Word provides many options to customize the process of editing documents. There are several views and tools in Word that allow you to make and see changes to your document in a preferable method. The following Editing articles will also explain how to utilize the Review tab of the ribbon, which is crucial to personalizing the editing process in Word.
Tips, Tricks, and Answers
The following articles are available for the 'Editing' topic. Click the article''s title (shown in bold) to see the associated article.
Added Spaces when Dragging and Dropping Paragraphs
When using Word's editing tools, you may notice some extraneous spaces left where you don't want them. This tip addresses one possible source of those spaces and how to get rid of them.
Adding a Break to Your Document
Want to modify the way your text flows between pages in a document? Word allows you to insert several types of breaks that control the flow for you.
Adding an Inverted A
Want to insert an upside-down letter in your text? This tip provides a number of different approaches you can use to get the inverted character you want.
Adding an Optional Break
The no-width optional break is primarily used for Asian languages in Word. It can have value for English-speakers, as described in this tip.
Adding Circles around Letters or Numbers
Want to add some handy circles around text in your document? Believe it or not, Word provides three ways you can accomplish the task, as described in this tip.
Adding Half Spaces to Punctuation
Want a little more space just before some of your punctuation characters? You can add that spacing in a variety of ways, as recounted in this tip.
Adding Hyphens to Phrases
Editing text to turn regular words into hyphenated phrases can be a real bother. The chore can become a breeze if you apply the ideas in this tip.
Need to add parentheses around some word or phrase? Here's a quick macro that makes this simple edit in one step.
Adding quote marks is normally as simple as typing them from the keyboard. However, if you want to add quote marks around both ends of a text selection in a single step, you'll love this tip and the macro it describes.
Adding Serial Commas in a Sentence
Part of the job of an editor is to apply standards of grammar to text written by someone else. One standard that may need to be applied is the inclusion of a serial comma in an in-line list. Here's a way you can make adding these commas easy.
Adding Tabs at the Beginning of a Line
Press a tab at the beginning of a paragraph, and Word normally assumes you want to indent the paragraph. If you don't like Word second-guessing what you are typing, here's how to turn off that annoying feature.
An Automatic Two Spaces after a Period
Should you put two spaces after a sentence or just one? Ask different people and you will get different answers. To Word the answer isn't really important; it can help you enforce either type of spacing you want. This tip explains how.
An Easy Way to Count Items
Need to quickly count a group of items in a document? Here's a drop-dead easy way to get that count.
Need to move a few paragraphs around in your document? Word provides a couple of handy shortcuts that make it very easy to move them in any direction you want.
Automatic Non-breaking Spaces in Dates
It drives some people crazy to have a date break across two lines. If you find yourself in this mindset, then you'll appreciate the ideas presented in this tip for easily making sure that a date stays all on the same line.
Automatically Identifying Repeated Words
Need to find out how many times words are repeated in a document? If so, you'll appreciate the discussion in this tip about available tools and resources.
Automatically Selecting Words
When editing a document, Word normally selects entire words as you use the mouse to select text. This tip explains why this occurs and how you can change this behavior, if you desire.
Automatically Using Smart Quotes
As a way to make your documents look more professional, Word can utilize "smart quotes" for both quote marks and apostrophes. Here's what that term actually means and how to control the capability in Word.
Better Ways to Insert Symbols
The traditional way to insert symbols into a document is to use the Symbol dialog box. This tip looks at ways other than the dialog box that you can use to insert your most common symbols.
Breaking Into Sentences
Macros allow you to easily extend what you can do with Word. If you have a common editing task, that task can often be more easily and quickly addressed by using a macro.
Capitalizing the First Letter after a Colon
There are many rules in English grammar (and many exceptions to those rules.) One common rule of grammar is to capitalize the first letter appearing after a colon, provided that what follows the colon could stand on its own as a sentence. Word does not include a way to do this capitalization automatically (too many grammatical exceptions to make a hard-and-fast rule), but you can create your own macro that will take care of the capitalization for you.
Capitalizing the First Letter after a Quote Mark
The AutoCorrect feature of Word will automatically capitalize the first letter of sentences as you type, unless the sentence begins with a quote mark. If you want a way to make sure that your quoted text begins with a capital letter, then you may find the macros in this tip helpful.
