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Excerpt for Microsoft Word from the keyboard by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Smashwords Edition

Microsoft Word from the keyboard, a guide from Visimpscot

By Visimpscot (http://tinyurl.com/visimpscot) Published by Pointsize Press at Smashwords 2018 Published under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/.

Other titles by Visimpscot:

  • LibreOffice / OpenOffice Writer from the keyboard

  • LibreOffice / OpenOffice Calc from the keyboard

  • MS Excel from the keyboard

  • NVDA digital skills

Contents

Introduction

Different keyboards

For tutors

MS Word some history

Target audience group

Conventions

Suggested approaches for effective learning with this guide

The aims of this guide

Keyboard access in general

How to start MS Word

Speech-friendly MS Word adjustments

Typing and Moving Around on the MS Word document screen

Pen-picture of the basic MS Word screen

Getting started

Using diaeretics and accents

Moving around a document on the MS Word screen

The cursor insertion point and mouse pointer

Spell-checking your work and using the custom dictionary

Multiple open documents

Non-breaking hyphens and spaces

Opening and saving files

The library folders

Recently opened files

Essentials of the MS Windows open / save dialog

Saving A Worksheet to the ’Documents folder or a flash drive step by step

Opening an already created file step by step

Shortcuts available in the save and open file dialog Boxes

Shutting MS Word down

Highlighting/selecting text and objects

The generic Windows method of selecting

MS Word’s own way of selecting text

Text attributes

Manually moving from one page to another

The Find feature

The Find and Replace feature

The Goto feature

Cut, Copy and Paste with the Windows and MS Office Clipboards

The traditional MS Windows Clipboard

The MS Office multiple Clipboard

Headers and Footers

MS Office help system

MS Office help keyboard shortcuts

Page layout and page size

Changing font settings

Specifying the font size

Changing the font face

Changing font settings for all future documents

Printing

Printing ranges of pages

Printing options: draft, background and comments printing

The bookmark feature

Line spacing

Sorting text

Changing case

Formatting

AutoFormatting

Dividing lines

Asterisks/bullets

Ordinal number and fraction formatting

Quick table creation

Reuse and distribute parts of a document

Create a reusable content building block

Find and use a building block

Rename a building block

AutoCorrect

Add a text entry to the AutoCorrect list

Columns

Setting out text in columns

Tables

Creating, formatting, using formulae in and entering text in tables

Table navigation shortcut keystrokes

Selecting table components

Default table characteristics

Creating a table and moving around in it

Inserting formatting attributes into a table’s text

Inserting blank columns and rows into a table and deleting columns and rows

Sorting text in tables

Paragraph formatting

Word count

Customising MS Word

Creating your own keyboard shortcuts or changing existing shortcuts

Modifying MS Word’s options

Templates

The Normal.dot Template

Bulleted and numbered lists

Inserting the current date and / or the time into a document

Mail Merge

Footnotes and endnotes

Styles

Creating and using hierarchical heading styles

Using MS Word’s own ‘Styles’

Modifying MS Windows ‘Styles’

Inserting hyperlinks into a document

MS Word macros

Password protecting documents

List of MS Word hotkeys

MS Word ribbon interface hotkeys

Screenreader hotkeys for MS Word







Introduction

This guide was inspired in 2016 by another one on using Microsoft Word from the keyboard that was written by John Wilson in 2006, after ten years it was in serious need of updating. The world is full of guides and tutorials to using MS Word and hardly needs any more… but very few of them pay much attention to using MS Word relying on the keyboard, rather than a computer mouse or some other pointing device.

This guide has been written by Visimpscot (http://tinyurl.com/visimpscot), we are based in the East of Scotland but have also worked in Asia, East Africa and the Pacific. Concentrating on delivering quality IT training, we specalise in helping the ‘not for profit sector’ and users with sensory, physical or cognitive impairments. You can contact us by emailing visimpscot@live.co.uk .


If you spot any errors that have slipped through editing and proof reading, please let us know and we will do our best to correct them.


This guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/. Basically it means that you can freely use or adapt this material so long as Visimpscot is acknowledged and that any resulting product uses the same license. If you do use or adapt this guide please let us know because shared ideas are better ideas. If you want to produce translations into other languages that would be great.


