Keyboard Shortcuts for Speed & Ease

When using computers, keyboard shortcuts can save valuable time. By using keyboard shortcuts (or hotkeys) you can use some very common tools without having to move your hand away from the keyboard to the mouse.

Editing commands:

These commands can make moving text around in your document very easy.

Copy Text


When you press the Control Key and the C key at the same time you will copy any text that is currently highlighted. When used in conjunction with paste, it can provide a quick way to bring a quote from a website or other source quickly into your paper.

Cut Text


Using the Control Key and the X key together is very similar in use to the Copy Text command, Cut Text is best used when moving pieces of information within your paper. When used it will temporarily remove the selected text, and await a Paste command tto place it again. Be careful though, as if you copy or cut again before you paste the selection, it will be deleted.

Paste Text


After you use Copy Text or Cut Text, the Paste Text command is how you will place the text you copied or cut into your document, wherever you have the cursor.

Formatting commands:

There are several commands that you may find very useful for getting your papers into the MLA standards many instructors expect.


Select All

To begin with is the all important Select All command. Using the Control key and the A key at the same time will cause Microsoft Word (and most other word processing programs.) to select all of your text making formatting much easier.

CTRL + 2

Double Spacing

A very useful command, after selecting your text (I suggest the use of CTRL + A.), press the Control key and the 2 key to force all of your text to be double spaced. A very quick and easy way to get you to MLA format.


Hanging Indents

While it is not recommended to use after using the Select All command, the use of Control and the T key will automatically set up hanging indents, which works wonderfully well for your Works Cited pages.


Center Text

This command is perfect for the title of your essay. After you select the title of your essay press the control key and the E key and this command will automatically center your title.

All of these and more can be found in the manuals and online for each word processing program you use. This is only a small selection of the power of Keyboard Shortcuts and the variety of tasks they speed up.

Last But Certainly Not Least

Spell Check
Frequently found above the 8 and 9 key on your keyboard, pressing F7 will open Microsoft Word’s Spell Check. This is a great tool and will help you make sure your paper has the last few touches it needs before you hit that print hotkey.

Simply the fastest way to print your document, Control and the P key, when held at the same time, will bring up the print dialog box.

Well that is all for now, comment below and let me know what some of your favorite hotkeys and shortcuts are.

Resources for more information:

Microsoft Word : This is the official list of all the hotkey commands for Microsoft Word. The list does not have full explanations, but it does have a brief description of its use, experiment and see if you find any that are useful for you.

Open Office : Here is the Open Office wiki page which contains a list of all hotkeys and a short description of its use.

iWork Pages : Here is Apple’s list of hotkeys for iWork Pages. A lot of the commands listed here are not available in other word processing programs.

Last Updated: 4/27/2015 9:02 AM