Capitalizing the Word "I"
The first-person, singular pronoun "I" should always be capitalized, unless you are exercising poetic license. Word may not always make sure it is capitalized, however, as discussed in this tip.
Capitals After Colons
Do you want Word to always capitalize the first letter appearing after a colon? The program won't do it by default, but there are a couple of things you can try to get the capitalization you want.
Changing Paragraph Order
Want a quick way to rearrange entire paragraphs of your document? You can easily do it by using the techniques described here.
Changing Smart Quotes to Primes
Smart quotes can be helpful in giving your document a more finished look, but you may not want them after any of the digits in your document. This tip looks at how you can change any smart quotes following the digits back to primes.
Checking for a List of Phrases in a Document
Once you start amassing quite a few documents, it is not uncommon to want to change phrases commonly used in those documents to an alternative phrase. This tip looks at how those changes might best occur.
Checking for Matching Parentheses
There are lots of little "gotchas" that can make the difference between a finished document and a polished document. One such thing is making sure that you have matching parentheses (a closing parenthesis for every opening one). This tip presents a macro that can make quick work of this check and notify you if there is a potential problem.
Checking for Words and Phrases
You may want to determine if a document contains a certain set of words or phrases. There are a couple of ways you can make this determination, as illustrated in this tip.
Collecting Highlighted Text Selections
Got a document with text passages marked with the highlighter tool? You can collect all those highlighted selections and move them to a new document by applying the techniques in this tip.
Comparing Documents Top and Bottom
Word has a feature that allows you to compare two documents side-by-side. What if you actually want to compare the documents one above the other (top and bottom)? You can make this change in orientation rather easily, as described in this tip.
It is a good idea to make sure that the spacing following each sentence in your document is consistent. Here's a handy macro you can use to ensure that there is only a single space after each sentence.
Controlling Overtype Mode
Some people like to have Word replace previous information as they type; this is called 'overtype mode.' You can control overtype mode by following the steps outlined in this tip.
Copying and Pasting without Affecting the Clipboard
Just about everyone knows the simple ways of copying and pasting using the Clipboard. What if you want to copy and paste, however, without affecting what is already in the Clipboard? This tip provides five alternatives you can use to make your edits without losing what you already have in the Clipboard.
Copying Red Text to a New Document
Need to copy all the red text in your document to a different document? There are several ways you can approach the task; this tip highlights four different approaches.
Counting Document Lines
Need to know how many lines are in your document? Word provides a quick and easy way you can determine the information.
Creating Compound Characters
Word provides access to a wide variety of characters either from the keyboard or from the Symbol dialog box. Up and above that, you can also use a field to create your own special compound characters, if desired.
Creating New Windows
A great way to work on different parts of the same document at the same time is to create windows. These function as different views of the document.
Creating Special, Compound Characters
If you have a need for special characters (particularly in technical documents), Word provides a couple of ways you can create them. Here is a quick look at the creation methods.
Ctrl+V No Longer Works
One of the most commonly used keyboard shortcuts is CTRL+V, which is used to paste the contents of the Clipboard. If CTRL+V stops working in Word, it can be very aggravating. This tip discusses how to once again get CTRL+V to work properly.
Cut and Paste Formatting
What happens when you copy information from one document and paste it into another? It is possible for what you paste to look completely different than you intended. Here's the skinny on what is happening to your text.
Dealing with Run-On Sentences
A common task when editing documents is to break up run-on sentences. You can make this task a little easier by using the editing macro described in this tip.
Deleting a Final Blank Page
When creating a document, if can be frustrating to have a blank page somehow appear at the end of the document. If you want to get rid of any extraneous blank pages, the ideas in this tip will help.
Deleting a Page
Want to delete the current page? There is no automatic command to perform this task in Word, but you can create your own command with the single-line macro described in this tip.
Deleting a Range of Pages
Need to delete a range of pages out of the middle of your document? It's easy to do using editing techniques you already know about.
Deleting All Text in Linked Text Boxes
Word allows you to place text in multiple text boxes and have that text flow from one text box to another. This tip explains how you can easily delete the text that flows among those text boxes.
