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Ten Office 2013 Keystroke Shortcuts

One common theme of Office 2013 is that all programs look and work alike. After you learn how to use Word, you’ll find it isn't much harder to learn Excel or PowerPoint because the Ribbon tabs all work in similar ways.

Even better, the same keystroke commands work alike in all Office 2013 programs. By memorizing keystroke shortcuts, you’ll be able to work faster and more efficiently with Office 2013, no matter which particular program you may be using at the time.

Protecting yourself with Undo (Ctrl+Z) and Redo (Ctrl+Y)

Many people are terrified of making a mistake, so they wind up never trying anything new that could save them time and make their lives easier. Fortunately, Office 2013 lets you freely experiment with different commands because if you do anything, such as delete or modify text or add a picture or page, you can immediately reverse what you just did by using the Undo command (Ctrl+Z) right away.

With the Undo command protecting you, you can try different commands to see what they do. If things don’t work the way you thought, press Ctrl+Z and undo your last changes.

If you wind up undoing a change and then suddenly realize you didn’t want to undo that change after all, you can redo a command you previously reversed. To redo a command that you had undone, choose the Redo command (Ctrl+Y).

Cut (Ctrl+X), Copy (Ctrl+C), and Paste (Ctrl+V)

Editing any file often means moving or copying data from one place to another. Understandably, three of the most common commands are the Cut, Copy, and Paste commands.

To use the Cut or Copy command, just select an item (text or picture) and choose the Cut or Copy icon on the Home tab (or press Ctrl+X to cut or Ctrl+C to copy).

Both the Cut and Copy commands are most often used with the Paste command. However, the Cut command, without the Paste command, is essentially equivalent to deleting selected text or objects.

Each time you choose the Cut or Copy command, Office 2013 automatically stores that selected data (text or pictures) on the Office Clipboard, which can hold up to 24 items. After you cut or copy items to the Office Clipboard, you can always retrieve them.

If you turn off your computer or exit Office 2013, any items on the Office Clipboard are lost.

Saving a file (Ctrl+S)

Never trust that your computer, operating system, or Office 2013 will work when you need it. That’s why you should save your file periodically while you’re working: If you don’t, and the power suddenly goes out, you’ll lose all the changes you made to your file since the last time you saved it. If the last time you saved a file was 20 minutes ago, you’ll lose all the changes you made in the past 20 minutes.

It’s a good idea to save your file periodically, such as after you make a lot of changes to a file. To save a file, press Ctrl+S or click the Save icon on the Quick Access toolbar.

The first time you save a file, Office 2013 asks you for a descriptive name. After you have saved a file at least once, you can choose the Save command, and Office 2013 will save your file without bothering you with a dialog box.

Printing a file (Ctrl+P)

Despite all the promises of a paperless office, more people are printing and using paper than ever before. As a result, one of the most common commands you’ll use is the Print command.

To choose the Print command, press Ctrl+P.

Checking your spelling (F7)

Before you allow anyone to see your file, run a spell check first. Just press F7, and Office 2013 diligently checks the spelling of your text. When the spell checker finds a suspicious word, it displays a dialog box that lets you choose a correct spelling, ignore the currently highlighted word, or store the highlighted word in the Office 2013 dictionary so it won’t flag that word as misspelled again.

Spell checkers are handy and useful, but they can be fooled easily. You may spell a word correctly (such as their) but use that word incorrectly, such as You knead two move over their. Spell-checking won’t always recognize grammatical errors, so you still need to proofread your file manually just to make sure that you don’t have any misspelled or incorrect words in your file.

If you don’t want Office 2013 to spell-check your entire file, just highlight the text you want to spell-check and then press F7.

Opening a file (Ctrl+O)

Generally, you’ll spend more time working with existing files than creating new ones. Rather than force you to click the File tab each time and find the Open command, just press Ctrl+O instead. This immediately displays an Open window so you can choose a file to open.

Creating a new file (Ctrl+N)

Normally, if you want to create a new file in Office 2013, you have to click the File tab and click New. Then you have to decide if you want to create a blank document or use a template.

Here’s a quick way to create a blank document: Just press Ctrl+N. Office 2013 immediately creates a blank file without making you wade through any windows.

Pressing Ctrl+N in Outlook 2013 creates a different item, such as creating a new e-mail message or task, depending on what you’re doing with Outlook at the time.

Finding text (Ctrl+F)

The Find command lets you search for a word or phrase buried somewhere within your file. To use the Find command, just press Ctrl+F. This opens a dialog box that lets you type the text you want to find.

Finding and replacing text (Ctrl+H)

Sometimes you may need to find and replace text with something else, such as replacing your cousin’s name with your own name (especially useful for changing a will in a rich inheritance). To find and replace text, press Ctrl+H. When a dialog box appears, type in the text you want to find and the text you want to replace it.

When replacing text, you have a choice of using the Replace or the Replace All command. The Replace command lets you review each word before you replace it to make sure that’s what you really want to do. The Replace All command replaces text without giving you a chance to see whether it’s correct. When using the Replace All command, be aware that Office 2013 may replace words incorrectly. For example, in addition to replacing Bob with Frank, Office 2013 may also replace all occurrences of Bobcat with Frankcat, which is probably something you don’t want to do.

Closing a window (Ctrl+W) or program (Alt+F4)

To close a window, you can either click that window’s Close box or click the File tab and then click Close. For a faster alternative, just press Ctrl+W to close the current window right away.

If you haven’t saved the contents of the current window, Office 2013 displays a dialog box asking if you want to save your data before it closes the window.

In case you want to shut down the currently running program altogether, just press Alt+F4. If you have any open, unsaved files, Office 2013 will first ask if you want to save them before closing the files and shutting down the program.

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