You might spend more time navigating in Word documents than you actually do creating or editing content. Unlike pilots and boat skippers, we’re not taught to navigate the sea of text that we encounter every day in our documents.
Here are some handy tips for moving around and selecting text.
The Browse Object button
In the lower right corner of your Word Window is a small round button called Browse Object. Click this button to see the range of objects you can navigate. For example, if your document has several pictures, you can select the picture icon (mountain and sun). Now, when you click the double down or up arrows, you’re navigating by picture. You can also choose to browse by Heading (123 outline icon), Table and Section (portrait, landscape arrow diagram).
Ctrl key shortcuts
There are a few must-have shortcuts for easily navigating Word.
- Ctrl+Home and Ctrl+End: These will get you to the top and bottom of your document, respectively.
- Ctrl+Page Down and Ctrl+Page Up: Half as much work as the Page Down and Page Up keys by themselves, these will get you to the top of the next or previous page.
- Ctrl+→: This shortcut will take you to the beginning of the next word.
- Ctrl+↓: Use this shortcut to go to the beginning of the next paragraph with regular text separated by paragraphs. It will behave differently in a table.
Easy ways to select text
Squinting at your screen, trying to get your cursor placed exactly at the beginning of the text you want to select and then trying to keep your mouse from running wild until you get to the end of the text are frustrating and time consuming. Here are three easy ways to select text.
1. If you are looking at your document in the Print Layout view (default), you’ll notice that if you move your cursor into the gray area to the left of the page, it changes from a Northeast arrow to a Northwest arrow. As a Northwest arrow, dragging it along the left side of the page, it will select whole lines of text quickly.
Did you know that there are different ways to select a single word? There is the old standby, click and drag. Then, there are two easier ways.
2. From the beginning of the word, press Ctrl+Shift+→.
3. If you’re not a keyboard shortcut fan, place your cursor in the middle of the word and double click.
Tip: You can select a single paragraph by triple clicking anywhere in the paragraph.
It is not necessary to select a whole word or paragraph to perform formatting actions.
For single words, just place your cursor in the middle of the word and choose any button in the Font group on the Home tab, or make changes with the Font selection on the right-click menu.
To center, right or left, align a paragraph or apply numbering or bullet styles, click in the middle of the paragraph and click the appropriate button.