Deleting Freezes Computer
Sometimes a strange object or text may appear in your document, as happened to Sharon. To complicate the situation, her computer freezes when she tries to delete the object. Here are some things to try out if you have the same issue.
Deletions Don't Work as Expected
We all get into habits, including in how we use Word. If you are used to deleting text in a particular way, and all of a sudden that way doesn't work anymore, it can be bothersome. Here's a look at why the way you delete text could change in Word.
Differences between Deleting, Clearing, and Cutting
When getting rid of text from your document, Word allows you to delete, clear, or cut. Here are the differences between these actions.
Different Layout for a Portion of a Page
Got a document layout that requires a portion of the page to be in one layout and another portion to be in a different layout? While Word is better at word processing than at document design, there are some things you can do to get the layout to appear the way you want.
Different Ways of Inserting Dates
Word provides a couple of different ways you can insert the current date into a document. Which method should you choose? Understanding the ways that the methods work will help you make the right choice for your needs.
Displaying Spaces in a Document
Seeing where every space is within a document can be very helpful in polishing your editing. Here's how to make those pesky spaces all appear, like magic.
Easily Changing Username and Initials
Word uses usernames and initials to mark changes made while Track Changes is turned on. If you want to change those credentials, you can do so easily through the use of a macro.
Editing a Document with Many Pages
Working with large or long documents in Word can present some interesting challenges. The most common challenge is that you'll often see Word become less responsive and more sluggish. This tip looks at a long list of things you can try to help improve working with such documents.
Entering a Degree Sign
One of the more common symbols that people need to use in their writing is the degree symbol, typically used after a numeric temperature. If you need to add this symbol, you'll appreciate the shortcuts presented in this tip.
Entering a Page Break from the Keyboard
Need to force Word to move text to the top of the next page? It's easy when you use the keyboard shortcut for a page break.
Erratic Behavior of Ctrl+PgDn
Have you ever noticed that when you use Ctrl+PgDn or Ctrl+PgUp that Word may give you results you didn't expect. Here's why that happens.
Extra Space after Quotation Mark when Pasting
Have you ever noticed how Word can decide to add extra spaces when you paste information into your document? This is part of Word's helpful approach to editing, but you may not want Word to be that helpful. Here's how to make Word behave the way you want it to.
Finding an Unknown Character
Sometimes, the characters that appear in a document can be hard to figure out, especially if the document came from someone else. Here's how to get to the root of what a character really is.
Finding Long Sentences
For certain types of writing, you may want to make sure that the sentences in your document do not exceed a certain limit. Word provides no tool to do this, but you can create your own tool for checking sentence length. This tip shows you how.
Font Changes when Pasting to Another Document
When you copy information from one document and paste it into another, you may not always get what you expect. If the font in what you paste doesn't match what you copied, you may be interested in the explanations provided in this tip.
Generating a List of Dates
When creating tracking documents in Word, you may need to come up with a series of dates in the document. You can type these by hand, or you can use the macros described in this tip to enter the dates very easily.
Getting Rid of a Spiked Square
Sometimes you may see characters in a document that you cannot get rid of and you aren't sure what they are. That's the case with the character described in this tip, which may be nothing more than an end-of-cell marker in a table.
Getting Rid of Manual Paragraph Numbering
Word includes a tool that allows you to easily apply automatic numbering to your paragraphs. You may be editing a document that already includes manual numbering. This tip explains how to get rid of the remnants of those manual numbers after you've applied Word's automatic numbers.
Getting Rid of the Paste Options Box
Paste something in a Word document, and you may notice a dynamic little set of options appear right next to what you pasted. If you find these "paste options" distracting, you can configure Word so that they aren't displayed.
Getting the Proper Type of Ellipses
Type three periods in a row, and the AutoCorrect feature in Word kicks in to exchange that sequence for a special ellipses character. If you don't like the ellipses that Word uses, you can define your own using any number of methods.
Highlighting Buried Verbs
Checking the grammar in a document can be complex, especially when it comes to advanced evaluations such as buried verbs. You can, however, successfully locate and mark the nominalizations if you apply the ideas in this tip.
Highlighting Duplicate Words
One way to help improve your writing is to minimize the number of duplicated words you use in your prose. Depending on the way you want to approach the task, Word has a few different ways you can find those words.
