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How to Remove Unwanted Text in Word 2013

The ability to erase text in Word 2013 is just as valuable and necessary as the ability to create text. Deleting text is part of writing text, part of thinking and rethinking, and part of self-editing. Writing. Deleting. Rewriting. Redeleting.

Credit the guy who put the eraser on the end of the pencil: It’s a given that human beings make mistakes. The round, soft eraser counterbalances the sharp point of the pencil in more ways than one.

Both creating and destroying text are accomplished by using the keyboard. The majority of keys are used to create text. Only two keys delete text: Backspace and Delete. How these keys work, and how much of your text they can delete, depends on how the keys are used.

How to delete single characters

Use the Backspace and Delete keys by themselves to delete single characters:

  • Backspace key: Deletes the character to the left of the insertion pointer

  • Delete key: Deletes the character to the right of the insertion pointer

In the following example, the insertion pointer is “flashing” between the z and the e in dozens. Pressing the Backspace key deletes the z; pressing the Delete key deletes the e:

Duane made doz|ens of delightful things in his woodshop yet still managed to retain all his fingers.

The touchscreen keyboard features only the Backspace key, which, ironically, supports the universal symbol for the Delete key. Touching this key backs up and erases. There's no Delete key equivalent on the touchscreen keyboard to delete the character to the right of the insertion pointer.

  • After you delete a character, any text to the right or below the character shuffles over to fill the void.

  • You can press and hold Backspace or Delete to continuously “machine-gun-delete” characters. Release the key to halt such wanton destruction, although you should use other delete commands rather than the machine-gun approach.

  • Special types of text in Word cannot easily be deleted with the Backspace key or Delete key. An example is an updating text field, which holds special text that always shows, say, today’s date. This type of text appears shaded in a light gray color when you try to delete. That’s Word reminding you of the unusualness of the text. Press the Delete or Backspace key a second time.

How to delete a word

To gobble up an entire word, add the Ctrl key to the Backspace or Delete key's destructive power:

  • Ctrl+Backspace deletes the word in front (to the left) of the insertion pointer.

  • Ctrl+Delete deletes the word behind (to the right) of the insertion pointer.

These keyboard shortcuts work best when the insertion pointer is at the start or end of a word. When you're in the middle of the word, the commands delete only from that middle point to the start or end of the word.

After you delete a word, the insertion pointer sits at the end of the preceding word (or paragraph) when you use Ctrl+Backspace. Deleting a word by using Ctrl+Delete puts the cursor at the beginning of the next word. This is done to facilitate the rapid deletion of several words in a row.

After deleting the text, Word neatly wraps up the remaining text, snuggling it together in a grammatically proper way; deleting a word doesn’t leave a “hole” in your text.

No mere pencil eraser can match Ctrl+Delete or Ctrl+Backspace for sheer speed and terror!

How to delete more than a word

Word lacks keyboard-specific commands to delete more than a word or character of text. Larger chunks of your document can be deleted, swiftly and effectively. It’s just that those ways are not that obvious.

Delete a line of text

A line of text is merely a line across the page. The easiest way to delete a line of text is to use the mouse:

  1. Move the mouse into the left margin of your document.

    You know you've found the sweet spot when the mouse pointer changes into a northeast arrow.

  2. Point the mouse pointer arrow at the line of text you want to obliterate.

  3. Click the mouse.

    The line of text is highlighted, or selected.

  4. Press the Delete key to send that line into oblivion.

Delete a sentence

A sentence is a grammatical thing. You know: Start with a capital letter and end with a period, a question mark, or an exclamation point. You probably mastered this concept in grammar school.

Making a sentence go bye-bye is cinchy:

  1. Hover the mouse over the offending sentence.

  2. Press and hold the Ctrl key and click the mouse.

    The sentence is selected.

  3. Press the Delete key.

    Oomph! It’s gone.

Delete a paragraph

A paragraph is one or more sentences, or a heading, ending with a press of the Enter key. Here's the fastest way to delete a full paragraph:

  1. Point the mouse at the paragraph.

  2. Click the mouse button thrice.

    Thrice means "three times."

    Press the Delete key.

Delete a page

A page of text is just that — all the text from where the page starts to where the page ends. It’s a physical thing.

Pages are a formatting issue, not something Word deals directly with regard to editing. Even so, to delete a page, mind these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+G to summon the Go To tab in the Find and Replace dialog box.

  2. Choose Page from the Go to What list.

  3. Type the number of the page you want to delete.

  4. Click the Go To button and then click the Close button.

    The insertion pointer is positioned at the top of the page you chose in Step 3.

  5. Press the F8 key.

    The F8 key is used to enter a special selection mode in Word.

  6. Press Ctrl+PgDn (the Page Down key).

    The entire page is now selected.

  7. Press the Delete key.

    The page is gone.

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