Two ways to move text, using keyboard shortcuts (Word, recent versions)

June 11, 2009 at 6:21 pm

Just a quick post for now. I’ll follow up on the two draft posts I mentioned yesterday when I have more time.

Here are two alternate ways to move text in Word, using only keyboard shortcuts.

Method 1:

While doing some research in order to try to respond to a question posted on Woody’s Lounge, I remembered reading about the Spike — a feature of Word that I’ve never actually used. Essentially it is an extended clipboard. It allows you to move (cut) multiple selections, even items that aren’t contiguous, and then paste them all at once in a single location.

To use the feature, select some text that you want to move and then press Ctrl F3. In effect, you are cutting the text and storing it in the Spike. Select some additional text that you want to move and press Ctrl F3 to add it to the Spike, as well. Keep going until you’ve selected all the text you want to relocate.

When you’re ready to reposition the text, place your cursor where you want the text to go and press Ctrl Shift F3. Note that doing so will empty the Spike (contrary to the way the regular Windows clipboard works). Thus, if you press Ctrl Shift F3, you won’t be able to paste the contents of the Spike repeatedly.

There’s a workaround, however. To paste the same items in several places in the document, position the cursor and then, instead of pressing Ctrl Shift F3, type the word “spike” (without quotation marks) and press F3. The reason that works is that Word actually creates a temporary AutoText (Quick Parts) entry when you first press Ctrl F3, but clears it when you press Ctrl Shift F3. So to keep pasting the same items, you can continue to type “spike” and press F3.

Note that the Spike operates separately from the Windows clipboard. In other words, you can use traditional copy and paste methods for certain bits of text and use the Spike for other bits. That’s one advantage to using the Spike, since there are lots of occasions (especially in the legal field) where having two different clipboards comes in handy.

Method 2:

The other method doesn’t let you cut and paste multiple items at once, but it’s still pretty nifty. First, select some text. To cut it, press F2. Then, move the cursor to a new location and, when you’re ready to paste, just press the Enter key. If you decide you don’t want to paste after all, press Esc to cancel.

Thanks to moderator HansV on the Word forum in Woody’s lounge for the F2 / Enter key tip.

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Posts in progress Inserting symbols (WordPerfect, all recent versions)


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