Some of my favorite “mnemonic” keystrokes in WordPerfect

April 2, 2011 at 2:59 pm

In December of 2010, I wrote about the use of “mnemonics” as a means of finding your way around the Ribbon in Word 2007 / Word 2010. By way of introduction, I said:

In the context of computer software, the term “mnemonics” (or “mnemonic”), derived from a Greek word that means something like “of memory,” typically applies to an underlined letter in the name of a drop-down menu; you can open a specific menu by pressing the Alt key plus the mnemonic (i.e., the underlined letter in that menu’s name). After you open a menu, you might notice underlined letters (mnemonics) in some of the command names. Once the menu is open, simply pressing a mnemonic — without also pressing the Alt key — executes a particular command.

Lately, I have been relying more and more on mnemonics to perform a variety of tasks in WordPerfect, too. Although I still use function keys to a certain extent (especially for tasks such as indenting text, finding and replacing text, switching to a different open document, printing, and toggling Reveal Codes on and off), mnemonics work well in specific circumstances. They’re convenient, they’re fast, and they’ve become second nature in much the same way as the other keyboard shortcuts I’ve used on a daily basis over the years.

One of the many nice things about mnemonics is they give you more control/precision than using the mouse. That fact can be important for anyone — novice or expert user — who has ever attempted to click a specific command, only to make a slight extra motion at the moment of the click that results in an unintended (and unwanted) action.

Mnemonics come in especially handy if you share a computer with someone who uses a different keyboard from the one you prefer. For instance, I use the DOS-compatible keyboard in WordPerfect — I’ve tried switching, but it’s too confusing after more than two dozen years of habituation — whereas my job-share partner uses the standard Windows (CUA) keyboard. Using mnemonics obviates, at least to some extent, the need to memorize a second set of keyboard shortcuts. (In recent years, we’ve resolved that issue by using two different versions of WP at work, but that solution isn’t always practical.)

The key to using mnemonics is to start by pressing the Alt key. Note that when you do so, one letter of the name of each menu — i.e., the mnemonic for that menu — will appear to be underlined. Pressing that key opens the menu. (Mnemonics are not case sensitive.) When the menu opens, simply press the underlined letter of the menu command to execute the command.

In some cases, pressing the underlined letter of a menu command opens a dialog box. When that happens, you can make a choice by pressing an underlined letter — sometimes you have to press the Alt key at the same time — or by moving from field to field with the Tab key. Once you’ve made your choice, press Enter to execute the command and close the dialog.

Don’t be concerned if it sounds complicated. It isn’t. With a little practice, you will become accustomed to it, and your fingers will go to the right keys without your having to think about it.

Here is a list of some of the mnemonics I use most often:

Change Line Spacing

Alt R, L, S, change the setting (you can simply type the digit 1 or 2 for single or double spacing), press Enter.

Change Page Margins

Alt R, M (Margins), then:

Press B to change the bottom margin
Press T to change the top margin
Press F to change the left margin (yes, it’s counter-intuitive)
Press R to change the right margin.

Convert Case

First, select the text, and then press:

Alt E, V (Convert Case), followed by:

L = lower case
I = Initial Caps

Insert Current Date as Text

Alt I, D (Date), Enter

Insert Current Date as a Code (That Will Update)

Alt I, D (Date), Alt K (“Keep…current”), Enter

Change Zoom (Magnification)

Alt V, Z (Zoom), then press:

1 = 100%
w = Page Width
O = Other (then type a custom magnification, such as 95 or 120)

And press Enter.

Set up an envelope

Select (or position the cursor to the left of) a name and address in a letter, then press:

Alt R, V (Envelope).

To print the envelope, press P.

Close a File

Alt F, C (then press Y to save changes or N to discard changes).

Give mnemonics a try. I think you’ll be favorably impressed.

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