Tag Archives: Word tips

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


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

How do I make my picture appear next to my comments in Word 2013 and 2016?

Here’s a problem: when I add comments to a Word document don’t show my picture by them although I’m signed in to my Microsoft account. This article explains how to make sure that your personal picture appears in your Word Comments (in Word 2013 and going forward to 2016 and beyond, for PC). If your picture has disappeared from your Word comments, it tells you how to get it back. If you don’t want to see your picture in Word comments, it tells you how to remove it.

I always try to be responsive to my commenters (see this post on comments for why!) and so I’m writing this post as a direct consequence of a comment I received on one of my articles about comment boxes in Word.

The basic problem is this: you can have your image appear next to your comments in Word. Because Word 2013 and beyond are designed largely to be used with an active subscription account with Microsoft, it can pull details from your Microsoft account through to the software to enhance your user experience.

Why would you want your image next to your comments?

I’m going to repeat the comment here (with many thanks to commenter and correspondent Lark Lands) so you can see what the problem is and why it’s important:

I have Word 2013 and from the time I first started using it when I click on the Review tab and insert a new comment it would appear showing my name and my Microsoft “account picture” plus the typed comment. Now the account picture has disappeared and all you see is that icon of a generic person. Because I’m a medical editor who is constantly working on files with comments from many different people the photo is actually useful because at a glance I can whiz through a 40-page document, just slowing down when I see the photo in order to see if people have responded to my comments.

So this comment writer uses the picture to scan down and find their own comments.

Please remember the golden rule of Track Changes and Comments here, however: how you choose to display your Word document comments and changes has no effect on what your client sees. So you can add your picture to your own view, but don’t expect this to carry through to your client’s or collaborator’s view of the document.

Where is the picture in my comments in Word?

In Word 2013 or 2016, you might see a picture in your comments: it will appear in this position if you have it set up to show pictures:

Picture appearing in comment in Word

The arrow is pointing to the placeholder picture (if you’re not logged into your Microsoft account online) or your own picture (if you are logged in)

If you don’t have pictures enabled, your comments will look like this:

Comment in word with no picture attached

How do I add or remove my picture from Word 2013 comments?

The first thing you need to do here is to make sure that you’re logged in to your online Microsoft account. If you don’t do this, the “picture” that appears by your comment will just be a little placeholder symbol and your efforts will be wasted to an extent.

Now you need to make sure boxes are ticked (or unticked) in two places and then do one final but very important process.

1. Set up Track Changes options

First, set up your Track Changes options to show pictures.

In the Review tab, find the Track Changes area and click on the arrow in the bottom right corner:

track changes options to add pictures to comments

When you’ve clicked on the arrow, this dialogue box will appear: make sure that Pictures by Comments is either ticked or unticked, depending on whether you want to see the pictures or not:

add pictures by comments in word

Click OK and the first part of the process is done.

2. Check your Word Options are appropriate

Now you need to go into Word Options and make sure that your picture displays whether or not you are logged in to your Microsoft account (you should be logged in when you do this)

Go into Word Options using the File tab …

access word options to display picture in word comments

… and then choosing Options

access word options to display picture in word comments

The Word Options dialogue box will appear. Make sure that Always use these values regardless of sign in to Office is NOT ticked (even though this seems counter-intuitive):

access word options to display picture in word comments

Click on OK and process 2 is complete.

3. Restart your computer (do not ignore this one)

After an amount of correspondence on this topic, my original comment poster noted that they hadn’t fully restarted their computer. It’s not enough to restart Word – you need to restart Windows.

So, restart your computer and now your picture should appear or not appear as you wish.

This article has told you what to do if your picture does not appear next to your comments in Word 2013 or you want to add or remove your picture from Word comments.

Please do click the share buttons or comment if you’ve found this article interesting and/or useful.

Other relevant articles on this blog

Customising comment boxes in Word

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 Track Changes


Posted by on June 15, 2017 in Word


Tags: , ,

How to start a new line, paragraph or page or indent a paragraph in Word 2007, 2010, 2013 or 2016

How to start a new line, paragraph or page or indent a paragraph in Word 2007, 2010, 2013 or 2016

This is a quick reference round-up how to and how not to covering how to stat a new line, how to start a new paragraph, how to start a new page and how to indent a paragraph in Word for Windows.

I have covered all of these in detail in various longer articles which I’ll link to as we go along.

