Favorite MS Office Tip? Here’s Mine

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This topic contains 20 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  Cindy Carnes 5 years, 12 months ago.

  • Author
  • #182604

    Steve Ressler

    I was talking to a co-worker the other day and showed them the “paintbrush” feature in MS Word (you can copy the formatting of another sentence)

    She was amazed – just as I was when a co-worker showed me 5 years earlier.

    Everyone has their favorite MS Word, Excel, or Outlook trick.

    What’s yours? Your productivity booster?

  • #182644

    Cindy Carnes

    One feature I use regularly is the Find, either Ctrl F or drop down from the Edit tab, this is great to locate a specific word or phase in a document. Combine this with Replace and it is very easy to update a document.

  • #182642

    Marie Koko

    Need to make a bunch of even horizontal lines in a document? Just use the “bottom border” from the borders feature and voila! This one amazes my students and colleagues who’d been doing underline + tab+ tab+tab…..all the time.

  • #182640

    Melanie Joseph

    My favourite tip that not many people know is the F4 button. F4 repeats whatever your last keystroke was and it can be great for making the same change in many places in your document. F4 will repeat a single keystroke like [delete] or it can repeat the [OK] that was your final keystroke on a whole set of changes in a drop down box. I use the paintbrush a lot and use style sets to apply formatting to my whole document but there are times when I have some other formatting that I don’t want to overwrite by using the paintbrush or by changing the style set. For example, I could open the paragraph dialogue and change the alignment, indentation and line spacing on one of my paragraphs, hit [OK], and then click my mouse around and keep hitting F4 to make those changes in a few other places in the document. You can also use F4 inside tables to repeatedly apply a selected shading or row format or to insert a row or whatever when the paintbrush won’t do it for you. Just remember that F4 will only repeat the last keystroke so you have to do things one at a time or click on a drop down box that will capture several changes in one [OK].

  • #182638


    A colleague showed me this one, and it has been a real timesaver – to be able to view multiple applications on your screen side-by-side, hold down the *Windows* key (also labeled “Start” on my keyboard) while you press either the right or left arrow keys. (NOTE: it works with different Windows applications; for instance, you can view an Outlook email and a Word document, or an Excel spreadsheet next to Outlook or Word, but you can’t pull up two Word documents side-by-side using this feature). Try it – you’ll love it, too!

  • #182636

    Jeanette Fiess

    While leading a meeting recently with my desktop projected onto an LCD the attendees were impressed to see how quickly I switched between applications running on my computer (Powerpoint, Word, Outlook, Excel). Hit “ALT” and then “TAB” to bring up a box that allows you to switch between applications. Hit “TAB” once to return to your most recent application. Continue hitting “TAB” until you get to the application you wanted to switch to.

  • #182634

    Catherine McCollum

    I’m a huge fan of my keyboard and not my mouse. There are several shortcuts that keep you from reaching for the mouse. Ctrl R for Reply (email), Ctrl Enter to send (email), Ctrl N for New (email or document), Ctrl C for Copy, Ctrl V for paste, Ctrl X for delete, Ctrl Home to take you to the top of any document or web page, Ctrl End to take you to the bottom of any document or web page. The shortcuts are endless and reduce the shoulder strain you can get by reaching for that darned mouse all the time.

  • #182632


    In the middle of a PowerPoint and want to draw attention away from the screen and over to you? Hit the B key to bring up a black screen. When you’re done talking, hit the B key again to pick up where you left off. You can also use the W key for a white screen.

    Want to revisit a topic you’ve already covered? Quickly type the slide number and hit enter. (Hit 13 + enter and go to slide 13). You’ll be transported back to that slide. You’ll need to know your slide numbers to make this work effectively – but it’s a lot better than fumbling with, “Hang on, let me get back to that slide (click, click, click, click, click).”

  • #182630


    Good one! I’ve noticed on my desktop keyboard if I hit the Windows key (right next to the ALT key) and TAB it has a similar effect with a little more pizzazz.

  • #182628


    Nice one!

  • #182626

    Darrell Hamilton

    In Excel, the F4 button is essential. When you enter a cell reference, the F4 will switch the reference from relative to absolute. Hit it again and it will change to row absolute, then to column absolute, then back to relative.

  • #182624


    Nice! Another shortcut is to hit underscore (or dash) three times and hit return.

  • #182622

    Brian Deming

    If you do a great deal of copying and “paste values” in Excel, odds are you are right clicking and trying to hover over the “123” icon before clicking to paste values (instead of formulas). If you want to avoid using the mouse altogether, use the “Right Click” button and “v” in the same manner you would use “ctrl-v” to paste. My favorite time saver.

    Right-click button pictured below. It is located on lowest row of keyboard, to the right of the space bar (typically between the alt and ctrl buttons).

  • #182620

    Catherine McCollum

    Excellent, thank you. I’ll be using these.

  • #182618

    Rick Sutphen

    Snip It – it’s a great tool check it out here is a snip of the icon I just took a minute ago

  • #182616

    Karen L. Jones

    CTRL + Enter

    In Word, it inserts a new page break (Drives me nuts to se enter, enter, enter to go to a new page).

    In Internet Explorer, it completes a URL for you. For example, if you type in google and then hit CTRL+Enter, it makes it http://www.google.com

  • #182614

    Terrific MS Office tips – thanks everyone! Here’s my favorite MS Windows tip: Fast way to minimize all your open windows at once and return to the desktop, hold the Windows logo key + D. Since my agency still hasn’t upgraded from Windows XP (sad, I know), I also have a shortcut for this Windows command on my locked Taskbar, thus with one click of the mouse, all open windows minimize. Great time saver when you have a bunch of programs/files open.

  • #182612

    Candace Riddle

    Does anyone know how to block the forward option on MS Outlook calendar invites? This has been a real problem for me when scheduling recent meetings that seem to be passed to so may people that meeting objectives can’t be met.

  • #182610

    Darrell Hamilton

    Outlook does not come with that feature — although it is standard on many other calendar tools. Ultimately what you are describing is a corporate culture issue. Even if you could block the forwarding, people will still find a way to get around it.

    Depending on how much authority and flexibility you have, you can try scheduling the meeting in a smaller room or tell the participants that they can delegate the meeting, but to please not add to the number on the invite list.

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