An editor colleague recently tweeted that the one shortcut they used most often was Ctrl+Z – the ‘undo’ key. This got me thinking about the various keyboard shortcuts that I use every day, both when editing and writing. Many formally trained touch-typists will use keystroke shortcuts as a matter of course. There’s also an argument that shortcuts reduce reliance on the mouse, and consequently may reduce the risk of repetitive strain type injuries.
Keystroke shortcuts are quicker than mouse movements
I’m by no means an expert on the vast number of shortcuts available in Word, but I do have a few favourites that make life easier. I have to confess that I until recently I didn’t use Ctrl+Z very often. That’s not because I’m always right, but Word has so many different ways of doing things that I’ve got into the habit of undoing actions using the little arrows at the very top left-hand corner of the screen, although that does involve using the mouse. However, now I’ve rediscovered the usefulness and speed of Ctrl+Z it has become a new favourite.
Shortcuts for OSCOLA
My other go-to keystroke shortcuts are Ctrl+A to highlight the whole text – useful for major style changes or formatting, Ctrl+C to copy, Ctrl+X to cut and Ctrl+V to paste. When I’m editing law essays and dissertations the shortcuts for creating em and en dashes are also handy. Page number ranges should be separated by an en dash, rather than a hyphen. This is easily done with Ctrl+ the numerical minus sign. If you’re styling an OSCOLA bibliography with multiple citations of the same author then you’ll need to use two em dashes for the second author entry instead of the name. Add these just by using the keystroke combination Ctrl+Alt+ numerical number sign.
Here are my favourite shortcuts:
There’s a wide range of keystroke shortcuts available – you can find more listed on the Microsoft site and even create your own. Do you use any of these shortcuts? Leave me a comment below with your favourite.