Becoming More Efficient: Keyboard Shortcuts for Word

Do you ever find yourself doing the same small task over and over again, wishing you could find a way to make the process more efficient?

This is the second in a series of posts describing some of my areas of “friction” and how I have attempted to solve them. I’d love to hear from you about the things that slow you down and the strategies you’ve found to overcome them—please leave a comment and join the conversation! (Note that while I use a Mac, I’ve also included Windows alternatives for most of my solutions.)

In the last post, “Too Many Windows? Use OSX’s Spaces,” I described how I use Spaces, a built-in feature of OSX, or Dexpot, a similar program for Windows, to organize my various open applications as I edit. But I also have strategies for navigating my work within particular applications, especially Microsoft Word, which I use more than any other application on my computer.

By setting keyboard shortcuts (or learning the already existing shortcuts) for actions I do repeatedly, I save time and frustration. You can learn the keyboard shortcuts that already exist in the software you are using with a tool like Cheat Sheet, a free program that will show a list of all available keyboard shortcuts. But you can also add your own. Let me provide a few examples. In each case, the way to set up the shortcut on Word 2011 for Mac begins by clicking on the “Tools” menu in the menubar, then selecting “Customize Keyboard” from the bottom of that menu. Once the dialog box opens, you can select the particular command for which you’d like to define a shortcut.

Reviewing Changes as I Edit

Do you ever wonder whether you’ve made a change correctly? I find I sometimes add an extra space or delete a needed space, but I can’t see my error when “Track Changes” is on. So solve this problem, I often switch from the view where I can see changes to a view of the final version with the changes accepted. With a keyboard shortcut, I can toggle between the two views with just one keystroke.

Here’s the step-by-step process for creating such a shortcut in Word 2011 for Mac :
(1) As in every case of making keyboard shortcuts for Word, choose “Customize Keyboard” from the bottom of the “Tools” menu (in the menu bar).

Word for Mac customize keyboard menu

(2) Scroll the categories list on the left side of the dialog box to “All Commands.”
(3) Scroll the commands list on the right side of the dialog box to “ShowInsertionsAndDeletions.”

Word toggle changes

(4) Click in the box to the right of “Press New Keyboard Shortcut:” and type the key command you would like to use. The keyboard shortcut you selected should now be shown in the box below “Current keys.”
(5) Click OK.
Now, whenever you press that key combination, the document will toggle between showing the changes you have made and the final version with the changes integrated. (Note that this will not work in Draft view mode when the footnote/endnote pane is visible, though I’m not sure why. )

Accepting and Rejecting Changes during the Cleanup Process

At the end of a project, I am often asked to integrate all the changes—my edits that were acceptable to the author, any changes made by the production editor, and the author’s responses to my queries—into the file. I accept these changes one at a time to ensure that there are not typographical errors, missing or extra spaces, or other problems lurking in the text. I could do this with my mouse, clicking the “accept change” button hundreds of times, but I have set up keyboard shortcuts to make this process more efficient. I have created several shortcuts: (a) accept change and advance to the next change, (b) reject the change and move to the next change, (c) move to the next change, and (d) move to the previous change. Those four shortcuts provide me easy navigation through the document.

Here’s the step-by-step process for creating review navigation shortcuts in Word 2011 for Mac:
(1) As in every case of making keyboard shortcuts for Word, choose “Customize Keyboard” from the bottom of the “Tools” menu (in the menu bar).
(2) Scroll the categories list on the left side of the dialog box to “Tools.”
(3) Scroll the commands list on the right side of the dialog box to one of the following: “AcceptChangesAndAdvance” (which accepts the current change and moves to the next change), “RejectChangesAndAdvance” (which rejects the current change and moves to the next change), “NextChangeOrComment” (which moves to the next change), or “PreviousChangeOrComment” (which moves back to the prior change).

Word accept change
(4) Click in the box to the right of “Press New Keyboard Shortcut:” and type the key command you would like to use. The keyboard shortcut you selected should now be shown in the box below “Current keys.”
(5) Click OK.
Now, you have set key combinations that will permit you to navigate through the changes, accepting, rejecting, or reviewing them.

Editing Footnotes and Endnotes

I usually edit in Draft view, as then I can focus on the text without concerning myself with page breaks. In addition, I see any changes in line rather than in bubbles to the side. This view also allows me to see endnotes in context without having to scroll to the end of the chapter or document. However, I don’t always need to see the footnote/endnote pane (available through the “Footnotes” command from the “View” menu, available in the menu bar), as it takes up space at the bottom of my screen. Thus, I have created a shortcut to show or hide the pane.

Here’s a step-by-step process for creating a shortcut to show/hide the endnote and footnote panes.
(1) As in every case of making keyboard shortcuts for Word, choose “Customize Keyboard” from the bottom of the “Tools” menu (in the menu bar).
(2) Scroll the categories list on the left side of the dialog box to “View.”
(3) Scroll the commands list on the right side of the dialog box to one of the following: “ViewFootnoteArea” or “ViewEndnoteArea.”

Word view endnote area
(4) Click in the box to the right of “Press New Keyboard Shortcut:” and type the key command you would like to use. The keyboard shortcut you selected should now be shown in the box below “Current keys.”
(5) Click OK.
Now, you have set key combinations that will permit you to toggle the view of the footnote and endnote panes.

Soon, I’ll be posting a video showing how I made each of these shortcuts—sign up for the free resource list (there’s a place to sign up at the top of the page and in the sidebar), and I’ll be sure to let you know when the video is complete!

Posted in For copy editors, Tips and Tricks and tagged , , .

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