How much time do you spend using Microsoft Word every day? I bet if you tracked it, it would be much more than you think. Little tasks can add up to big amounts of time spent, or wasted, depending on the situation. If you find yourself spinning your wheels with document creation and formatting issues, like so many of us, there are things you can do! Cut out the wasted time and increase your efficiency with these time saving tips for Word 2013.

1. Customize Quick Access Toolbar

Customizing the Quick Access Toolbar can be great, especially if you are often performing actions that are buried under several clicks-worth of options in the normal ribbon display.

  • First, to find the Quick Access Toolbar, look to the top of your screen, next to the Undo button. Any options you add to this toolbar will show up across the top, next to Undo, Repeat, Save, etc.


  • To add a new option to the toolbar, you will need to navigate the command’s normal location in the navigation ribbon and right click to add it, like in the image below


  • If you can’t find the item you need in the upper navigation, select More Commands from the list shown below. For this example I will be adding Insert Header to the toolbar.

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  • Change the choose commands from list to ALL, find the option you want, click it, click Add and then Ok. Any commands you set up this way will now appear in your Quick Access Toolbar. You can reset to default settings anytime.


2. Rearrange Bulleted or Numbered Lists

Reorganizing bulleted lists, numbered lists and outlines can be a downright pain in the butt. Thankfully Word 2013 includes a super easy feature to eliminate cutting and pasting.

  • Click on the bullet point text area you wish to move up or down the list
  • With the curser on the line you want to move, press Alt+Shift+ UP or DOWN arrow to move the line


3. Keyboard Shortcuts

I really can’t stress enough how much time you can save with keyboard shortcuts. You probably don’t realize it but the time spent to look down at your mouse, move it where you need, hunting for menu items, rearranging your arm to move the mouse, etc, adds up very quickly. Take 10 minutes each day to practice using keyboard shortcuts, not only for Microsoft Word, but all of the programs you use often. The more you practice, the easier they will become and you will find yourself using them more and more.

Check out this awesome Wiki by ShortcutWorld for a full list of shortcuts to practice


4. Configure Your Paste Formatting Options

Pasting things in Word can get tricky and annoying especially if you are often pasting things with set formatting, numbered lists, bullet points, images, videos, etc. One way to make it easier on yourself in the future is to configure your Paste options for the things you do most often.

  • To configure Paste settings, go to File, Options, Advanced.

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Now that you are on the Advanced Options screen, scroll down until you see the options for Cut, Copy and Paste. Set the options in the list to what suits you best. Remember that pasting with Ctrl-V will still automatically format the pasted items.

EX- Here is what Paste settings should look like for someone who imports lots of lists, to standardize their formatting. Any time text from an outside document is brought it, it will be text only. It will be formatted to match the destination file once all necessary text/data has been added.
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5. Quick Removal of Formatting

We’ve all had times where inconsistent formatting in documents makes a huge mess, and it seems like the more you try to fix it, the worse it gets. To quickly remove all of the formatting in a document and start over (and don’t worry predefined styles or custom templates will stay intact).

  • Highlight or select all the text you want formatting taken off of
  • Hit Ctrl+Space Bar to remove all formatting from the highlighted section5_1 tip pic
    In our example, after using Ctrl+Space bar, all formatting was removed and the title of the document went back to the default format of the style that was originally applied to it from the Styles list.
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6. Compare Multiple Documents on One Screen

If you often find yourself switching back and forth between multiple documents to make comparisons, the View Side by Side feature could be a real time saver for you. This is also a great tip for you Excel users! To view two documents in the same window:

  • Make sure both documents you want to view are open.
  • Click View in the upper navigation, then click View Side by Side.
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  • The two documents will now be side by side for easy comparison, and you can scroll both docs simultaneously.
  • To turn off Synchronous Scrolling, click View in the upper navigation, then click Synchronous Scrolling, located just below View Side by Side.


7. Embed Videos

Adding videos to your Word docs can enhance the messages and create more engaging content. Embedding allows you to take videos from online sources and make them a part of your document. The HTML embed code gives instructions to Word for how to display the video- sizing, framerates, display a thumbnail preview or the whole video, auto-play, loop, etc. Whether it’s training, research, making lists or just sneaking in a cat video, embedded media can make documents easier to understand and more interesting.

  • To embed a video, you will need either the video title or it’s embed code.
  • In the upper navigation, click on Insert- Online video.
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  • Select the option you want from the search choices or enter the embed code, found below most YouTube videos, under Share- Here is an example of an embed code

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8. Edit PDFs in Word

Finally, a way to edit and extract the information from PDFs easily! Open a PDF in Word and make any changes you need; take things out, move things around, whatever. This is actually one of my favorite time savers!

All of these tips have been tried, tested and work well for me. But what are some you are already using? We’re always interested in learning about new ways to streamline or eliminate tedious tasks from our schedules. Creating efficiency and consistency through new tools and new processes makes us all more productive. Hopefully some of these tips will have a positive impact in your daily activities! Leave a comment with your favorite Word shortcuts!