There are times when it is suggested that certain tasks are best carried out with sighted assistance, it is not that it is impossible to do them without but because it really will be easier.


The guide is free but if you use it and want to make a donation please go to the NVDA screen reader web page (http://www.nvaccess.org/) and make a donation to support them.

Different keyboards

This guide assumes that you are using a standard layout desktop or laptop ‘qwerty’ keyboard. Some small keyboards on notepad computers or large keyboards for users with visual or motor control impairments may not have all of the keys mentioned. There may be ways around this problem by remapping the keyboard but that is not a task for the inexperienced.

For tutors

There are many tutorials, guides and books to using MS Office programs (Access, Excel, Powerpoint, Word) that cover features this guide does not, or only gives short treatment to. One web based resource that provides a large number of well structured free tutorials is the Goodwill Community Foundation (http://www.gcflearnfree.org/topics).

If you study this guide and practise with the examples then what you need to do to customise learning material such as the Goodwill Community Foundation tutorials for keyboard only access will become apparent.

MS Word some history

Before Microsoft Office 2007 the popular MS Office programs MS Excel and MS Word used a menu based interface supplemented by visual tool bars, accessing the menus with the keyboard. From Office 2007 onwards MS Word and MS Excel have used a tabbed ribbon interface.

MS Word is a powerful and widely available program and many MS Windows screen reading programs have keyboard commands that are specifically designed for it. MS Word has a great many features that most users, most of the time will never need, and Microsoft expands the number of them with every new release of MS Office, this guide does not attempt to cover most of these features. You should also be aware that most of these features in MS Word are not used by professionals either… professional indexers do not use the MS Word indexing features, professional graphic designers do not use the MS Word graphic design features and professional web designers do not use the MS Word export as HTML option.

Target audience group

The guide has been written for visually impaired computer users and their tutors, using MS Word with keyboard access methods and no mouse or other pointing device. The guide assumes a basic understanding of the MS Windows operating system and your particular screen readers’ general keyboard commands.

The guide was not written to be used with any particular screen reader program but is intended for users of MS Word 2007 or later. It is not uncommon for screen reading programs to have extra commands specifically for use with MS Word, you should also study the guides manuals for your screen reader program and get to know the main hotkeys, although a list of many of them for JAWS, HAL, NVDA and Window-Eyes screen readers is given in section five of the guide.

Conventions

The terms ‘hotkey’ and ‘keyboard shortcut’ are used interchangeably.

All keystrokes are formatted like this. In this guide all individual keys and combinations of keys you have to press during a procedure are in capital letters so that they stand out e.g. to bring up the Open dialog box press CONTROL + O.


ALT + F AND A Means hold down the left ALT key and whilst still holding it down press the letter F, then release both and then press the letter A.


CONTROL + S Means hold down the CONTROL key and whilst keeping it held down press the letter S and then release both.


SHIFT + END means hold down the SHIFT key and whilst keeping it held down press the END key.

ALT + E,C, and press ENTER means hold down the left ALT key and whilst keeping it held down press the letter E key, release both and then press the letter C key followed by the ENTER key.


If, in a menu, your screen reader announces an arrow or says something like submenu, this means that pressing ENTER or right ARROW on this menu item will take you into a sub-menu where you can arrow up and down and make a choice.


If your screen reader announces a row of three dots or says something like dialog, you will open up a dialog box to work in if you press ENTER on it.


Some of the keyboard access methods make extensive use of the TAB key and the up, down, left and right arrow keys, at times ‘tabbing’ and ‘arrowing’ are used as verbs, apologies to English language purists.

Suggested approaches for effective learning with this guide

It is up to the individual how they work through this guide, but a few suggestions might assist the learner who is relatively new to computers. Read through the whole of a section before attempting to practise it to get an overview of what is being done.

A number of approaches can be taken to reading the guide and simultaneously carrying out the instructions. You can try one of these methods:

  • Ideally, if you have two computers (physical or one physical and one virtual), you can load the guide into a web browser on one PC and have MS Word running on the other. You can then listen to the guide on one computer whilst practising the procedures on the other.

  • If you only have the one computer, open the guide into in a web browser for reading and then launch MS Word. You would have to keep cycling between each running program by pressing ALT + TAB.