How Word Handles Abbreviations
Abbreviations appear all over the place in our society. If you want to understand how Word recognizes them (which it has to do for some AutoCorrect features), then you'll want to read this tip.
Hyphenating Your Document
One of the final touches you can add to a document is to hyphenate it. This allows text to flow more smoothly from line to line, giving your document a more professional look. Here's how to achieve the hyphenation.
Ignoring Smart Quotes when Comparing Text
When comparing two pieces of text, you may find that Word's smart quotes can mess up the comparison. Here's a quick way to get that obstacle out of the way so that the comparison can be done properly.
Inconsistent Availability of Drag and Drop Editing
Some people really like the ability to drag and drop text as they edit. What do you do if the ability is only available part of the time? This tip looks at a few things you can check when dragging and dropping aren't working for you.
Inserting a Bullet
Need to place a bullet in the middle of a sentence? There are a couple of easy ways you can do this, as described in this tip.
Inserting a Copyright Mark
One of the most common symbols that can be added to a document is the copyright mark. This tip examines several ways you can easily add this symbol to your writing.
Inserting a Dynamic Line Count
Word provides fields that allow you to insert a variety of informational items about your document into the document itself. This tip shows you how to insert a line count into your document.
Inserting a Non-Breaking Hyphen
Non-breaking hyphens can come in handy for some types of writing. They force the words (or characters) on both sides of the hyphen to stay on the same line. There are two ways to add such hyphens to your document, as described in this tip.
Inserting a Non-Breaking Space
In Word a non-breaking space will help you keep two words together on the same line. Here's two different ways that you can insert that special kind of space.
Inserting a Section Mark
Section marks are used regularly in the writings of some industries, such as in legal documents. If you need a way to easily add section marks to your documents, consider using the AutoCorrect feature to do the adding for you.
Inserting Dashes between Letters in Words
Sometimes typing isn't straight typing. Sometimes you need to perform special tasks, such as putting dashes between letters. This tip provides a macro that can make short work out of such a task.
Inserting Different Dashes
Dashes have a lot of different uses in writing. Word supports three types of dashes, as discussed in this tip.
Inserting Foreign Characters
It is not unusual to need to insert foreign characters (often called diacritical marks) as part of your typing. Word provides several different ways you can easily insert the characters you need.
Inserting Special Spaces
Do you need to frequently add en spaces and em spaces to your documents? You can add special tools to Word that make inserting these characters a snap.
Inserting the Date and Time
Inserting a date and time in your document is a snap using the tools provided in Word. Just pick the command, then specify what format you want to use. You can even specify if you want the date to update itself or not.
Inserting Today's Date
When writing letters, reports, or other date-dependent documents, you need to regularly insert the current date in the document. Here is how to easily insert the date in the format you want.
Jumping Back in a Long Document
Navigating quickly and easily around a document becomes critical as the document becomes larger and larger. This tip explains a couple of easy ways you can get around even the longest of documents.
Jumping to a Relative Page
When you are navigating around your document, you may find it helpful to jump a certain number of pages either toward the beginning of the document or toward the end. You can do this by using the Go To tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
Jumping to a Specific Page
Want to jump to a particular page in your document? Word makes it easy; just pull up the Go To tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
Jumping to the End of a Word
Using shortcut keys to navigate through your document is really handy. One navigation shortcut that Word doesn't provide is one that takes you to the end of a word. This can be remedied by creating your own shortcut, as described in this tip.
Jumping to the End of the Document in Error
If you inadvertently move to the end of the document, you might be wondering how to get your insertion point back to where it was. This tip looks at two ways you can make the jump.
Lines Breaking between Double Spaces
Some people like to have one space between sentences, while others prefer two. For those in the latter camp, you may notice some odd line breaks at times. If you do, this tip provides a way to possibly rectify the situation.
Locking Paragraphs So They Cannot be Edited
Want to protect certain paragraphs in your document so they cannot be changed? This tip provides a look at three different approaches you can use to accomplish the task.
Making Highlighting Disappear when Typing
Select a highlighted word or phrase and start typing, and Word maintains the highlighting on what you enter. If this behavior bugs you, then you'll appreciate the four ideas to work around it presented in this tip.
