If you're like me, you spend more than a little time adjusting your text in Microsoft Word to make it appear just the way you want. Here are some shortcuts that can save you from having to drag your cursor back up to the Ribbon to adjust your font size, paragraph spacing, and commonly used styles:

  • To increase your font one point size at a time, use Control ] (that's the right bracket) and to decrease the font size use Control [ (left bracket).
  • If you want to quickly change your selected text to your Normal style, use Control Shift N. Or, if you want to turn normal text into a heading, select it and click Control Alt and 1, 2, or 3 (depending on which heading level you want).
  • Converting selected text to bullets is as simple as using Control Shift L. (And, yes, I just used it on this list!)
  • Another thing I spend time on is paragraph spacing. To add or remove a small amount of line space right before the selected paragraph, use Control 0 (that's a zero).
  • To view the non-printing characters to troubleshoot a section of your document, you can use Control Shift * (asterisk) to toggle it on and then off again when you're done.
  • Finally, if you want to borrow some formatting from a section but not copy the actual content, use Control Shift C and then, to paste it, Control Shift V.

One last note, in case you run into a problem with this last tip - or any keyboard shortcuts:

When I went to try this, I found that my computer manufacturer had already mapped Control Shift C to its own Health Check program, which blocked me from performing this cool maneuver in Word. I went to the Windows 7 search box, typed in the name of this program, and then right clicked it to select its Properties. There I was able to remove the shortcut (it's not an app I usually need), so it is now available to me in Word.

Suzanne