  • Another approach might be to record a screen reader reading the contents of a section or sub-section as an audio file. You could then play the file back and follow the instructions on your PC without having to keep moving from one program to another.

  • Other options would be to print out a copy of the guide in large print if you can use this and work from the hard copy, or get your local library or resource centre (if there is one) to produce a Braille version for you to work from if you are a Braillist.

The aims of this guide

This is not a comprehensive guide to using MS Word but after working through it learners will be equipped to follow other guides or courses on MS Word (of which there are many) with little adaptation needed.

The guide aims to take a learner new to MS Word through the beginner’s level concepts and practical stages of MS Word from the keyboard or to help an experienced computer user unused to relying on keyboard commands.

If the guide does not meet your particular needs the Creative Commons License means that you are free to adapt it, so long as the source is acknowledged and any derivative work uses the same license.


Unless you are an experienced computer and screen reader user work through the guide systematically, as the sections build on one another and jumping straight to a middle or end of a section may not make sense if you have not read and practised earlier sections. Experienced computer users may not need to spend much time on basic concepts.

Keyboard access in general

This is not specific to MS Word but should work in any well designed program.

Most computer programs have some ‘hotkeys’ / ‘keyboard shortcuts’ to access commands quickly and easily, an example would be CONTROL N for create a new file. many of these are general hotkeys that will work whenever the program is open, others will only work after a specific group of controls (such as a menu or ribbon tab) has been activated.


In tandem with ‘hotkeys’, you can use most visual program interfaces (or should be able to if the program designers have done their job properly) with keystrokes.

  • Only one control can ‘have focus’… be the active control at a time. In a group of controls, such as a program menu pressing the TAB key will move the focus forward through the controls in a set order, SHIFT TAB will move the focus backwards through the controls.

  • Pressing the up or down ARROW keys generally has the same effect as TAB and SHIFT TAB while pressing the left or right ARROW keys will move the focus into a submenu.

  • For button controls, when they have focus, pressing ENTER is the equivalent of clicking on the button with a computer mouse

  • For check box controls, when they have focus, pressing SPACEBAR will check or uncheck the control depending on its’ current state.

  • For tabbed controls, when they have focus, pressing CONTROL PAGE down will move to the next tab, pressing CONTROL PAGE up will move to the previous tab.

  • For radio button controls, when they have focus, pressing SPACEBAR will select or clear the control

How to start MS Word

You can start MS Word a number of different ways, two of them are:

Press Windows key, then arrow down (until you reach ‘All Programs’), arrow down to ‘MS Office’, press ENTER, and it will start up. This is a long way to start MS Word and there will probably be quicker options on your computer but it will work on any MS Windows computer you come across, except those running MS Windows 8 but even then it can easily be modified to give it the features that it lacks (there is a free program called Classic Shell that will do this and it can be downloaded from www.classicshell.net)




Using a quick launch icon on the desktop by:

Press Windows key + M or Windows key + D to reach the Desktop, then press TAB, or SHIFT + TAB until you reach the MS Word shortcut and press ENTER to start it.


This method assumes there is a shortcut on your Desktop to launch MS Word from. If not, one can be created but it may be easiest to get sighted assistance for this.

Speech-friendly MS Word adjustments

Always maximise your document Windows, with ALT + SPACEBAR + X, if they are not already maximised. CONTROL + F10 also toggles the Window size between maximised and normal Window size.

MS Word configuration changes:

People with some useful vision may want to increase the zoom level in MS Word. In the ‘View tab’, go to ‘Zoom’ (ALT + W,Q) and press ENTER. Then press TAB or SHIFT + TAB to move through the available controls. There are some preset zoom levels you can select by pressing SPACEBAR (they are radio button controls) or tab to the ‘Percent’ spin box where you can type the zoom percentage that you want. Press ENTER to apply your changes.

There are a lot of options in MS Word that you can change by pressing ALT + F (the Office Button) , tabbing or arrowing to the ‘Word Options’ button and pressing ENTER. Altering these options is one of those jobs best carried out with sighted assistance. In general it is best to stick with the default settings unless you have a good reason not to.


You can change the MS Word keyboard shortcuts, or create your own, it will certainly be worth creating shortcuts to commonly used MS Windows ‘Styles’

Typing and Moving Around on the MS Word document screen

Pen-picture of the basic MS Word screen

After MS Word starts you will be on an empty document screen ready to start typing, this document is given the default filename ‘Document 1’ by MS Word. This filename will stay until you save the document with your choice of filename.



