You’d be surprised at the amount of time that you spend moving back and forth between your mouse and keyboard as you navigate through a long legal document. Have you ever felt frustrated as you manually scroll through an 80-page contract, or had to repeatedly hit the “page down” button to get to the bottom of a lengthy brief?
Fortunately, Microsoft Word helps us out by making these problems go away with the use of keyboard shortcuts — but few lawyers are aware of them. The guide below will help you learn to navigate through large Word documents with keyboard shortcuts like a pro.
To provide the bottom line up front, we’ve outlined all of the relevant shortcuts in the table below. You can also download our shortcuts guide, which you can print and put beside your desk (note, however, that the left side of the page is shortcuts for the LawCuts software, which allows you to save time inserting legal symbols).
Read on for an explanation of each shortcut!
Select all (Ctrl + A):
We’ll start off with the simplest one. To select all the text in your document, simply press “Control + A”.
Go to Page / Section / etc. (Ctrl + G):
This is particularly useful when navigating through large documents. Hold down “Control” and press “G.” A “Go to” menu will pop up. After selecting what you want to go to on the left (e.g., a specific page), you can type that location in the box to the right, press “Enter,” and go there immediately. Again, this is particularly helpful for documents that are dozens of pages long.
Jump over words (Ctrl + Left / Right Arrow Keys):
This one is extremely useful. If you’re trying to quickly navigate through a sentence, but don’t want to press the arrows a million times (or move to your mouse), simply hold down the control button and click your left or right arrow keys as needed.
Jump through paragraphs (Ctrl + Up / Down Arrow Keys):
Need to move a bit further? To jump through paragraphs, press “Control + up/down arrow keys” as needed.
Go to beginning or end of line (Home / End):
This shortcut is particularly useful when dealing with bulleted or numbered lists — or if you simply need to move through a sentence quickly. To jump to the left side of the page, press “Home;” to jump to the right, press “End.” These keys are somewhat hidden on some keyboards, but they’re incredibly useful.
Go to beginning or end of document (Ctrl + Home / End):
Huge navigation hack! To navigate to the beginning or end of a document, simply hold down your control button and press either “Home” (to head to the beginning of your document) or “End” (to go to the end).
Go to previous or next window (Page Up / Page Down):
If you want to navigate up and down your document, but not go too far, this is good to use. The downside, however, is that just how far a “page” is varies depending on how zoomed in you are: the way to more predictably navigate a document? Use, instead, the function “Control + Page Up / Down.” Read on!
Go to top of previous or next page (Ctrl + Page Up / Page Down):
In our minds, this is what “page up” and “page down” should do in the first place. If you hold down “Control” and “Page Up” or “Page Down,” you’ll navigate to the top of the previous or next page. This way, you’ll always know how many pages you’re navigating through and where you’ll end up on the page.
Go to top or bottom of current window (Ctrl + Alt + Page Up / Page Down):
Perhaps one of the most underutilized navigation shortcuts, holding “Control” and “Alt” down, and pressing either “Page Up” or “Page Down” brings your cursor to either the top or bottom of your current window.
Go to most recent edit (Shift + F5):
This incredibly-useful-yet-hugely-underutilized shortcut is one of our favorites. If you’re working on one part of a document, then have to navigate to an entirely different section for some reason, simply press “Shift” and “F5.” This will bring you back to the previous place where you were working.
Move paragraph up or down (Alt + Shift + Up / Down Arrow Keys):
Great for editing! This shortcut will move your entire paragraph up or down in the document. No highlighting needed — it automatically detects and selects the paragraph your cursor is currently located in.
Select text vertically (Hold Alt + drag mouse):
As useful as this one is for tables in Microsoft Word, it’s even more useful for PDF files (particularly when text recognition is needed). Just hold the “Alt” button down and drag your cursor — you’ll see that Word selects the text vertically. Try this one out to see how it works!
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This post was written by the team at LawCuts — a productivity solution for lawyers. The LawCuts software allows legal professionals to enter legal symbols into any PC application with quick, easy-to-remember shortcuts. In addition, LawCuts includes a Microsoft Word ribbon for inserting common legal symbols. For a 14-day free trial, click here.