By Ivan Hemmans, ABA TECHSHOW Board 2015

For those select few who spend a significant portion of their days drafting, revising, or reviewing documents in Microsoft Word, even the smallest productivity improvement can have a huge impact on how much work gets done. Here are a few simple keyboard combos that can help raise the productivity bar.

Shift+F3 to cHANGE cASE

Shift+F3 is the Change Case command. When invoked, it changes the case of selected text. If all lowercase text is selected, it capitalizes the first letter of each selected word. If each of the selected words begins with a capital letter, it changes all the text to uppercase. And, if all the words are already uppercase, it then changes the selected text to all lowercase letters. It is worth noting that the Change Case command toggles between sentence case — the first letter of the selected range as capital followed by the rest in lowercase — and uppercase if the last character of the selected text is some form of punctuation.


Alternatively, use the mouse and click the Change Case button on Word’s Home tab, in the Font group. The choices are: lowercase, uppercase, title case, sentence case, and toggle case. Of course, it is easier and faster to press the keyboard shortcut.

The Change Case command makes it possible to fix capitalization of text without the need to retype, which can save a lot of time. And saving time is always a good thing, whatever the case may be.

Shift+F5 to Browse by Edits

As you know, there are a number of ways to navigate through Word documents. It is possible to browse by page or to jump to specific text using Find. You might be surprised to know that you can also browse by recent edits within a document. For lengthy documents, this can be a tremendous timesaver.

Word keeps track of the last three edit points within a working document. Of course, this isn’t so helpful when drafting from beginning to end. It becomes useful when working on document revisions. For example, if you make an edit on page 10, then jump back to page 2 and make a correction, and then type a bit of text on page 25, Word remembers. And that’s when things begin to get fun.

Press Shift+F5 to move the cursor back through the last three edit points. Press it once to go move back to the last point. Press again to jump to the second-to-last point. Press a third time to go to the third-to-last point. A fourth press returns you to where you were before you started jumping around in the doc.

Word also remembers the very last edit point in a document after it’s been closed. So, when you return to that brief tomorrow, press Shift+F5 to go right to the place where you last typed.

Browsing edits is also possible through the use of Advanced Find, but the keyboard shortcut works faster.

Rearrange Text with Alt+Shift+Up Arrow

Every version of Microsoft Word has allowed us to move documents text with the keyboard. However, in recent years the mouse has become the primary weapon of choice when slinging text around. Consider adding the following to your arsenal.

Move Text in a Document

In Word, you can take a paragraph, or a selection of several blocks of text, and move it either before a previous paragraph or after a subsequent paragraph with only the keyboard — without using cut and paste!

Place the insertion point anywhere in a paragraph. (Or, select multiple paragraphs.)

Press and hold both the Alt and Shift keys.

Press the up arrow or the down arrow.

If you pressed the up arrow, the paragraph, or selected blocks of text, swaps positions with the previous paragraph.

It Works in Tables

This trick also works on Word tables. You can take a single row (or a selection of rows) and move it up or down in a table by following the same steps above. If you find yourself working in tables often, this trick has the potential to save you hours of work.

It Works in Outlook, Too

If you use Outlook and have Word set as your editor, these same tricks work in Outlook messages. You’ll be able to take text or table rows and move them around in a draft message without taking your hands of the keyboard.

Ctrl+Z to Undo

There are precious few of us gifted with the ability to type all text into Word without making a single mistake. Those who know this keyboard command may find it is the one they use the most: Ctrl+Z, the undo command.

Word can remember every single edit made in a document, while it remains open. Press Ctrl+Z to undo the last bit of typing. Press it again to undo even more. And, under the best — or worst — case, continue pressing it until all edits have been undone. Hopefully, you’ll not need to go to such extremes on a regular basis, but you may find it handy to retrieve text deleted by mistake or to remove text added by accident.

What now?

Look for every opportunity to use these commands while editing documents. Start with just a couple and continue to use them until they become “muscle memory.” After that, add more. You’ll notice your speed and efficiency improve over time.

This article is but a taste of what awaits you at the ABA TECHSHOW 2015, April 16-18 at the Hilton Chicago. As a member of the State Bar of Texas, we want you to know that you can get a discount on registration. This discount only applies to registrants that qualify for the standard registration. Register online and include this unique discount code—TECHSHOWEP2015—to receive a discount.

Reprinted with permission. 2014 © by the American Bar Association. All rights reserved. This information or any or portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.