In the MS Word screen, there are four main areas, working down from the top:

  • First, there is the ‘Title Bar’ at the top with the words ‘MS Word Document 1’, or another filename you may have given the document on the screen.

  • Second, underneath the ‘Title Bar’, comes the ‘Ribbon menu tabs’ with menus such as File, Edit, View, etc (you can get to these individual menus by pressing the ALT + key and arrowing right and left). which holds buttons for mouse users to click on to quickly carry out commands but this method is usually slower than using shortcuts for visually impaired people. there may also be other rows of toolbars just under the main toolbar if you have turned any of them on, e.g. the drawing toolbar, the Forms toolbar, etc.

  • Third, there is most of the screen down to the bottom, this is the typing area that displays the active document.

  • Last, comes the bottom line, the ‘Status Line’, that shows information such as which page number you are on, what line and column of a document you are currently at.

Getting started

Experienced computer users may be tempted to skip this section but they should at least glance through it.

If you make a mistake whilst typing, press the BACKSPACE key to remove a mistyped letter or, place the cursor over the offending letter and get the same result by pressing the DELETE key.


To delete whole words at a time, place the cursor on the first letter of the word and hold down the CONTROL key and press the DELETE key.


Continuing to press the DELETE key whilst holding the CONTROL key down deletes successive words to the right of the first word you deleted together and the space which follows each deleted word. To delete words to the left, place the cursor on the space immediately after the first word you want to delete and press CONTROL + BACKSPACE for every word you want to delete.


To take a new line without waiting for the automatic line end word wrap to occur, hold down the SHIFT + key and press the ENTER key, e.g. press SHIFT + ENTER followed by ENTER again to create a new paragraph with a blank line and just get one paragraph code inserted at this point or press SHIFT + ENTER once to start the next line of an address with no paragraph marker being inserted.


You can achieve the same new paragraph results by pressing SHIFT + ENTER twice instead of doing it with just the ENTER key. However, not using the SHIFT key with the ENTER key when you want a new line and not a new paragraph can cause problems. If you are using the CONTROL, CONTROL + SHIFT or up or down ARROW keys to move between paragraphs in a document or to select one or more paragraphs quickly, this will not work properly because there will be too many paragraph markers at the ends and beginnings of lines (see Section Five for a full list of movement and selecting hotkey combinations).

So, press only the ENTER key if you want a paragraph marker/code inserted every time you press it. Press SHIFT + ENTER if you want a new line with no paragraph marker inserted. Press SHIFT + ENTER followed by ENTER if you want to start a new paragraph leaving a blank line between paragraph blocks and you will get one paragraph marker at the beginning of the new paragraph.


To insert a new word in your current document, place the cursor on top of the first letter of the word that will appear after the inserted word and type in the new word followed by a space. You will not be typing over the word you placed the cursor on, the words to the right of the new word you are inserting are moved further to the right making room for the new word.


You can get one block of selected/selected text replaced by another block of text:

  • Select a whole sentence in one part of a document

  • Copy or cut it to the Clipboard with CONTROL + C or X

  • Go to where you want a sentence replaced by the copied or cut sentence,

  • Select the sentence to be replaced and press CONTROL + V.

The unwanted sentence will disappear and the new sentence will appear in its place. There is more about selecting/selecting later.

Note: If you are using Window-Eyes and moving around the screen with the arrow keys does not seem to be reading the screen text correctly, you may have to use the Window-Eyes redraw screen command to hear the screen contents correctly. The WE redraw screen hotkey is INSERT + BACKSLASH.

Using diaeretics and accents

Unless you have a particular use for it, you can skip this section, come back to it later when you need it.

If you need to type some symbol which is not on your keyboard, there are several ways you can generate such a symbol. For example, If you are a JAWS user and can see enough to visually identify symbols like accents, circumflexes, euro signs and umlauts, you can use the JAWS hotkey INSERT + 4 (on the full keyboard) to be able to arrow through a list of symbols and press ENTER on one of them to insert it into your document at the cursor point.