Making Managerial Titles Lowercase
Your in-house document style may require that job titles be all lowercase. Applying such a rule across a long document or a series of documents can be tedious. Here's a look at how you can automate making sure that your job titles are lowercase in a jiffy.
Making the 'Welcome Back' Message Consistent and Permanent
When you open a document on which you previously worked, Word displays a "Welcome back" message that can help return you to where you were previously in the document. There are events and keystrokes you can type that will disrupt the consistent display of that message, though.
Need to quickly put some text into a document, even if that text is essentially meaningless? Here's how to put this type of text into a document quickly.
Moving an Entire Page
If you are new to using Word, you may wonder if there is an easy way to move pages around in the document. Word, though, doesn't really work with pages as you might think of them. This tip explains how to do the moving you want using the tools Word has available.
Moving Breaks Quickly
Breaks in a document can be easily moved from one place to another using familiar editing techniques. The trick is to make sure that you are viewing your document in Draft view.
Moving Section Breaks
Section breaks are used to divide a document into two or more sections that can be independently formatted. If you want to move a section break, it's easy to do using the same techniques you use to edit your document text.
Moving Text Using the Mouse
Many people use the keyboard to do their primary editing tasks. Word doesn't limit you to the keyboard, however. You can also use the mouse to do your editing, as described in this tip.
Moving Text without Affecting the Clipboard
Want a quick and easy way to move text (or other document elements) from one place to another in your document? Check out this little-known editing method.
Multiple Document Users
If you have a group of people working on a single document, you may wonder what tools are available in Word to facilitate the needs of the group. This tip discusses different approaches your group members can take when working on that document.
Not Selecting Images when Selecting Text
When selecting text in a document that contains images, it is important to understand the relationship of those images with the text. It is that relationship that determines how the images are selected.
Overcoming Automatic Word Selection
When you select text with the mouse, Word usually selects entire words for you. If you don't want to do this, you can use the technique described in this tip to select just the text you want.
Want to add an overline above a character or two in your document? There are several ways you can try, as described in this tip.
Pasted Text Looks Like Hollow Squares
When you paste something into your document, you expect it to at least be readable. If, instead of letters, you see small hollow squares, you may be at a loss as to how to correct the situation. This tip shows you how.
Pasting Clean Text
One of the most helpful tools in Word is the ability to paste straight text into a document. This is used so much on my machines that I created a small macro that saves me time in using the tool.
Pasting Pictures and Text into a Document
Getting information from a website into a Word document can be frustrating at times. In this tip I examine some of the reasons why this occurs and what you can do about it.
Pasting Text in a Specific Language
When copying information into a Word document, you may want to make sure that the information pasted is formatted as a specific language. Here's how to do that easily and, as well, why you may not want to do it so easily.
Pasting Text with Track Changes
Track Changes is a great tool for developing documents. If you want to copy text from one document to another, with tracked changes intact, you'll need the info in this tip.
Permanently Turning Off the Tracking of Formatting Changes
The Track Changes tool can be a great asset when you are working on a document with others. It can also be a hassle if you want to limit what is tracked and Word doesn't seem to cooperate. This tip looks at how you can make sure that Word doesn't track formatting changes and, if it does, how you can get rid of them.
Plain Text Pasting as the Default
Pasting 'plain text' into a document is one of the most common ways of pasting information. Wouldn't it be great if this could be the default method of pasting text?
Preventing the Insertion of Non-Breaking Spaces
When you copy and paste information from the Internet, you may end up with a lot of non-breaking spaces in the pasted information. This tip looks at a few ways to get rid of them.
Processing Information Pasted from a PDF File
When pasting information copied from a PDF file, you can end up with a paragraph for each line of the original document. It would be much better to process the information to remove the extra paragraph breaks prior to pasting. This tip provides a macro you can use to do just that.
Putting a Bullet in the Middle of a Sentence
Need a special character (such as a bullet) in the middle of your text? Here are two quick ways to enter the character you need.
Putting Character Codes to Work
If you know the character codes for some characters of interest, you can use those codes to do lots of tasks. This tip explains some of the ways you can use those codes.
Quickly Deleting Words
Tired of pressing the Delete or Backspace key for every character you want to delete? Here's a way you can make your editing much faster, with just a simple change to your deleting key press.
