Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 18, 2016)
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, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Deleting Words.
Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!
If you have two characters in the wrong order, you might be interested in a shortcut you can use to switch their order. There ...Discover More
Breaks in a document can be easily moved from one place to another using familiar editing techniques. The trick is to make ...Discover More
Non-breaking hyphens can come in helpful for some types of writing. They force the words (or characters) on both sides of the ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.