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Welcome to our first post from our new Tip of the Week series. In these blog posts we’ll be going over some technical tips to make life easier, whether you are working in Microsoft Office, a desktop publishing software, an accounting software, or a CAT tool. Everyone here at TE is always looking up shortcuts or tricks to help with formatting, translating, and everything in between, so we figured we’d start sharing our findings. Hopefully these tips will help you spend less time creating tables and more time focusing on the translation work we all love!

I work in Word every single day and I’m sure most of you are the same. Whether I’m doing a translation, formatting a translation, taking notes in a meeting, or writing a blog post, I find myself performing the same tasks over and over again. At some point, exasperated, I think, there has got to be an easier way to do this!

Well guess what, there usually is. There are hundreds of keyboard shortcuts in Word (and some work in other Microsoft Office and even Adobe programs) that were created to make your life easier. By pressing keys at the same time or in certain orders you can save, open, or close documents, copy, paste, or highlight text, format fonts or paragraphs, and much more!

This first Tip of the Week will delve into some of the basic shortcuts that everyone should know. In upcoming tips, we’ll look into shortcuts for more complex formatting, how to add accents, and more. All of these shortcuts exist for PC and Mac so I’ve included both with the Mac shortcuts in parenthesis. The “+” in commands is there to show separation between the commands, you do not need to press the plus sign between commands.

Let’s Get Started

  • Control + N (Command + N) = Create new document
  • Control + O (Command + O) = Open document

And I Already Messed Up…

  • Control + Z (Command + Z) = Undo last action
  • Control + Y (Command + Y) = Redo last action
  • Control + H (Command + Shift + H) = Opens find and replace window.

Need to format?

  • Control + U (Command + U) = Underline
  • Control + I (Command + I) = Italic
  • Control + B (Command + B) = Bold
  • Control + D (Command + D) = Change Font and Character settings
  • Control + Shift + L (Command + Shift + L) = Create a bullet point
  • Control + L (Command + L) = Aligns the highlight text to the left
  • Control + E (Command + E) = Centers the highlighted text
  • Control + R (Command + R) = Aligns the highlighted text to the right
  • Control + J (Command + J) = Justifies the highlighted text
  • Alt + O + P (Command + Option + M) = Change Paragraph settings

Proofreading and Reviewing

  • Alt + Control + M (Command + Option + A)  = Insert a comment
  • Control + Shift  + E (Command + Shift + E) = Turn track changes on or off
  • Control + C (Command + C) = Copy selected text
  • Control + X (Command + X) = Cut selected text
  • Control + V (Command + V) = Paste
  • Control + A (Command + A) = Select all contents of the page


  • Control + S (Command + S) = Save
  • F12 (Command + Shift + S) = Save As
  • Control + P (Command + P) = Open Print window
  • Control + W (Command + W) = Close document
  • Alt + F4 (Command + Q) = Exit Word

I’d recommend bookmarking this page for now so that you can use it as a resource until you have memorized these shortcuts. Once you’ve memorized all 26 of them, you’ll be zooming around Word and quickly opening, creating, formatting, saving, and printing documents!

Do you have a suggestion for a Tip of the Week? Did we miss something in this post? Please let us know on social media or in the comments below!

6 thoughts on “Microsoft Word Shortcuts: The Basics

  1. Thank you for this most informative post and for taking time in sharing your knowledge with all of us!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it Laura! We’ll be posting tips of the week every Wednesday so be sure to check back for posts on creating shapes in Word, basic Excel functions, and more.

  2. Adolf von Wurttemberg April 14, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Thanks for a useful list! In a future post you may wish to add the MS Word KB shortcuts for typing the French accents, Spanish tilda and the German umlauted vowels etc. I find that these short cuts are easier to remember than the ASCII codes.

  3. Very useful tips, thanks for posting these.

  4. One of my favorite keyboard shortcuts is Shift + F3: this changes the case of the selected text (initial caps, all caps, lower case). Saves a lot of time!

  5. Good stuff thank you


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