Alternatively, you can press ALT + I (for Insert) and then S (for Symbol) to enter a list of many symbols to get inserted into your text, if you can see to choose the one you want or if your screen reader can speak them to you. In other instances there are shortcut keys to generate single symbols, for example:


To insert a euro sign: Hold the ALT-C the CONTROL key down and press the number 4 on the full keyboard.


To insert an acute: Hold down CONTROL and press the apostrophe and release both, then type the letter which requires the accent mark, e.g. on both of the E’s of resume, so that they gain small acute marks over them.


You can achieve this same result by pressing ALT + CONTROL + E at the point where you want the accented E to appear.


To insert a circumflex: Hold down CONTROL and SHIFT and press the number 6 key, then release them and type the required letter, e.g. on the first a of chateaux, which creates a small inverted V shape over the A. Holding down ALT + CONTROL and pressing the A key also works in this instance.


To insert a grave: Hold down CONTROL and then press the GRAVE key, release both, then type the letter requiring the grave on it. To insert an umlaut: Hold down CONTROL and SHIFT keys and press the COLON, release them, then type the letter which requires the accent, which will place two small dots above the letter.


To insert an upside down question mark as used in some Spanish sentences: Hold down ALT + CONTROL + SHIFT and press the question QUESTION MARK key.


To insert an upside down exclamation mark as used in Spanish sentences: Hold down ALT + CONTROL + SHIFT and press the EXCLAMATION MARK key.


To create an AO diphthong: Hold down CONTROL and SHIFT and press the number 7 key and release them, then press SHIFT + A.


To create a OE diphthong: Hold down CONTROL + SHIFT + 7, release them, then press O, e.g. as with the OE in the word onomatopoeia.


You can also generate all of the accents and accented letters with their ASCII codes. Turn on your Numpad key on, hold down the ALT key and type on the Numpad any number greater than 128 to see what can be generated, e.g.

  • Hold down ALT and use the Numpad to enter 128 and press SPACEBAR or ENTER, this will generate a cedilla,

  • 129 will produce the letter U with the umlaut sign,

  • 130 to get an E acute

Try the other three digit combinations to find out what else is available.

Moving around a document on the MS Word screen

To hear what you have typed line by line and view any blank lines, etc, press your up and down arrow keys. If the document is several pages long, press the PAGE UP or PAGE DOWN keys to move a page at a time , then read a line at a time with the arrow keys or your screen reader’s read document or say all command, e.g. Numpad plus with HAL, INSERT + down ARROW with JAWS, CONTROL + SHIFT + R with Window-Eyes. Window-Eyes 5 also has a read document area displayed on screen command, the hotkey is CONTROL + SHIFT + D.


To move a letter at a time, press the right or left arrow keys.


You can move a word at a time by holding down the CONTROL key and pressing your left or right ARROW key.


To move a paragraph at a time hold down the CONTROL key and press the up or down ARROW key.


To go to the beginning of a document, press CONTROL + HOME key, pressing CONTROL + END key takes you to the end of a document (the HOME and END keys are on the block of keys just above the arrow keys and on the Number Pad).


Pressing the HOME key by itself takes you to the beginning of the current line and pressing END takes you to the end of the line.


Your screen reader may have a hotkey that tells you where you are in a document in terms of the row and column the cursor is currently in or in ruler measurements, e.g. press INSERT + DELETE in JAWS, the Numpad DELETE key in HAL 5 or CONTROL + Numpad plus* in Window-Eyes 5.

The cursor insertion point and mouse pointer

When typing and reading through a document, you have been moving around the MS Word document screen with the ‘Cursor’, MS Windows programs also have a second pointer, known as the ‘mouse’ pointer. The cursor follows what you are typing and where you are moving on the document screen, it can change shape and general appearance, depending on the situation, for example it may be a flashing bar (so that you can tell easily where it is), an insertion point (an ‘I-beam’ waiting for you to type something) or an hour glass (signifying the need to wait while MS Word completes an action).

Most work in MS Word is done with the cursor pointer that moves with you as you type or review documents, keeping track of where you are, informing you of what you are arrowing past or about to delete or select, etc. The cursor pointer is only present in the MS Word document editing screen.