Quickly Finding Synonyms
If you need to find some synonyms for a specific word in your document, here's how you can do it. (Hint: All you need to do is right-click.)
Quickly Moving Text with the Mouse
Drag-and-drop editing is a handy feature when you love to use the mouse. There are two ways you can move text using the mouse, both of which are described in this tip.
Quickly Selecting Text
Want a really quick way to select text? Just combine the Shift key with a simple mouse click.
Word allows you to add several types of "breaks" into your document. If you later want to remove any of them, you can use editing techniques you are already familiar with.
Removing Duplicates in Word
If you have information in Word such as e-mail addresses or part numbers, your document might include duplicates. This tip includes several ways that you can purge your document of these duplicates.
Removing Entire Paragraphs from Your Document
If you need to get rid of a lot of paragraphs in a document, it's easy to do as long as the document relies on styles for those paragraphs. You use the Find and Replace feature of Word to do the cutting, as described in this tip.
Removing Extra Paragraph Marks
Tired of having too many paragraph breaks in your document? You can get rid of the extra paragraph marks by using the simple macro presented in this tip.
Removing Tabs Used to Indent a Paragraph
You get a document from a colleague and you notice that each paragraph starts with a tab character. Here are a couple of ways to get rid of those extraneous tabs very easily.
Repeating Your Typing
Want a quick way to repeat a word or phrase you just typed? Here's the shortcut you need.
Replacing Random Text with Your Own Text
Word includes a little-known function that allows you to put "filler text" into your document. If you want this function to insert your own special text instead, you may be out of luck. There are ways around the problem, however.
Replacing Some Smart Quotes
Smart quotes look great in a document, but may not be right for all instances of quote marks or apostrophes. If you need to replace some smart quotes, but not all of them, then you'll want to understand the technique described in this tip.
Replacing Spaces in Part Numbers with Dashes
Word has a power capability to search for information and then replace that information in some way. Finding the right method to do the searching and replacing can be a challenge, however. Here is one instance where understanding how Word performs wildcard searches can greatly enhance finding and replacing information.
Replacing Text Selections
When editing a document, Word normally replaces whatever text you select with whatever you start to type. Here's how to turn off that capability, if you find it annoying.
Replacing the Last Comma
When you need to perform certain editing tasks over and over again, you start to look for ways to make your work faster and more automatic. This tip presents a macro you can use to automatically perform one of those repetitive tasks--replacing the last comma in a sentence.
Returning to Where You Were Before Finding Something
When you use the Find and Replace dialog box to do editing, you could easily lose track of where you were before displaying the dialog box. This tip looks at a few ideas for how you can return to your before-display location.
Selecting a Group of Words
Want to select a chunk of text in a document? Perhaps the easiest way to do this involves using the mouse in conjunction with the keyboard, as described in this tip.
Selecting a Line of Text
Many word processing programs include commands that allow you to select a line of text. Word doesn't, but you can use the mouse to select lines of text, and it is probably easier than you think.
Selecting a Sentence
Need to select an entire sentence? It's easy by making one small adjustment to how you click the mouse.
Selecting a Text Block
Word has an interesting way of allowing you to select a rectangular block of text, without reference to what may be within that block. The key to using this feature is the shortcut key described in this tip.
Selecting a Word
Selecting text is a critical skill to possess when you want to work with a Word document. This tip explains how you can select entire words with just a quick double-click of the mouse.
Selecting an Entire Paragraph
Paragraphs are an elemental building block for documents. This tip explains the different ways you can select entire paragraphs of text.
Selecting an Entire Section
Documents can be subdivided into sections, with each of them formatted differently. If you want to select all the text in a particular section, then you can follow the steps outlined in this tip, or create your own shortcut using the included macro code.
Selecting Just the Word
Double-click on a word and Word selects it, plus some. It also selects any trailing spaces after the word. Here's a discussion of why this happens and what you can do about it.
Selecting the Entire Document with the Mouse
Want a quick way to select your entire document without taking your hand off the mouse? Try clicking away using the technique described in this tip.
Ever wonder why you can't undo just a single edit you made a few minutes earlier? The short answer is that it could make your document unstable or unusable, as described in this tip.
