Category Archives: Short cuts

More Control Key keyboard shortcuts Ctrl-J and more

hands typing I have previously written about the wonders of Control-F and how this keyboard shortcut  finds text in almost everything (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, web pages, WordPress back-end, etc., etc., etc). Then I discussed other Control- or Ctrl+ keyboard shortcuts that you can use to copy and paste, embolden, italicise and underline, find, goto and replace, undo, redo and open, new, print and save. But I’ve recently had some questions about the remaining Control Key commands, so let’s round up what they do.

Why do we use keyboard shortcuts?

Keyboard shortcuts are used to save wear and tear on the wrists, to interact with a computer in other ways than just using two hands and a mouse, to save time, and, maybe, to show off your amazing computer skills.

What are the rest of the keyboard shortcuts using the Control key, then?

Ctrl-D – open the Font dialogue box using Control Key + D

Ctrl-E – centres the text in which the cursor is situated (this acts a toggle, so will un-centre centred text)

Ctrl-J – makes the text in which the cursor is situated become fully justified (again, this is a toggle, so the text will return to left justification (in a left-to-right alphabet document) if it’s already fully justified)

Ctrl-K – opens the Hyperlink dialogue box – make sure you have the text that you want to create a link for highlighted before pressing Control + k

Ctrl-L – makes the text in which the cursor in situated become left-justified (a toggle, so if it’s already only left-justified, pressing this will return the text to its full justification)

Ctrl-M – increases the indent on the left (much like the Tab key)

Ctrl-Q – removes indenting, so if you haven’t got any, it will seem this doesn’t do anything

Ctrl-R – makes the text in which the cursor is located become right-justified (a toggle, so pressing this in text that is already right-justified will change it to left-justified)

Ctrl-T – moves just the bottom indent slider across one tab at a time to create a hanging indent

Ctrl-W – closes the document, giving you the option to save


Did you know ALL of these shortcuts? They’ll save you some mouse clicks and some are a lot quicker and more useful than the other methods you can use to get the same results. Which are your favourites?

Related posts on this blog:

How to find text almost anywhere

Changing from lower case to upper case

Using the Control key shortcuts (the ones that aren’t here)

Find all of the short cuts here


Posted by on September 27, 2017 in Errors, New skills, Short cuts, Word, Writing


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How do I access the Customize Ribbon menu in Word 2010, 2013 and 2016?

This article explains how to access the Customize Ribbon menu, from where you can customise your ribbon. This will link in to posts on customising the ribbon and assigning keyboard short-cuts.

This information applies to Word 2010, 2013 and 2016 for PC.

What is the ribbon in Word?

The ribbon is the set of menus found at the top of your screen in Word which allow you to do all sorts of things, from changing the font to merging documents and adding tables. You can use short-cut keys for some commands, and I’ll explain that in another article. You might call it a toolbar, too. Here it is:

word ribbon

Why would I want to customise the ribbon in Word?

The ribbon in Word is filled with things Microsoft thinks you will want to use, in places it thinks you will look for them. But you might well want to customise it to add your own favourite short-cuts and commands. Or you might want to remove a particular tab altogether, and Word allows you to do this.

How do I find the customize ribbon menu?

There are (of course) two ways to get to the dialogue box where you customise the ribbon.

The first way uses the File tab, the second uses a right-click.

Using the file tab:

use file tab to get to customise ribbon menu

Navigate to the Word Options menu:

word options to customise ribbon

And once in Options, select Customize Ribbon:

customize ribbon from file menu

The alternative way is to right-click anywhere on the tabs in the ribbon and then select Customize Ribbon:

right click to customise ribbon

How do I customise the Word ribbon?

Following either of the routes described above, you should come to this menu:

customise ribbon menu and dialogue box

On the left-hand side, you can see a list of commands, and on the right-hand side you can see a representation of the tabs you have in Word at the moment.