The mouse pointer moves independently of the cursor pointer and is shaped like an arrowhead. It is usually controlled by the computer mouse or laptop tracker pad. The mouse pointer can go anywhere on the screen, not only in the MS Word document typing area. The size and shape of the mouse pointer can be changed and this may be good for people with some useful sight. This is a task best undertaken with sighted assistance. If you left click with the mouse pointer at a given place in a document, the cursor will normally move to that position.


Your screen reader program will have a means of navigation (usually via the Number Pad) that lets you move the mouse pointer around the whole area of the monitor screen and lets you simulate left and right mouse clicks.


For instance, JAWS has its JAWS cursor mode for manipulating the mouse cursor, Window-Eyes has its mouse pointer mode and HAL uses its navigation or virtual cursor mode for this. You invoke the JAWS cursor by pressing the Numpad minus key and return to normal live mode with a press of Numpad plus. You get into HAL’s Navigation mode by pressing Numpad minus and Numpad plus returns to normal live mode. You activate and deactivate the Window-Eyes mouse and WE cursor modes by pressing Numpad minus.


Experiment, see how far you can travel with the cursor pointer in a small document on screen and then change to your screen reader’s mouse mode to view the extended area of the screen you now get access to, what a sighted person can see all of the time.

Spell-checking your work and using the custom dictionary

How much information you get while spell-checking depends on which screen reader you use. If your screen reader does not automatically tell you which word is wrongly spelled and read out the suggested replacements, try and configure it to read out any colour change which occurs in edit fields, as MS Word selects what it believes to be the misspelled word in a different colour from the rest of the text on screen (usually in red). You will then be able to identify the offending word.

Spell-checking To spell-check a document:

  1. With a letter, report, memo, etc., on screen, press F7 to invoke the spell-checker. The spell-checker will stop on the first word it believes to be wrongly spelled. This should be spoken automatically by your screen reader, if it is not, use any hotkey that your screen reader has to do this, e.g. INSERT + W with Window-Eyes 4.5 and later.

  2. Press the TAB key once to move to the list of suggested word replacements that are offered. If there is more than one suggested replacement, you can arrow down them and leave the focus on the replacement you want.

  3. Now tab to ‘Change’ and press ENTER or press the shortcut hotkey ALT + C. The spell-checker makes the specified change then moves onto the next word in the document that MS Word thinks is spelled wrongly. Remember if you make a mistake pressing CONTROL + Z will undo the replacement

  4. If MS Word has no suggested replacements for a wrongly spelled word, when you press TAB to the replacement list, you can press SHIFT + TAB then backspace out the misspelt word out, type it in spelt correctly and press ALT + C to change the misspelt word to the correctly spelled one.



In the spell-checker dialog box you can use several hotkeys:

If a double word is found, press ALT + D to delete one of the instances of that word. Press ALT + C to change a word to the first suggestion in the replacement list. Use ALT + L to change all instances of the word in the current document to the first suggestion in the replacement list. Press *ALT + I to ignore the first instance of the spell-checker’s suggestion that a word may be spelled wrongly.


Use ALT + G to ignore all instances of a word possibly being spelled wrongly if you know it is spelled correctly–the spell- checker does not know every word in the English language and will stop on many nouns such as place and people’s names. Press *ALT + A to add the word to the custom dictionary if you know it is spelled correctly, so that MS Word will not stop on it in future.


Use ALT + Z to undo (return to how it was) any change you have just made and now realise you did not want to make. Press ALT + R to add the spelling mistake and its correction to the ‘AutoCorrect’ list of corrections so that, in future, MS Word will automatically correct such words it finds wrongly spelled for you. Useful if you often make certain spelling mistakes.


Remember, your screen reader may have a read mis-spelled word and replacement suggestions in document hotkey, e.g. INSERT + F8 in JAWS and CONTROL + SHIFT + Numpad 4 in HAL 6. It may also feature a list mis-spelled words in document hotkey, e.g. SHIFT + CAPSLOCK + 8 in HAL 6.


Note: MS Word spell-checking dialog box has a ‘Check Grammar’ checkbox that can turn this feature off if you do not want it. The dialog also has an ‘Options’ button which lets you quickly enter the ‘Spelling/Grammar’ property sheet to make other changes.


Your screen reader may have a hotkey allowing you to correct spelling or grammar mistakes on the fly as the mistakes are found, e.g. with Window-Eyes 5.0 or later, press SHIFT + F10 to bring up a Context Menu with a selection of options for the current mistake, including an ability to count how many spelling or grammar errors you have made.