Shortcut for Em and En Spaces
Typographers know that not all spaces are created equal. When creating a document, most people use spaces created by pressing the Spacebar. Two other common spaces are the em space and the en space. This tip describes how to quickly add these spaces to your document.
Shortcut Key to Delete a Paragraph
There are numerous ways you can delete paragraphs as you are editing your document. This tip looks at a couple of the ways you can do it using just the keyboard, along with a handy macro so you can delete using a single keypress.
Some fractions Word automatically converts to single characters, some it doesn't. Here's why that happens and what you can do about it.
Slowing Down Mouse Selection
We've all experienced the problem: You start selecting a large block of text using the mouse, and before you know it the screen is zipping by at incredible speeds. This tip discusses techniques you can use to get text selection under better control.
Smart Quote after Em Dash Faces Wrong Direction
When using smart quotes in your typing, Word tries its best to figure out which way the quote you just typed should face. Sometimes it gets the decision wrong. Here are several ways to approach the situation when a wrong choice is made.
Smart Quotes are Incorrectly Replaced
Not able to replace smart quotes as you want? Here are some ways that you can be sure that every smart quote is changed, exactly as you want.
Smart Quotes with Dragon Naturally Speaking
Dragon Naturally Speaking is a very popular transcription tool that converts speech into text. When using the program with Word, you may get some strange results when it comes to quote marks and apostrophes. This tip examines how to correct these results.
Speeding Up Cursor Movement
If you use the arrow keys to move the insertion point through the document, you may have noticed that it can be slow going at times. If you want to speed up this type of movement, follow the simple shortcut described in this tip.
Splitting the Window
Need to work on two different portions of the same document? The solution is to split Word's document window as described in this tip.
Stepping through Sentences
Need to select an entire sentence at once? You can do so by creating a short macro that does the task for you, or you can assign shortcut keys to some built-in Word commands that aren't normally accessible.
Sticking with the Dashes
By default, dashes don't "stick" to the text that follows them. Here's one way around this normal formatting convention.
Strange Characters when Pasting Text from the Web
It is not uncommon to copy information found on the web and then paste that information into a Word document. Do so, however, and chances are good that you'll get more in your pasting than you bargained for. This tip explains why this occurs and what you can do about it.
Strip Trailing Spaces
If you get tired of documents that always seem to have extra spaces at the end of lines, here's a quick way to get rid of them. Just use the quick macro provided in this tip.
Symbols for Non-Printing Characters
Displaying non-printing characters can help you better understand the formatting and contents of your documents. What do all the different symbols displayed by Word really mean, though?
Talking to Yourself
Need to keep notes about a document, but you don't want others to see those notes either on-screen or on-paper? Here's an easy way to add helpful notes throughout your document.
Text Doesn't Wrap at Margin in Draft View
If you are using Word in Draft view, and the text on the screen doesn't wrap at the right margin like it should, the culprit could be a simple setting in the Word Options dialog box. This tip explains this setting and why it even exists in Word in the first place.
Too Many Edits Prevent Pasting
Sometimes Word can be rather cryptic in the error messages it provides. One such cryptic message warns about "too many edits." This tip addresses this message and proposes some ideas on how to resolve the problem.
My fat fingers sometimes result in typing letters in the wrong order. Here's a quick tool that allows you to easily transpose two adjacent letters.
Transposing Two Characters
If you have two characters in the wrong order, you might be interested in a shortcut you can use to switch their order. There is no such tool built into Word, but with a handy (and simple) macro, you can create your own shortcut.
Transposing Two Paragraphs
Need to swap two adjacent paragraphs? Your editing arsenal can include a command to do this if you use the macro in this tip.
Transposing Two Words
A common editing task is to transpose two adjacent words, so that their order is changed. While the task is common, there is no command within Word to take care of the task. Here's a simple macro you can use to do the transposition for you.
Turning Off Automatic Capitalization in Lists
By default, Word capitalizes letters that it thinks designate the beginning of a sentence. This includes at the beginning of items in lists. This tip examines how to control this behavior, along with why you might not want to turn it off.
Turning Off Paste Options
Paste information into a document and you'll immediately see a small icon next to the pasted information. This icon allows you to access options that affect the pasting operation. Don't like the icon? Here's how to get rid of it.
