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Microsoft Word Fundamentals for Efficient Lawyers and Law Students

This guide provides tips and links to tutorials for key tasks in Word that lawyers and law students undertake daily.

Modifying the Quick Access Toolbar

The Quick Access Toolbar is aptly named: it appears at the top of your Word screen, and it allows you to quickly access common tasks without having to navigate the Ribbon below.  Word presets the Quick Access Toolbar with a handful of command buttons for common tasks, but you can also add to it command buttons for other common tasks that you frequently use, such as “Save As,” “Add Page Numbers,” or “Track Changes.”  Modifying the Quick Access Toolbar to your common tasks will allow you to more efficiently and effectively draft your documents.



The process of modifying the Quick Access Toolbar is the same for Word for Windows and Word for Mac.  View the Tutorial.

Pro Tip: Organize the commands on your Quick Access Toolbar so that you can easily find the command you are looking for. If you have already added the commands, view this Tutorial to reorganize those commands.. For other options regarding your Quick Access Toolbar's appearance, view this Tutorial, which includes a video.

Shortcut Keys

Shortcut Keys allow you to perform tasks efficiently because you do not have to move back and forth between your keyboard and your mouse, nor do you have to search for your task in the Quick Access Toolbar or Ribbon.  You should memorize the shortcut keys for the tasks that you most commonly perform.



Word for Windows

Word for Mac

     New Document

Ctrl + N

Command + N


Ctrl + O

Command + O


Ctrl + W

Command + W


Ctrl + S

Command + S


Ctrl + P

Command + P


Ctrl + Z

Command + Z


Ctrl + Y

Command + Y


Ctrl + C

Command + C


Ctrl + X

Command + X


Ctrl + V

Command + V


Ctrl + F

Command + F

     Select All

Ctrl + A

Command + A


Ctrl + B

Command + B


Ctrl + I

Command + I


Ctrl + U

Command + U

     Center Text

Ctrl + E

Command + E

     Left Align Text

Ctrl + L

Command + L

     Right Align Text

Ctrl + R

Command + R


Pro Tip #1The "find" shortcut key works in most computing environments.  For example, you can use the "find" shortcut key in Westlaw and Lexis to find particular words within your research result. This same shortcut key will also allow you to find particular words on the screen while you are using your internet browser of choice, including Chrome and Safari. 


Pro Tip #2: Use shortcut keys along with shortcuts to select text to maximize your efficiency.  For example, in both Word for Windows and Word for Mac, you can select a single word simply by double clicking on it.  Once you’ve selected your text, you can easily apply the necessary shortcut key to complete your task, such as copying the text or cutting it.  To read about other shortcut methods to select text, including whole sentences and lines, visit this Tutorial.