Note 1: JAWS has a hotkey to list words marked as mis-spelled, which is ALT + SHIFT + L.

Note 2: If you need to spell-check part of a document, such as an additional paragraph you have inserted after creating and spell-checking the original document, select that part of the document and press F7 to start the part document checking (how to select is covered in a later section).

Note 3: If you are using HAL 6.0 and HAL reads the whole line where the wrongly spelled word is and fails to read the specific wrongly spelled word, you can download an updated map file which corrects this from the Dolphin Website at: www.dolphinuk.co.uk or you can phone them for a copy.

Multiple open documents

You can have as many documents open in MS Word as you like. When you first load MS Word it opens with Document 1’ on screen (a blank document at this stage). To create another blank document press CONTROL + N, when the MS Word ‘Title Bar’ will display ‘Document 2’. After saving ‘Document 1’ and ‘Document 2’ their names will change to the filename(s) you give them. To open a third document (‘Document 3’) press *CONTROL + N again.

To cycle through these three open documents press CONTROL + F6 and your screen reader should announce the title (filename) of the document you have moved to. To close one of the open documents, press CONTROL + F4. If you close all of the documents on screen, you cannot just start typing on the blank screen. You need to open a new document first by pressing CONTROL + N.

Non-breaking hyphens and spaces

When you want two or more words to remain together on the same line instead of risking them being separated one on the end of one line and the other at the beginning of the next line, you ‘glue’ them together. For example, instead of typing ‘John Wilson’ as normal, you should type ‘John’, then hold CONTROL + SHIFT + down ARROW, press the SPACEBAR and then type the ‘Wilson’. Similarly, press CONTROL + SHIFT* and the hyphen to obtain a non- breaking hyphen in such as the word ‘non-conformist’ so that each part of the hyphenated word does not risk getting split onto two lines.

Opening and saving files

If you are already familiar with opening and saving files you should still review this section, even if you do not need to spend long on it.

Many people, if they have a visual impairment or not take a while to grasp the concept of files and folders, besides the intricacies of drive letters, drive mappings and expanded or unexpanded tree views. These concepts can be introduced in different ways but one of the best is to keep things as simple as possible, some learners may never need to know any more, others can build on their existing knowledge when they need to.

The library folders

MS Windows provides you with a set of library folders ‘Documents’, ‘Music’, ‘Pictures’ and ‘Videos’ on the hard disk of the computer. Unless there is a very good reason not to (perhaps you are using a public access computer in a library or cyber cafe), using them will make your life a lot easier. All of your MS Excel work should be saved in the ‘Documents’ folder.

It may not be possible to follow this advice if you are using a shared public access computer, in this case you might have to use a removable flash drive instead.

Recently opened files

Pressing ALT + F (opens the Office Button) and ‘right ARROW’ will take you to a list of files that MS Word has opened recently, that you can arrow through, if you have opened the file that you want recently it should be in this list, if not then you are out of luck.

Essentials of the MS Windows open / save dialog

The MS Windows open file and save dialogues are almost the same.

The MS Windows open file dialog

From any program you can launch the file open dialog by pressing CONTROL O and close it pressing ESCAPE.



The MS Windows open dialog has a lot of controls and pressing the TAB key will move through them in order, pressing TAB + SHIFT moves through them in reverse order.


1. The filename edit field, announced as file name, when you launch the dialog this will be the active control

2. Announced as files of type, this control filters the file types that are displayed. For example when it is set to 'All Files' everything will be displayed, if it is set to 'All Word Files' only MS Word files will be displayed

3. Tools

4. Announced as open button

5. Announced as cancel button

6. The address bar, announced as address

7. Announced as search box

8. Announced as command module tool bar

9. The navigation pane, announced as namespace tree (the navigation pane will be missing if it has been turned off)

10. The items view pane, announced as items view list

11. The details pane, announced as namespace tree (the details pane will be missing if it has been turned off)

12. The preview pane, announced as namespace tree (the preview pane will be missing if it has been turned off)

A beginner does not need to use most of these controls. The essential controls are:

  • The filename edit field, announced as file name, when you launch the dialog this will be the active control. This control displays the name of the file that you want to open.

