3 handy shortcuts in Word that will save you time

By November 1, 2010 February 27th, 2016 General

Love it or hate it, Word is here to stay. And every few years Microsoft adds or changes features just to keep their software at the top of your mind. Here are a few handy shortcuts in Word 2007 which are sure to save you time.

Effective image dragging – Word’s handling of images and shapes is mediocre at best. One annoyance is that images don’t follow the mouse as you drag them around by default. To get around this you need to temporarily select “In front of text” from the Text Wrapping options and then position the image where you want it.

However when doing so, you’ll notice that the image seems to jump a few pixels each time you move it. That’s because the image is snapping to an invisible grid. You can display this grid by going to the View tab and selecting Gridlines from the Show/Hide group.

To move the image freeform, hold down ALT while dragging the image and the grid will be ignored. If you like the snap to grid feature, but want different sized cells, go to the Page Layout tab, and then click the Align button in the Arrange group on the far right where you can access the grid settings dialog. One downside is that the grid is shown for every document that you have open. Luckily the grid settings themselves are specific to each document currently open.

Header and footer adjustment tips – Adjusting headers and footers in Word can be a nightmare if your document is broken down into sections. In many cases you want to modify a header or footer independently for a page or section. The first thing I recommend you do is zoom out so that you can see 4 or even 9 pages on the screen at once. Then when you start modifying your header or footer you will immediately see the affect your changes are having on the headers and footers of other pages.
Zooming out will also show the section number assigned to each page. So if you want to modify the header or footer for a page or section, you can now see how things are connected.

To disconnect pages, edit the header or footer, then goto the Design tab and unclick Link to Previous for each page that you want a special header/footer for. Note that you will need to do this independently for both the header and footer, which is a good thing since you may only want to modify one or the other.

Real-time ruler measurements – In my opinion Word’s ruler system is not well thought out. For one thing the ruler changes when you adjust things like the margins – a behaviour I’ve never been able to fully wrap my head around.

Luckily there is a way to tell exactly what measurements you’re dealing with, relative to the side of the page. Whenever you click or drag a margin, indent or tab, you can hold down ALT or the right mouse button, and Word will display the exact measurement from the last indent or the side of the page. Then as you drag the item around, the measurement will update in real-time, so you know exactly where you will end up.

Unfortunately when you release the mouse, Word will often kick the number off slightly, perhaps due to a rounding error or inaccurate reading of the mouse. In this case you will need to go into either the margin settings or tab settings to make the exact final adjustments, but at least this feature lets you know roughly where you are as you drag these items around.

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