A few Microsoft Word keyboard shortcuts for legal writing

On the heels of a fairly popular tweet, I thought I’d dig into a few of my favorite Microsoft Word keyboard shortcuts that may be particularly useful for legal wrigin.

Small caps: Ctrl + Shift + K

Most Word users know Ctrl + B (bold), Ctrl + I (italics), and Ctrl + U (underline). But for small caps—those journal titles or book titles—Ctrl + Shift + K can be a real time saver.

Insert footnote: Alt + Ctrl + F

No more raising the mouse to the ribbon, finding References, then Insert Footnote. The Alt then Ctrl function can be a little counterintuitive, but Alt + Ctrl + F inserts a footnote right in place—and moves your cursor down to that newly-created footnote. (If you want to move immediately back to the body of the document, try Shift + F5—this moves you among the last four places your cursor was, so it only works immediately and won’t work the same way if you start typing in the footnote.)

Find & replace: Ctrl + H

I often use “Find” as the somewhat intuitive Ctrl + F, but I often want to replace apostrophes and quotation marks to ensure that whatever I’ve cut and pasted end up as serifs. Ctrl + H allows you jump right to the find and replace function.

En-dash: Ctrl + Minus sign (on numeric keypad)

Em-dash: Alt + Ctrl + Minus sign (on numeric keypad)

Not the best option for a laptop, but a convenient tool if you’re at your desktop. Rather than trying to autocorrect en-dashes and em-dashes, this inserts those symbols immediately.

§: 00A7, then Alt + X

Okay, not a great shortcut…. Word lets you insert any Unicode character by typing that four-digit code, then Alt + X: 00A7 being the section symbol. But other users had better ideas. Professor Leandra Lederman notes that Alt + 21 on the numeric keypad gives you the section symbol. (and Alt + 20 for the paragraph symbol). Several users (and I’m among them) created a keyboard shortcut of Alt + S. (I also created Alt + P for the paragraph symbol.)

Judge Jennifer Perkins added that the non-breaking space is Ctrl + Shift + Space, which is particularly valuable in conjunction with the section symbol to ensure that the number doesn’t break from the section symbol in the event they move from one line to the next in the document.

I’m sure there are others, but these are a few I’ve found most valuable.