Here are some things you can do:

add an item to the word ribbon

  • Add an item to the Word ribbon (see above) – highlight the item you want to add, highlight where you want it to go, and click the Add button in the middle
  • Remove an item from the Word ribbon – find the item you want to remove by expanding all the menus on the left, highlight it and click the Remove button
  • Create a new tab – maybe you want to make a tab that only contains commands you use a lot – you can use the New Tab button on the left to create a new tab, then add items to it (an item can be in more than one tab)
  • Rename your tabs – rename them to whatever you want!

Don’t forget to click OK before you exit from this menu – or Cancel if you don’t want to change anything after all.

In practice, I wonder how many people do much customisation – do let me know in the comments if you’ve either customised your ribbon already or have followed these instructions to do so.

This article has shown you how to find the customize ribbon menu, why you might want to customise the ribbon in Word, and how to do it.

Related articles on this blog

How to customise the Quick Access Toolbar


Posted by on March 29, 2017 in New skills, Short cuts, Word


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I closed Windows Explorer and now I can’t see my task bar: how do I get it back?

This was a question that arose for me the other day. I was trying to rename a file in the folder view of Windows Explorer and everything froze. I opened Task Manager (see my article on Task Manager if this is new to you) using control-alt-delete, selected Windows Explorer and clicked End Task. To my horror, what I now know is called the “Shell” – the explorer view but also the lower task bar and my desktop, the clock, the Windows button – all disappeared. How would I get it back?

windows explorer shell has disappeared

My poor sad monitor view with no desktop, Windows button, bottom task bar, clock, etc.

How do I restore a closed app using Task Manager?

Just as you can use Task Manager to close an app or piece of software that’s frozen, you can use it to restore, too.

Open Task Manager using the Start button or Control-Alt-Delete and click the File tab (note, this is Windows 10, so yours might look a bit different, but it will have the same features that we’re talking about here).

If you haven’t previously used Windows 10 Task Manager, you will need to expand it from the initial view:


Click More details and you’ll see the full view:

Task manager open new app

Select Run new task. You will then see this dialogue box:

task manager run new task

Type “Explorer” (or whatever else you can’t find) in the Open field and then press OK (Don’t worry about the admin privileges bit at the moment: you would know if you needed to use that).

And now all of the Windows Explorer Shell has reappeared:

Windows explorer shell has reappeared

In this article, I’ve shown you how to make Windows Explorer (or any other app or software you have made disappear) reappear when you’ve accidentally closed Windows Explorer and your desktop icons and task bar have disappeared.

Related posts on this blog

How to close down an unresponsive program using Task Manager

1 Comment

Posted by on January 11, 2017 in Computers, Errors, Short cuts, Windows



How do you create a two-line figure caption and a one-line entry in your Table of Figures? Word 2010, 2013, 2016

This one was suggested by a regular reader of this blog in a comment, and I promise to write about it quite a long time ago.

This is a very specific situation where the style guide for your organisation or publisher demands that you have Figure and Table captions set out over two lines, but you want the Table of Figures to have one line including both Figure label and caption, so it looks something like this:

caption with two lines table of figures with one

How not to create a two-line figure caption

The natural inclination is to use the Return key to split the Figure label and caption, either by entering it all in one line in Insert Caption then splitting it up or using Insert Caption to add the title, hitting Enter then adding the caption. However, when you create your Table of Figures, it either won’t pick up the second line at all or will create two entries in the Table of Figures:

incorrect two line caption and table of figures

How to create a two-line figure caption so the Table of Figures only has one line per figure

This is how you do it correctly. The key is to use the soft line return (Shift+Enter) rather than a hard, paragraph return (Enter).

