paragraphs, or pages. Spike is a little-known feature that allows users to pull individual pieces of text and/or graphics from different locations in a Word document and then paste all of those separate pieces of content together in another location. NOTE: This process does not work with copy/paste, only cut/paste.

To gather information into the Spike in Word, simply select the text you want to add and press Ctrl + F3. This cuts the information from your document and places it in the Spike. You can continue doing this to keep adding text to the Spike.

To paste the collected text, place the insertion point at the location in the document and press Ctrl + Shift + F3. ALTERNATIVE: Click Insert Quick Parts-Building Blocks Organizer – Spike

NOTE: This feature is similar to using the Office Clipboard to collect items (up to 24 items) and then choosing items to paste from the list.

Select Vertical Rectangular Area

Selecting horizontal blocks of text to cut/copy/paste or format is easy. However, what about a vertical rectangular area?

To do this, hold the ALT key and then Click/Drag area.

Example below (selected from above):Microsoft-Word-Tips-and-Tricks-1

Customize Keyboard Shortcuts

You probably already execute some commands by selecting a combination of keyboard keys. For example, CTRL + B for bold. You can find many keyboard shortcuts by hovering over the command on the ribbon. However, not all commands have keyboard shortcuts assigned to them. For example, the Clear All Formatting button on the Home ribbon (far right with eraser).
In this example, will add ALT + F to that button.Microsoft-Word-Tips-and-Tricks-2

To create a keyboard combination for that command, click File – Options – Customize Ribbon. Then click Customize button next to Keyboard shortcuts.Microsoft-Word-Tips-and-Tricks-3

The following dialog box will open. Search for the command, press shortcut keys, then click Assign button.Microsoft-Word-Tips-and-Tricks-4

Use Codes, Wildcards, and/or Expressions for Find and Replace

Say your document has two line returns after each paragraph and you would like to replace as one line return after each paragraph. In the dialog box, enter the following:Microsoft-Word-Tips-and-Tricks-5

Say you want to find a string of text at the end of a word but not at the beginning of the word. For example, (in)> finds “in” and “within”, but not “interesting”. Be sure to expand More button and check Use Wildcards. See the example below:Microsoft-Word-Tips-and-Tricks-6

Say your document has a person’s name as last name and then first name and you would like to reverse the order (FN, LN). For example, Gerdes Craig to Craig Gerdes. Be sure to expand More button and check Use Wildcards. Notice the example below and enter your own names:Microsoft-Word-Tips-and-Tricks-7

The following website provides additional guidance on this topic.

Eliminating Leading and/or Trailing Spaces Easily

Have you ever received a document from someone who does not know how to tab or align – The text might appear like the example below.Microsoft-Word-Tips-and-Tricks-8

What a pain to have to backspace or delete all those extra spaces! Right? Actually NO!

Just center align the line. Yes, it really is that EASY! Then you can realign to the left or right.

Sticky Keys

Have you ever pressed down on the SHIFT key several times while you ponder what you are going to write next and then a pop-up dialog box asks you if you want to enable Sticky Keys? Microsoft-Word-Tips-and-Tricks-9

Sticky Keys is a tool designed to help disabled people use the computer keyboard more easily. For example, when activated, Sticky Keys allows one to press the SHIFT key, let up, and then press the next letter to capitalize, instead of holding down the SHIFT key continuously as is the normal process.

By default, Word enables Sticky Keys when you press the SHIFT key 5 times. While it is not a function of Microsoft Word, it often happens while using Word. You can turn them on or off permanently by going to the Ease of Access Center on your computer. Microsoft-Word-Tips-and-Tricks-10

Key Tips

You can access Key Tips by holding down the ALT key. Then you can use your keyboard to select the letter of the tab and command you want to use (numbers in some cases such as for Quick Access Toolbar items). Pressing the ESC key will back you out one level at a time. Microsoft-Word-Tips-and-Tricks-11


For more information about these and similar tips and tricks, take a Word Class from Centriq. For course descriptions and dates, see our website at https://centriq.com/corporate/class-schedule/?q=Word.

This is the second blog article in a four-part Word series. Be sure to watch for future blog articles in this Word series. The next topic will feature Awesome Add-ins and then Outstanding Options. Also plan to attend a FREE Word Lunch and Learn on Wednesday, January 10. We will feature live demonstrations of all of the items covered during this Word blog series. If you would like to attend, CLICK HERE to register.

In addition, if you would like more information about Word or other training classes available, contact a Centriq Training Advisor online or at 913.322.7062 for assistance.