Ergonomic Shortcuts for Microsoft Word
These are valuable alternatives to using the mouse - which many people overuse. Especially when your hands are already at the keyboard, using the mouse can mean unnecessary movement, over-exertion of the fingers and arm - and wasted time.
Many selection operations with the mouse cause undue tension in the hand and fingers. This is the case for detailed positioning of the cursor, such as at the exact beginning of a sentence. You will find that some of these commands are easier to use than the mouse.
This is not to say that the mouse should not be used, but only when it is the easiest and least stressful. Knowing all options, you can choose what is best at a given moment - and what fits your personal work style.
There are many more shortcuts and hand-saving functions than are listed here, but these are among the most powerful. The Microsoft Word manual details even more options, including more detailed tools with great efficiency and hand-saving power - such as the use of Style Sheets for automatic formatting. You are encouraged to explore.
Another extremely powerful tool in current versions of Word (and WordPerfect) is the "AutoCorrect" function. Ever notice that if you type a lower case "i" that the program will automatically capitalize it after you press the space key? In fact, Word is watching for a whole bunch of common misspellings. This is controlled by the AutoCorrect dialogue box which is found in the Tools menu.
The beauty of it is that you can use is as a shortcuts tool. Enter two letters, such as "os" for "Onsight." Then when you type in the document, use only the two letters, and pressing the space bar will then expand into the full word or phrase. Start watching for the most common long words or phrases that you use, and develop your own dictionary of shortcuts. You'll save a huge amount of actual keying, and be lots more productive while you're also saving your hands from injury.
And so, the shortcuts.
Command/Control - Arrow Keys
Holding down the Command key while pressing the right or left arrow key, the insertion point will move horizontally one word at a time. The up and down arrow keys will move one paragraph at a time.
Holding down the Shift key while pressing the right or left arrow key, individual characters will be selected or de-selected depending on their current selection status. Pressing the up or down arrow key simultaneous with the Shift key will select one line of text at a time, from the insertion point.
Command/Control - Shift-Arrow Keys
Pressing the left or right arrow keys while holding down both Command and Shift keys will select or de-select one word at a time. Punctuation is treated as a word. Pressing the up or down arrow key will select one paragraph at a time.
Command - Mouse Click (Mac only. Sorry.)
Click the mouse button while the cursor is over any point in a sentence and the entire sentence will be selected.
Pressing the mouse button three times in sequence will select an entire paragraph, from hard return to hard return. It is not necessary to rush the three clicks.
These keys will move forward/backward sequentially through entry spaces in dialog boxes. The space will be automatically highlighted, so any existing text will be deleted with the first keystroke.
Command - First Letter (Mac only.)
In a dialog box, pressing the Command key simultaneously with the first letter of a radio button or check box choice will select/de-select that choice.
Pressing "7" will move the cursor to the beginning of the line, "1" will move to the end. Using the Command key with these will move to the beginning or end of a sentence. The Num Lock function must be off for these to work.
Tool Menu: Preferences: Toolbar (Icon): Customize
The Toolbar is the set of icons that appears at the top of the screen as a default position. This can be customized for any menu function, and many dialog box choices. Rather than open windows or drag and click on menus, a single click can initiate the functions you use most often. This dialog box allows you to choose the function and the icon to represent it on the toolbar. You may also choose the location. Putting the Toolbar to the side will increase the amount of visible text and therefore reduce scrolling.
Format Menu: Paragraph: Before/After
Enter an amount for automatic spacing before or after a paragraph. Many users press the Return key a second time to create space between paragraphs. This function saves the extra keystroke, and also makes the Command-Shift-Down/Up Arrow (moves a paragraph at a time) function listed here more useful.
Bold = Command/Control -B
Left-Align = Command/Control - Shift-L
Italic = Command/Control - I
Right Align = Command/Control - Shift-R
All Caps = Command/Control - Shift-K
Center Align = Command/Control - Shift-C
Additional ergonomics articles from Onsight
Initial Thoughts on Cumulative Trauma
Why is Cumulative Trauma Happening Now?
Ergonomics - A Brief Definition
An Ergonomics Overview
Breaking Down the Myths
Management Role in Ergonomics
The Ergonomics of Sitting
Where Should the Keyboard Be?
Using Palm Support
A Warning About Wrist Braces
An Ergonomics Reading List