What I Do: Word templates and shortcuts

Word templates and macros make my job soooo much easier!

When I open Word on my computer, I have all sorts of extra toolbars and things that you probably don’t have. And I would be absolutely lost without them! Luckily, over the years, my clients have provided me with lots of nifty, extra templates and shortcut keys… it’s like having a magic keyboard for editing!

Every now and then, I have to re-install my templates for one reason or another… and if I forget to do that and am working with the basic Word set-up, I’m seriously lost and can’t make it past the first sentence of a document. I’ve grown so accustomed to my keyboard shortcuts; I’m convinced they’re a must-have for anyone who spends 15-20 hours/day editing (or writing) on a computer.

Anyone can customize their keyboard to do fun things… although, I’m guessing that most normal people don’t feel that need (and I’m certainly not normal).

One of my shortcuts that I couldn’t live without is ctrl + ;

This combo magically lets me toggle between upper case and lower case… and I do a lot of toggling!

I mentioned in a previous “What I Do” post that I follow several different styles while I’m editing (depending on what exactly I’m working on at the time). Well, headings can be styled in lots of different ways. Here’s an example of one heading in three different styles:

  • Worthless Information About My Job
  • Worthless information about my job
  • WORTHLESS INFORMATION ABOUT MY JOB

So, now you can see why toggling between cases is so important to me and my keyboard. If I had to go through and re-type things every time I had to change case, I’d probably want to shoot myself… life is just too short for that kind of manual labor.

I also love ctrl + w. That magic shortcut key is programmed to replace commonly misused words with the correct word. For example, that and which. These words are used incorrectly more often than you can imagine. So, when the word that is used and it should be which, I just make sure my cursor is somewhere in the word that and then hit ctrl + w, and it magically replaces that with which, or vice versa. Confused yet?? Because and since are two more words that I change all the time with my ctrl + w shortcut; in my line of work, the two words are not interchangeable and since is only used when referring to “time since.” Ctrl + w can also toggle three different words, such as while, although, and whereas.

One more favorite… ctrl + q. This combo changes numerals to the written-out word, or vice versa. So, one becomes 1 or sixteen becomes 16… like magic! Unfortunately, whoever created that shortcut for me only programmed it to work for numbers one/1 through twenty/20. So it really irritates me when I have to manually change fifty to 50. (See how these shortcuts can make a person extremely lazy??)

Every now and then, when I want to have a real party, I sit down and add some more shortcut keys for things that I change frequently when I’m editing. Of course, the key to all of this is to actually remember these shortcuts once you’ve created them… so, if it’s not something that I use often enough and it’s not second nature for me to hit those shortcut keys, it doesn’t do much good.

Isn’t this thrilling stuff??

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2 Responses to What I Do: Word templates and shortcuts

  1. Diane says:

    ooooh! I’m totally jealous!
    I love shortcuts! Too bad I’m not very good at making them – I would totally love the numbers one. When I used to write the mortgage documents nothing was worse than writing out Two Hundred Fifty-seven Thousand Four Hundred Thirty-three Dollars and Ninety-eight Cents – or other equally annoying numbers.
    Do you subscribe to the Word blog? It’s totally fun in a real dorky sorta way… or maybe it’s real dorky in a kind of fun way.

  2. Bridget =) says:

    ok as a technical writer, i am totally digging this!!! LOLOLOL! =)

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