Place the cursor where you want to insert your caption and go to the References tab, Insert Caption:

Insert caption

Make sure the figure label reads as you want it to (adjust the label to Table, etc.) and then hit OK

Insert caption word

Place the cursor at the end of the figure label and hit Shift+Enter to start a new line:

Adding a new line to your caption word

Type in your caption:

word second line of caption


Type the whole caption into the Insert Caption box and press OK:

word insert whole caption before splitting

Place the cursor at the start of the caption and press Shift+Enter to move it down to the next line:


Now create your Table of Figures using References, Insert Table of Figures and you should have one entry per Figure:

caption with two lines table of figures with one

This article has taught you how to create two-line figure captions which show on one line in your Table of Figures.

If you have found this useful, please comment using the comment box below and/or share using the social media sharing buttons. Thank you!

Other useful posts on this blog

How to create a Table of Contents

Table of Figures and Table of Tables

How to update your Table of Contents, Table of Tables or Table of Figures

Editing and the Table of Contents


Posted by on October 26, 2016 in Copyediting, Short cuts, Students, Word, Writing


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Why are my tracked changes altering their colour when I save in Word 2010, 2013 and 2016

We’ve already learned what Track Changes is, why we use it and where to find it, and how to customise Track Changes to suit our own preferences and learned how to work with a document that has Tracked Changes.

This article explains what to do when your tracked changes alter their colour when you press the Save button. It’s weird, it can be annoying, and your initials might disappear, too, which can be confusing if more than one person is commenting on the text.

Screen shots are from Word 2013.

Has your track changes markup ever changed colour?

This has only happened to me when working with a document that has originated from someone else.

You have made lots of changes in a document, and they show up in red, as normal (or whatever colour you have set for your corrections), but when you save, yours go into blue and your initials disappear. This might also happen if you’re working on a document which already includes someone else’s tracked changes: yours show in a different colour to theirs until you press Save. Then they’re all blue (or whatever colour the first person’s were).

What is happening here?

The original owner of the document has specified that the personal information of whoever is working on the document will be removed when they Save the document.

How to check whether your personal information is being removed upon Saving the document

To check whether this is the reason for your tracked changes changing colour, follow these steps.

Go to File (the extreme left tab in Word) and Options:

word options for checking trust center

Clicking on Options will give you this Word Options menu; choose Trust Center:

accessing the trust center in word

Click on Trust Center and then go into Trust Center Settings by clicking the button at the bottom right:

Trust Center in word

Once in the Trust Center Settings, you need to go into Privacy Options (it will default to Macro Settings):

Privacy settings in trust center in word

…. and once you have accessed Privacy Options, you will see that Remove personal information from file properties on save is ticked, which means that when you save, all references to your name are removed from both track changes and the properties of the file itself:

remove personal identification on save in word

Now, at this point, this can be “unticked” so that your changes stay in your colour (in your own view, only, of course) and with your initials (everywhere). But do stop to think: did the person who created the document do this on purpose? It’s quite a lot of clicks to make by accident, so I do tend to check this, see why it’s happening and then leave it as it is. I might change it so I can see my own changes then make a note to change it back before my final save, but in general, I leave it.

Why might someone choose to remove personal information in a document?

I’m not entirely sure that I have an answer to this. Maybe they have edited the document and don’t want their end client to be confused by lots of different names on the file. Maybe they’re a student who wants to make sure no one else’s name is on the file. I do tend to assume they have a reason, and respect that.

But this is how and why the tracked changes colour sometimes changes when you save your document.

This article has taught you how to work with a document that has been marked up using Track Changes where the colour of the track changes alters. You can read more about what Track Changes is and why we use it, how to work with a document including tracked changes and how to customise Track Changes.

If you have found this article useful, please share or “like” it using the buttons below, or leave me a comment to tell me what you think. Thank you!

This is part of my series on how to avoid time-consuming “short cuts” and use Word in the right way to maximise your time and improve the look of your documents.

Please note, these hints work with versions of Microsoft Word currently in use – Word 2010, 2013 and 2016 all for PC. Mac compatible versions of Word should have similar options. Always save a copy of your document before manipulating it. I bear no responsibility for any pickles you might get yourself into!

