Most people use only a fraction of the features in Microsoft Word. That’s not surprising, given the sheer breadth of capabilities that Word has.
The secret of maximum productivity with Word is learning how to shave steps off the tasks you perform everyday. Here are some of my favorite time-saving shortcuts, which work in Word 2010 and Word 2013. There are a few quick tips, and a few more complex ones that can really save time when they become useful.
Compare Two Documents Side by Side
There are various reasons why you might want to compare two documents and Word provides the option to open two files side by side for this very purpose. However, if you’re using a monitor in portrait mode, side-by-side document comparison is less useful than having one document displayed above the other.
Thankfully, this arrangement option is available. In Word 2003 and older, open the two documents you want to compare, click the ‘Window’ menu and select ‘Compare Side by Side’. Now click the ‘Window’ menu again and select the ‘Arrange All’ option.
In Word 2007 and 2010, open the documents that you want to compare and move to the View tab of the ribbon. Click the ‘View Side by Side’ button, and then click ‘Arrange All’. Press ‘Synchronous Scrolling’ and you can scroll then through both of your documents at the same time.
Paste text with the Spike
While the clipboard provides a useful way to copy and move text around a Word document, there’s a little-known feature called the Spike that provides an alternative. Text that’s added to the Spike is cut from the document and there’s no limit to the number of entries that can be added.
When the content of the Spike is pasted into a document, it’s done so in the order that it was spiked. This provides a very handy way of reorganizing paragraphs or lists, without the need for endless cutting and pasting.
To add text to the Spike, select it and press Ctrl+F3 simultaneously – this can be repeated as many times as required. To paste the contents of the Spike back into a document, you just need to press [Ctrl+Shift+F3.
This will clear the Spike, ready to start collecting more data, but it’s also possible to paste the Spike while retaining its contents for future use. Position the cursor where the pasted text should appear, type the word spike and then press [F3].