Wait! How’d You Do That?

I do a lot of co-editing on screen, with people looking over my shoulder (live or remotely)—who then exclaim, “Wait!”

Here are tips for things I do all the time that, it seems, many people don’t know about. These are in no particular order … up until I add so many that it will need organization and navigation.

These tips are for the Windows version of Microsoft Word, and most work for any version from Word 97 onward.

Of course, start with a detailed Word Cheatsheet. (Search for cheatsheets for your specific version of Word.)

Tip: You can move text quickly without using Cut/Paste.
This method does not place the copied text on the clipboard:

  • Select the text you want to move.
  • Hold down the Ctrl key and click where you want the text to move.
    If you press Ctrl+Shift when you click, you will copy the text to the new location and leave it in the original location.

Tip: Display Paragraph Marks while you work.
In Word, the paragraph formatting is “stored” in the paragraph mark. If you can’t see the marks, you can’t tell what you are deleting or moving when you edit paragraphs.


Tip: Use AutoNum fields for chapter numbers.
Unless you’re an amazing planner, the number and order of chapters will change as you write. When you add or move a chapter, the AutoNum field will renumber chapters automatically.
See how-to steps in “Wringing a Novel from Word.”

Tip: Remove manually applied styles (such as Bold) by selecting the text and pressing Ctrl+Spacebar.
Or click Clear Formatting in the drop-down menu.


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