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How to put an end to Word time-wasters

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in The Office Tech Pro,Word Tips

Could you use one or two dozen hours returned to you? Most people would. If you use Microsoft Word a great deal, there are opportunities to do things much faster and more accurately. Here are three ways to save time and be more accurate.

Navigation and selection

Stop scrolling back and forth. Use shortcut keys like Ctrl+↓ to get to the next paragraph or Ctrl+PgDn to get to the top of the next page, instead of the next screen. Using the Home and End keys to get to the beginning and end of a line, followed by Ctrl+→ or Ctrl+← to jump exactly to the right word, is easier than trying to squint and click in exactly the right place. Another handy nonkeyboard shortcut is to use the area to the left of the page in Page Layout View to select single lines (just click to the left of the line), multiple lines (just click and drag down) or paragraphs (double-click).

Templates

If you create similar documents with similar content, stop cutting and pasting or saving an old one under a new name; use a template that has the content you need and blanks or fields for the information that changes. For example, sales documents: If your sales contracts and proposals are largely the same, with the exception of the customer’s name and some particulars about products, services and signers, Save a “clean” document with just content and no names or specifics. It will format properly each time, reduce the amount of cutting and pasting, not to mention embarrassment over accidentally leaving the previous customer’s name or other information in a new customer’s document (ouch)!

To create a template, click on File, Save as, (then Computer if you’re using Office 2013). In the Save as type: field, choose Word Templates (or Word Macro-enabled Template if needed). Check at the top in the address field. Word has already found your templates library. Now, just click Save. When you need this template, click File, New and then Custom in Office 2013 or My Templates in 2010. You’ll see the templates you created in there.

Quick Parts

Are you always opening old documents to find a particular paragraph, diagram or chunk of text? Starting with Office 2007, Microsoft Office has included a feature called Quick Parts. Think of it as a permanent clipboard. For example, if you’re always typing “ABC Foundation is a 501 (c)3 corporation with headquarters in Atlanta, Ga.,” simply select that text, click on the Insert tab, and in the Text group, click the Quick Parts button. Then choose Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery.

Now, when you need it in any document, just click the Quick Parts button, and you’ll see it as a selection at the top. You can save whole paragraphs, SmartArt diagrams, signature blocks and objects like red circles or rectangles. If you use them frequently, think about adding the Quick Parts button to your Quick Access Toolbar. Name your favorite Quick Parts with an underscore (_) as the first character to get them to appear at the top!

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