Why all the fuss? Why can’t I do it my way?

If you are formatting a document to be used by someone else, edited and changed or, especially, printed, it’s vital that you use the standard ways to lay out your document to prevent it getting into a mess or someone else having to reformat it (which could be expensive if you’re paying them). In addition, certain methods, especially using Enter to start a new line, can make your document messy as soon as you enter extra text before that line break (see the relevant article for details and examples).

How to start a new line in Word

Don’t use the space bar to move the cursor along until it finally gets to the next line

Do use a soft line return or a hard paragraph return:

  • Pressing the shift key and enter key at the same time at the end of your line will move the cursor to the next line without any paragraph breaks, spaces between the lines, etc. (this is very useful if you’re creating two-line captions)
  • Pressing the enter key at the end of your line will move the cursor to the start of the new line (this will give you a space between the two lines if you have your paragraphs set up like that

How to start a new paragraph in Word

Don’t use the space bar to move the cursor to a new line, then create a new line of spaces

Do use a hard paragraph return: hit the Enter key on your keyboard

How to put a space between paragraphs in Word

Don’t use the Enter key to add a line of white space

Do use the Line Space icon in your Home tab or the Paragraph menu to add a space after each paragraph

How to indent a paragraph in Word

Really don’t use the space key to line up the paragraphs

Don’t use the Tab key to indent the paragraph

Do either highlight the whole text and set the rulers at the top of the page OR set the Normal style to have an indent at the start of a paragraph

How to start a new page in Word

Don’t use the Enter key to move the cursor down to the next page

Do use the Enter and Control keys at the same time to force a page break

This article has summarised how to start a new line, paragraph and page and indent a paragraph correctly in Word.

Related articles in this blog

Line space icon

Paragraph menu

Indenting paragraphs

Page breaks



Posted by on April 19, 2017 in Errors, Word, Writing


Tags: , , , , , ,

How do I assign a shortcut key in Word 2010, 2013 and 2016?

In this article we will learn about assigning shortcut keys or keyboard shortcuts or short-cuts in Word 2010, 2013 and 2016 for PC. Please note that these instructions are for these versions of Word and might not work in the same way on a Mac or in an older version of Word.

What is a keyboard shortcut or shortcut key?

A keyboard shortcut allows you to use the keys on your keyboard to do tasks that you might normally need to use your mouse for, or which are buried deep in layers of menus. Click a couple of buttons and you have done what you wanted to do.

What is the purpose of assigning shortcut keys?

The clue is in the word “shortcut”. Assigning a keystroke or two to carry out common tasks will save time and is also used by people who need to use the mouse less, for example if they suffer from or are prone to RSI.

Are some actions in Word covered by shortcut keys anyway?

Yes, some actions in Word are already doable by using keyboard shortcuts. For example, you can copy text by pressing Control and C at the same time, or paste it somewhere using Control and V. You can also look for text pretty well anywhere there’s text by using Control and F together.

What we’re talking about here is assigning a new shortcut key to an activity that doesn’t already have one – or assigning a new key to a different shortcut.

How do I assign or change keyboard shortcuts?

To assign or change keyboard shortcuts or shortcut keys, you need to access the Customize Ribbon menu.

In brief, you can use one of these two paths:

  • File – Word Options – Customize Ribbon
  • Right-click on the tabs in the Ribbon – select Customize Ribbon

See this article for screenshots and more detail.

Once you’ve followed the trail to the Customize Ribbon dialogue box, you should be here:

customize ribbon and short cut keys

Now click on Keyboard shortcuts: Customize.

The Customize Keyboard menu

This looks a bit weird at first. Basically, in the left-hand box you will find all of the tabs (and a few more) that you see in your Word ribbon. In the right-hand box, you will find all of the commands or actions associated with that tab. So when you first go into this menu, you’ll see the File Tab and a load of things you probably don’t normally do:

customize keyboard

However, if you move to the Home Tab (by clicking on it) you will see some more familiar items – and note that they’re in alphabetical order.

Here you can see under Current keys that Bold has the shortcut keys Ctrl+B and Ctrl+Shift+B, which means that you can hold down Control and the b key at the same time, or Control and Shift and the b at the same time to make the text that’s highlighted or the next text you type bold. You might have known how to do that already: here is where that shortcut can be set, removed or changed.

customize key strokes

If you scroll down the list of tabs, headed Categories, you will find one called Commands Not in the Ribbon which is a useful list.