Relevant articles on this website

Track changes 1 – why use it, where can you find it, what can you do with it?

Track changes 2 – customising Track Changes

Track changes 3 – working with a document with tracked changes

How do I accept one reviewer’s changes?



Posted by on October 5, 2016 in Copyediting, Errors, New skills, Short cuts, Word, Writing


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How do I highlight the text related to my comment balloon in Word 2013 and 2016?

I have already published a range of posts on issues with comment boxes or comment balloons, including ones on comment boxes suddenly going tiny, or comment box text running in the wrong direction, changing the language in your comment balloons. This article covers how to highlight the text that a comment balloon relates to.

Why can’t I see which bit of text this comment balloon is about?

As a default in Word 2013 and Word 2016, you can see your text and you can see your comments, but you can’t see which bit of text the comment refers to. Why? I have no idea. Microsoft tends to try to make things look simpler, but personally, I don’t find it helpful. It looks like this …


… and what we want to see is this:


How do I highlight the text that’s being commented on?

You can change the settings to do this by going to the Review Tab and the Track Changes area. You will see a box marked Simple Markup. Click on the down arrow to the left to access the dropdown menu:


Select All Markup.

Now the text that the comment is about will be highlighted when you’re looking at the document:


Don’t forget …

This only applies to your individual view of the document on your particular computer / screen. If your editor, client or co-writer wants to change this view, they’ll have to change it themselves. Send them here to see how it’s done!

If you have found this article helpful, please add a comment and/or share it using the buttons below. Thank you!

Other related posts on this blog

What to do if your comment boxes go tiny in Word

What to do if your comment boxes start running from right to left

Changing the language in your comment balloons

Customising your comment boxes – everything you need to know

Customising Track Changes

1 Comment

Posted by on September 28, 2016 in proofreading, Short cuts, Word, Writing


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How do I change a column into a row or a row into a column in Excel 2007, 2010 and 2013?

In this article, I’m going to explain how to change a column into a row or change a row into a column in Excel 2007, 2010 and 2013 (I think this works in 2016 too but have not yet tested it).

Why would I want to swap a column for a row?

You might start off creating a header row then decide it should be a column, or create a spreadsheet then want to rotate it 90 degrees. Or, worse, someone might decide that for you and expect you know how to do it!

How to change a column into a row or rotate a block of cells

Here’s our original block of cells:

Swap excel rows for columns

We want to turn this around so that everything runs along the top rather than down the side. Here’s how to do it:

First, copy all the cells you want to move:

Highlight the cells, right-click with the mouse, and select Copy:

copying cells in excel

Now, and this is important, find a free, empty cell to paste into. Don’t worry about it being in the middle of the spreadsheet, we will tidy that later.

Right-click with your mouse in an empty cell and then choose Paste Special and Transpose (a hint will appear when you hover over the button, but it’s the one on the bottom right)

How do I swap columns and rows in Excel

Behind all those dialogue boxes, Excel will show you what this is going to look like.

Click on Transpose and your cells will appear, starting from the empty cell you clicked on:

swapped columns and rows

Your original cells are still there – so highlight their columns, right-click with the mouse and choose Delete:

Flipped cells in Excel

And here’s your spreadsheet, the opposite way around from how you started!

5 finished

In this article, we’ve learned how to change rows into columns and change columns into rows in Excel 2007, 2010, 2013 and probably 2016.

If you’ve found this article helpful, please do post a comment below, and if you think others would find it useful, please share it using the sharing buttons below the article. Thank you!

Other useful posts on Excel on this blog:

How to view two workbooks side by side in Excel 2007 and 2010

How to view two pages of a workbook at the same time

How do I print the column headings on every sheet in Excel?

How to print the column and row numbers/ letters and gridlines

Freezing rows and columns in Excel – and freezing both at the same time

How to flip a column in Excel – turn it upside down but keep the exact same order!


Posted by on June 8, 2016 in Excel, Short cuts


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