15 Keyboard Shortcuts for Fast Navigation in MS Word

by Helen Bradley

Small business software expert, Helen Bradley, shares 15 keyboard shortcuts to help you move quickly in Microsoft Word.

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When you're editing a long document in Microsoft Word, you can waste a lot of time if you don’t know how to quickly find where you need to start working. I'll show you quick ways to navigate a Word document that will help you get more out of your small business software and get to work faster.

A Word Doc from Top to Bottom

When you want to move from the top of a document to the bottom of the document, press Control + End or Control + Home. These keystrokes move the insertion point to the space immediately after the last character in the document or immediately in front of the first one.

Keyboard shortcuts in Microsoft Word; small business software
To move from cell-to-cell in a table use the Tab key. Use Shift + Tab to move backward.
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To move page-by-page through a document, press Control + Page Up or Control + Page Down. While this moves you one physical document page at a time, pressing Page Up or Page Down will moves one screen at a time.

Efficient Editing in Microsoft Word

When editing a Word document, you can move from one end of a line to the other using the Home and End keys. To move one word at a time, press Control + Left Arrow or Control + Right Arrow. This is a quicker and more efficient way of moving into position for editing text than moving one character at a time using the arrow keys.

Navigating Tables in Microsoft Word

Keyboard shortcuts in Microsoft Word; small business software
You can bookmark places in a document, and then find them easily using the Word Bookmark feature.
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When you're working inside a table, press the Tab key to move from one cell to the next across a row and then to the next row. You can use Shift + Tab to snake backward through the table cells.

Pressing the Alt key with the Page Up, Page Down, Home and End keys moves you to the top or bottom cell in the current column -- or to the first and last cell in the current row.

Navigating Columns in Word

You won’t find many keyboard shortcuts to help move around easily within newspaper style columns in Word. To move from one column to the next, press Alt + Page Up or Alt + Page Down -- these keys take you to the very top of the previous or the next column. If you need to go to a particular place within a column, clicking with the mouse is the better option.

Special Key Combination

When you close a Word document, the software notes the last place you were working. When you reopen the document you can return to that place immediately by pressing Shift + F5. This same Shift + F5 key combination will rotate you through the last places you worked in the document.

Navigating with Bookmarks in Microsoft Word

When you are working on a long document over a period of days or weeks, bookmarks can help you quickly go to a preset position. You can add bookmarks at key places in the document, and then move to those bookmarks any time. Click the spot within document where you want to place the bookmark, and choose Insert > Bookmark. Type a name for the bookmark, and click Add.

When you're ready to return to a bookmark position, press F5 or Control + G. This brings up a menu box, and you then select Bookmark from the Go To What list. Select the bookmark name, and click Go To.

Keyboard shortcuts in Microsoft Word; small business software
The Select Browse Object button lets you choose a type of object you want to find within a document and then browse to it quickly.
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Microsoft Word's Browse Object Button

In the bottom-right corner of the Word window you'll find the (very tiny, circular) Select Browse Object button. This feature lets you browse a document from one object to the next. For example you can browse by Page, Section, Comment, Footnote, Endnote, Field, Table, Graphic, Heading or by Edits.

Choose the object to browse by, and then click the Previous or Next button -- these are above and below the Select Browse Object button -- to move one object at a time through the document.

Microsoft Word 2010 Navigation Pane

The new Navigation Pane in Word 2010 provides similar options to the Select Browse Objects button. Access the display by choosing View > Navigation Pane.

From the tabs in the Navigation Pane, you can choose to browse the Headings in the document, the Pages or to browse by Search results. For example, if you want to find a particular word that exists in your document, click the Search tab and type in that word.

A list of matches appears in the pane -- each includes some of the surrounding text to make it easier to identify the desired match. Click a match to go to that place in the document. The search text will be temporarily highlighted, but it the highlighting will disappear immediately once you start working.

Keyboard shortcuts in Microsoft Word; small business software
The new Navigation pane in Word 2010 lets you quickly see, find and go to text in a document.
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Click the dropdown list opposite the search box in the navigation pane to access the Go To dialog or to find Graphics, Tables, Equations, Footnotes and Comments in your document.

Find Tool Navigation in Word

The Find tool is another way to navigate around a document, particularly in Word 2007 and earlier versions. From the Home tab on the ribbon, click Find (in Word 2010 click Find > Advanced Find) and type the text you're searching for. Click Find Next repeatedly to move around the matches found for your search text.

In the Find menu box, click Reading Highlight > Highlight All to highlight all the matches in the document. This coloring disappears immediately once you make a change in the document.

Learning some of these methods for moving more quickly through a document will speed up the work that you do in Word and help you get more out of one of your key Microsoft small business applications.

Helen Bradley is a respected international journalist writing regularly for small business and computer publications in the USA, Canada, South Africa, UK and Australia. You can learn more about her at her Web site, HelenBradley.com

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This article was originally published on Wednesday Apr 27th 2011
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