Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Deleting Words.

Quickly Deleting Words

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 23, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


While editing documents, it is not uncommon to delete words, phrases, and the like. Different people take different approaches to the task. For instance, some people just select the text and press Delete, while others may simply hold down the Delete or Backspace keys until the unwanted characters disappear.

If you are in the latter group, and you spend a lot of time pressing Delete or Backspace, you may be interested in a handy shortcut provided by Word. All you need to do is hold down the Ctrl key to speed up your deletions. Using Ctrl+Delete deletes text from the insertion point to the end of the next word. For instance, if you wanted to delete four words to the right, simply press Ctrl+Delete four times. Likewise, Ctrl+Backspace deletes words to the left of the insertion point.

An interesting use of these shortcut keys is to speed up editing tasks, not just mass deletions. For instance, let's say you wanted to change the word "sidestep" to "sideways." Normally you would find some way to simply delete "step" and type "ways." This could involve pressing Delete or Backspace four times to get rid of the unwanted portion of the word. You can make your edit faster if you just position the insertion point at the beginning of "step," press Ctrl+Delete once, and then type "ways."

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11830) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Deleting Words.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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