Turning Off the Clipboard Icon
When you paste information into a document, Word normally displays a small icon to the right of what you pasted. Some people find this well-intentioned feature to be distracting. Here's what you can do about it.
Turning Off Word's Second Guessing with Quote Marks
When you type quote marks in a document, Word normally changes them to Smart Quotes. They look better on a printout, but Word can sometimes mess up and make changes to the quotes that it shouldn't. Here's some things you can try when you get tired of Word making mistakes.
Typing Pronunciations of Words
Take a look in a dictionary at the way that words are phonetically spelled. Those special characters used to type those pronunciations can be added to your documents, if you know where to look for them.
Understanding Hyphens and Dashes
Word provides you with three types of hyphens and two types of dashes that you can use in your documents. Understanding the differences between them all can help you make better decisions about which you should use (and when).
Understanding Smart Cut and Paste
Editing is generally made easier by a feature that Word calls smart cut and paste. If you prefer, you can turn the feature off by making a simple change in the Word Options dialog box.
Unknown Non-Printing Characters
When you paste information into Word from the internet, you may get more than just the plain text you hoped for. This tip looks at some of the characters that may end up in your document and explains why they are there.
Using an En Dash, by Default
In publishing, it is common practice to indicate a range of numbers by using an en dash between the first number and the last. In this tip, you discover several ways you can make sure that the range actually uses an en dash.
Using Correct Apostrophes
Word does a pretty good job of figuring out what apostrophes to use around your text. There may be times, however, when it messes up. Here's how to get just the right type of apostrophes before numbers.
Using Extend Mode
One of the most overlooked shortcut keys in Word has to be the extend key. Yet, learning how to use this simple key can save you hours in your editing efforts. Here's how to use extend mode to make your editing more productive.
Using Go To with a Percentage
Need to jump a certain percentage of the way through a document? You can do it using the familiar Go To tab of the Find and Replace dialog box, provided you use the technique described in this tip.
Using Manual Line Breaks with Justified Paragraphs
If you use justified paragraphs, you know that if you press Shift+Enter, it can lead to some odd spacing between words and characters in the paragraph. You can avoid this problem by using one little character: the lowly tab.
Using Optional Hyphens
Adding hyphens to your document can affect the way in which Word wraps text from one line to the next. Optional hyphens, described in this tip, can make hyphenation even more powerful and flexible.
Using Overtype Mode
When you type information into a document, what you type normally is inserted just the left of the insertion point. Word includes another editing mode that replaces existing text with whatever you type. This tip describes what overtype mode is and how it works.
Using the Copy or Move Text Keys
Most people use the Clipboard to copy and move text in Word. Before the Clipboard, Word used F2 to move text and Shift+F2 to copy it.
Using the Insert Key to Insert Text
The Insert key can be used for different purposes, depending on how you configure the program. This tip explains those uses and shows how to make the configuration change.
Using the Object Browser
Efficiently navigating through a document, particularly as it gets longer, can be a perpetual challenge. One tool you can use to make navigation easier is the Object Browser, described in this tip.
Using the Spike to Edit
Most Word users are proficient in cutting and pasting text using the Clipboard. One of the lesser-known editing tools, however, is the Spike. This tool, described in this tip, can be very handy and perform tasks that the Clipboard cannot.
Viewing More of the Left Margin Area
When working in Draft or Normal view, you may want to view the area just to the left of the document's left margin. Here's a quick way to display that area.
What Line Am I On?
At the bottom of your document, on the status bar, Word allows you to include an indicator of the line on which your insertion point is located. It is helpful to know what this line represents and when it may not be accurate.
When to Hyphenate Your Document
Want to add a finishing touch to your printed document? Hyphenating the words in the document can make your text read easier. But when to do the hyphenation? This tip looks at the logical times to hyphenate your text.
Working with Master and Subdocuments
Word has long had the capability of establishing relationships between documents by designating some as master documents and others as subdocuments. How you work with them in Word is somewhat changed from earlier versions of the software.
Add more than one space after the end of a sentence, and you may find that the extra spaces wrap to the start of new lines. Here's how to get Word to treat those extra spaces as you expect.
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