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Keyboard Shortcuts & Mouse Techniques to Navigate, Select & Edit in Microsoft Word

Jason Morrell

by Jason Morrell 
April 13, 2020

In this post you'll discover lots of different ways to navigate through your document, select text and edit text quickly in Word using both the mouse and keyboard shortcuts.

As a beginner you will probably use your mouse 90% of the time, but if you learn just one or two new techniques on the keyboard you won't have to keep switching between the keyboard and the mouse which will speed things up and it will stand you in good stead moving forwards.

It also means that you can use your laptop while you are on a crammed train!

1.  Selecting text using the mouse

You can select different part of your document. Here is a small selection to get you started.

#1 Select a word using click-and-drag

1.  Left-click anywhere in the middle of a word and keep your finger on the button.

2.  Drag to the right. As soon as you go past the end of the current word, the whole word is selected.

3.  Release the button.

#2 Select a phrase using click-and-drag

1.  Left-click at the beginning of your selection and keep your finger on the button.

2.  Drag to the end of your selection.

3.  Release the button.

#3 Select a word

Double-left-click a word to select it.

#4 Select a sentence

Press and hold Shift and left-click anywhere in the sentence.Select a paragraph Triple-left-click anywhere in a paragraph to select it.

#5 Select a paragraph

Triple-left-click anywhere in a paragraph to select it.

#6 Select a line

1.  Move the mouse pointer to the left margin next to the line you want to select.

2.  Left-click to select the line.

#7 Select the whole document

1.  Move the mouse pointer to the left margin.

2.  Press and hold the Ctrl key.

3.  Left-click to select the whole document.

2. Selecting text with keyboard shortcuts

#1 Select a letter

1.  Position the cursor.

2.  Press and hold the Shift key.

3.  Press the key (right-cursor).

#2 Select a word

1.  Place the cursor at the beginning of the word or phrase.

2.  Press and hold the Shift and Ctrl keys.

3.  Press the key (right cursor). The word is selected. Continue to press the cursor key to extend the selection.

#3 Select a phrase

1.  Place the cursor at the beginning of the phrase.

2.  Press and hold the Shift key.

3.  Left-click at the end of the phrase.

#4 Select the whole document

Press Ctrl + A.

3. Navigating your document

You can use the scroll bars or your mouse wheel to move through a document, but there are other techniques you can use to navigate a document.

#1 Page through a document

Press the Page Up and Page Down buttons to move through the document one screenat a time.

#2 Go to a specific page

1.  Press Ctrl + G to display the Go To dialog box.

2.  Type in a page number.

3.  Click Go To

4.  Click Close

#3 Go to the beginning of the line

Press Home

#4 Go to the end of the line

Press End

#5 Go to the top of the document

Press Ctrl Home

#6 Go to the bottom of the document

Press Ctrl + End

#7 Go to the next or previous word

1.  Position the cursor.

2.  Press and hold the Ctrl key.

3.  Press the   or    key.

#8 Go to the next or previous paragraph

1.  Position the cursor.

2.  Press and hold the Ctrl key.

3.  Press the or key.

4. Delete vs Backspace

  • Forward Delete: The Delete key deletes a letter from the right of the cursor position
  • Backward Delete: The Backspace key (normally located at the top-right corner of the keyboard) deletes a letter to the left of the cursor position
  • Press Ctrl and Delete to delete an entire word to the right of the cursor
  • Press Ctrl and Backspace to delete an entire word to the left of the cursor

5. Visual Separators

Type 3 dashes ( --- ) to display a single line separator.

Single line separator

Type 3 equals signs ( === ) to display a double line separator

Double line separator

Type 3 hashes ( ### ) to display a triple line separator

Triple line separator

Type 3 underscores ( ___ ) to display a thick separator

Thick line separator

Type 3 asterisks ( *** ) to display a dotted line separator

Dotted line separator

Type 3 tildas ( ~~~ ) to display a wavy line separator. The tilda is found by pressing the Shift key and the key below the Esc key in the top-left corner of the keyboard.

Wavy line separator

6. All the key points again

  • You can select a single character, word, phrase, sentence, line, paragraph or the entire document using the keyboard or your mouse.
  • You can navigate around a document or go direct to any page using keyboard commands.
  • You can backwards delete or forward delete letters or words.
  • Press 3 of the following symbols followed by Enter to display a funky separator line in your document: dashes (---), underscores (___), equals signs (===), hashes (###), asterixes (***) or tildas (~~~).

7. What Next?

I hope you found plenty of value in this post. I'd love to hear your biggest takeaway in the comments below together with any questions you may have.

Have a fantastic day.

Jason Morrell blog signature
About Jason Morrell

About the author

Jason Morrell

Jason Morrell is a professional trainer, consultant and course creator who lives on the glorious Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia.

He helps people of all levels unleash and leverage the power contained within Microsoft Office by delivering training, troubleshooting services and taking on client projects. He loves to simplify tricky concepts and provide helpful, proven, actionable advice that can be implemented for quick results.

Purely for amusement he sometimes talks about himself in the third person.


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