Let’s say I wanted to change the shortcut for AllCaps (i.e. to change the highlighted text or next text I type to be ALL IN CAPITALS).

I click on the AllCaps Command and then press the new shortcut key I want to assign to that – in this case I’ve chosen Ctrl+C – so I hit those keys and Ctrl+C gets added into the box under Press new shortcut key:

assign a new keystroke

What if the shortcut key I want to use has already been assigned?

Here we can see that Ctrl+C is already assigned to EditCopy. If I assign Ctrl+C to AllCaps, it will then move over from EditCopy to AllCaps and will no longer be available for EditCopy.

keystroke already assigned

Of course, this might not matter, if the other command is one you don’t use anyway. If you want to assign this shortcut, go ahead and press Assign. The shortcut will move into the Current keys section.

How do I remove or cancel a keyboard shortcut?

If you want to remove the keyboard shortcut you’ve just created, or one that you keep hitting by accident, highlight the one you want to remove and press the Remove button beneath it. Note: if you’ve reassigned a shortcut key and want to put it back to how it was, you will need to find its original command and add it back in there.

assign and remove shortcuts

How do I save my keyboard shortcuts?

When you’ve assigned your shortcuts, press the Close button on the Customize Keyboard menu and the OK button on the Customize Ribbon menu.

Note: you can save changes in a new template, if you want to keep your standard Word template as it is. Drop down the Save changes in: list to do that.

In this article I’ve explained how to assign and remove keyboard shortcuts or shortcut keys to give a short cut that will save your mouse hand. If you’ve enjoyed this article and found it useful, please share using the sharing buttons below, or comment if you’ve searched for it and used it and I’ve helped you. Thank you!

Related articles on this blog

How to customise the Quick Access Toolbar

How do I customise the Word Ribbon?


Posted by on April 13, 2017 in Word


Tags: , , ,

How do I add or remove auto captions in Word 2010, 2013 and 2016?

The impetus for this post came from Ana Chavez, who emailed me to ask how to remove automatic captions that were appearing whenever she inserted a Table into Word. I couldn’t work out what was going on, and she kindly messaged me when she found out. Thank you, Ana, for your kindness in getting back to me!

This post covers Word 2010, 2013 and 2016 for PC and the images are from Word 2013. The solution may differ with Word for Mac.

What is auto captioning in Word?

Automatic captioning or auto captioning is a feature which adds a caption to any table (or other item) you insert into your Word document. It looks like this:

automatic caption on table

Here, I have inserted a table and the beginning of a caption has already appeared.

This is actually very useful, as it will remind you to add your captions and also sort out the numbering for you as you go along (you can make choices just as you do when inserting a caption manually – see this post for full information on that). However, my original question was about removing these – so this article covers both removing and adding auto captions.

How do I add / remove automatic table captions?

You can find the caption options in the Reference tab, in the captions section:

caption menu word

To access Auto Captions, first click on Insert Caption. This will give you the standard dialogue box allowing you to insert a caption:

auto caption menu in word

At the bottom of this dialogue box is the AutoCaption button. Press this to access AutoCaption options:

autocaption options

If you have found this article because you want to stop Word auto captioning, you will probably find one of these boxes ticked, and it’s probably Add caption when inserting … Microsoft Word Table. However, you can see from this screenshot that you can automatically add a caption to pretty much anything.

You can also see that you can automate the label, position and numbering system just like you can in the Insert Caption dialogue box when you’re doing it manually. However, doing it this way will automate the whole process. Your caption will appear automatically, as we saw in the first picture, and you just have to type in your caption text.

Once you have chosen your options, click OK and your AutoCaptioning will work as you want until you turn it off again.

How do I remove AutoCaption?

If you want to remove automatic captioning, un-tick whichever box is ticked:

no autocaption in word

Now press OK, and you will have removed automatic captioning.

This article has explained how to add or remove auto captioning in Word 2010, Word 2013 and Word 2016. If you’ve found it helpful, please comment below or use the sharing buttons to share it!

Related articles on this blog

Table of figures and table of tables

How to create a two-line figure caption and a one-line entry in the table of figures

1 Comment

Posted by on February 18, 2017 in Word, Writing


Tags: , , ,

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


Tags: , , ,

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


Tags: , , , ,