Microsoft-Word-LogoNot everyone is on the Office 2013 bandwaggon just yet. Here at Acroment we use Office 2010 and about 20% of our clients are still using Office 2003. If you’ve been using MS Office for a while, you probably know your way around the software pretty well, but with so many options and features built in, there’s always more to learn. Here are five handy tips to help you go from being a user to a power user.

1. Familiarize Yourself With Keyboard Shortcuts

One of the things that separates the user from the power user is the ability to get things done without reaching for the mouse. The most common keyboard shortcuts are generally common knowledge. You probably already know that Ctrl+Z is the undo control, that Ctrl+A selects everything in the document, and that Ctrl+C copies selected text, but did you know that, you can use such handy shortcuts as Ctrl+B to bold text, Ctrl+I to italicize, and Ctrl+U to underline? You’re welcome. :)

If you aren’t in the habit of using keyboard shortcuts, you might be getting an inkling of why they’re a good idea. After all, if your hands are already on the keyboard, why stop to reach for the mouse and find the appropriate menu when you can simply reach over and hit Ctrl+Shift+F to change the font?

2. Text selection shortcuts

Here’s a special set of keyboard shortcuts that can be surprisingly useful when you’re doing a lot of editing and formatting. Selecting text with a mouse can be inexact, but selecting text with Shift+LEFT ARROW or Shift+RIGHT ARROW can take a while. Try Shift+Home to select a section of text from the cursor to the beginning of the line. On the flip side, Shift+End selects text from the cursor to the end of the line. Ctrl+Shift+ LEFT ARROW or RIGHT ARROW selects one word at a time, and Ctrl+Shift+ UP ARROW or DOWN ARROW will select from the cursor to the beginning of the paragraph. It doesn’t sound like much, but once you use it, you’ll wonder how you lived without it.

3. Compare documents

If you have multiple people working on a single document, it can be hard to keep track of all of the changes if you’re only using track changes and commenting. Fortunately, MS Word offers another tool. You can take two documents and compare them. Word will mark up the changes to show where they differ. All you need to do is go to the review tab of your ribbon, and click compare. This will give you the options that you need to either mark up the changes, or combine multiple versions of the same document into one.

4. Shift+F7 to access the Thesaurus

Word comes with a full thesaurus. If you find yourself at a loss for words, all you have to do is position your cursor in the word that you need to replace and hit Shift+F7. You don’t even have to highlight the entire word first. Just having your cursor there is enough. This will bring up a functional thesaurus which allows you to replace the problem word with a single click. This also comes in handy for horrible spellers like me, when even the red underline doesn’t know what I am trying to spell. I can quickly search the Thesaurus to find the word I am trying to use.

5. Paste special with Ctrl+Alt+V to remove unwanted formatting

If you copy information from the internet, or from a heavily formatted document, Word will paste the formatting along with the text. To avoid this, you can use the paste special command. Simply hit Ctrl+Alt+V and choose Unformatted Text. This will paste the text, but not the formatting, of the original, freeing you from taking the time to fix the formatting yourself.

With just these few tricks, you’ll be on your way to being a power user for MS Word. If your IT needs are greater than you can handle, though, why not consider IT outsourcing? There are smart outsourcing solutions for small businesses out there, and we invite you to contact us for more information.

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