Tag Archives: Word tips
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
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.
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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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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!
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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:
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:
To access Auto Captions, first click on Insert Caption. This will give you the standard dialogue box allowing you to insert a caption:
At the bottom of this dialogue box is the AutoCaption button. Press this to access 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:
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!
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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:
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:
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:
Make sure the figure label reads as you want it to (adjust the label to Table, etc.) and then hit OK
Place the cursor at the end of the figure label and hit Shift+Enter to start a new line:
Type in your caption:
Type the whole caption into the Insert Caption box and press OK:
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:
This article has taught you how to create two-line figure captions which show on one line in your Table of Figures.
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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:
Clicking on Options will give you this Word Options menu; choose Trust Center:
Click on Trust Center and then go into Trust Center Settings by clicking the button at the bottom right:
Once in the Trust Center Settings, you need to go into Privacy Options (it will default to Macro Settings):
…. 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:
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
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 what to do to add comment balloon numbering back in Word 2013 and 2016. Incidentally, this also signposts you to how to change the style of your comment balloon in general.
Where have the comment balloon numbers gone in Word?
In Word 2013 and 2016, the default setting is for comment balloons not to have numbers. Why? I honestly don’t know. Microsoft does have a habit of “simplifying” its Office interfaces, and the numbers do change with context (if you remove Comment 2, Comment 3 will be labelled Comment 2, etc.) but I have always found it useful to have numbers in my comment balloons.
Here’s what the default looks like:
and this is what I’m aiming for:
How do I change the comment balloon style and numbering?
We need to change the style of the comment balloons in order to add a number.
Click inside a comment balloon and press Ctrl+Shift+S (all at the same time, in that order) to display the Apply Styles pane:
This should be context-specific, but just check the style name is “Comment Text”.
Click the Modify button to access the Modify Style pane:
Click Numbering, which will allow you to select a numbering scheme:
Click on the numbering scheme you want to use so that it’s highlighted with a line, and then click OK.
If you want to use a numbering scheme that’s not on this screen, click on Define New Number Format instead:
Once you’ve clicked this, you will see some new options:
Click on OK here, which will take you back to the previous screen, OR click OK on the number format screen, then choose if you want Word to update this document (Automatically update) and to apply this default to all new documents from now on (New documents based on this template):
Click OK and your comment boxes will have numbers!
This article has shown you how to add numbers to your comment balloons / boxes / text in MS Word 2013 and 2016 for PC. You can use it to modify this setting in earlier versions of Word, but they will default to having numbers.
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