  • The address bar, announced as address. This control displays the name of the folder whose contents is currently being displayed in the items view pane. As well as reaching it by pressing TAB or SHIFT TAB, pressing F4 will jump to it from any control in the open file dialog

  • The navigation pane, announced as namespace tree (the navigation pane will be missing if it has been turned off). When you are in this control pressing the down or up ARROW keys will move through a list. Understanding this list is not essential to opening your MS Excel work files if you have saved them in the ‘Documents’ folder, or on a removable flash drive. As you arrow through this list ‘Documents’ will be an item in it, if you are using a removable flash drive that will be an item in the list too (exactly what it is called will depend on the particular flash drive that you are using, discovering this might need sighted assistance). When ‘Documents’ or your flash drive is selected press ENTER, this will display the contents in the items view pane

  • The items view pane displays the contents of what has been selected in the navigation pane, the list can be moved through with the down and up ARROW keys, if the item selected is a file pressing ENTER will open it, if the item is a folder inside ‘Documents’ or the flash drive then pressing ENTER will display the contents in the item view panel

The MS Windows save file dialog

From any program you the file save dialog by pressing CONTROL S and close it by pressing ESCAPE.

The MS Windows save dialog has a lot of controls and pressing the TAB key will move through them in order, pressing TAB + SHIFT moves through them in reverse order.


1. The filename edit field, announced as file name, when you launch the dialog this will be the active control and contain a filename such as 'Book 1' that has been generated automatically

2. 'Save As type' edit field, this sets the file format, by default it will be 'Excel Workbook' do not change this unless you understand the intricate details of file formats.

3. Authors

4.Tags

5. Save thumbnail

6. Hide folders

7. Tools

4. Announced as save button

5. Announced as cancel button

6. The address bar, announced as address

7. Announced as search box

8. Announced as command module tool bar

9. The navigation pane, announced as namespace tree (the navigation pane will be missing if it has been turned off)

10. The items view pane, announced as items view list

11. The details pane, announced as namespace tree (the details pane will be missing if it has been turned off)

12. The preview pane, announced as namespace tree (the preview pane will be missing if it has been turned off)

A beginner does not need to use most of these controls. The essential controls are:

  • The filename edit field, announced as file name, when you launch the dialog this will be the active control. This control displays the name of the file that you want to save. When you start to type in this control your typing will replace the automatically generated file name

  • The address bar, announced as address. This control displays the name of the folder whose contents is currently being displayed in the items view pane. As well as reaching it by pressing TAB or SHIFT + TAB, pressing F4 will jump to it from any control in the save file dialog

  • The navigation pane, announced as namespace tree (the navigation pane will be missing if it has been turned off). When you are in this control pressing the down or up ARROW keys will move through a list. Understanding this list is not essential to saving your MS Word work files if you have saved them in the ‘Documents’ folder, or on a removable flash drive. As you arrow through this list ‘Documents’ will be an item in it, if you are using a removable flash drive that will be an item in the list too (exactly what it is called will depend on the particular flash drive that you are using, discovering this might need sighted assistance). When ‘Documents’ or your flash drive is selected press ENTER, this will display the contents in the items view pane

  • The items view pane displays the contents of what has been selected in the navigation pane, the list can be moved through with the down and up ARROW keys, if the item selected is a folder inside ‘Documents’ or the flash drive then pressing ENTER will display the contents in the item view panel. If nothing in the item view panel is selected then pressing ENTER will save the file in the folder displayed there.

Saving A Worksheet to the ’Documents folder or a flash drive step by step

The sections describing the save and open file dialogs were quite long, it may be easier to understand with a step by step example.

  1. Press CONTROL + S or SHIFT + F12 to open the Save dialog box.

  2. MS word will give the document a filename of its own, e.g. ‘document1.docx’. You can overwrite this with a name of your choice by typing over it with for example ‘exercise1’. MS Word will automatically give it an ‘.docx’ filename extension for you.

  3. TAB to the address bar, or press F4, the address bar will display where the file will be saved. This will normally be to your ‘Documents’ folder or it might be the last used location that was used.

  4. If the address bar is displaying ‘Documents’ (or the name of your flash drive) then things are fine, press ENTER to complete the save command.

  5. If the address bar is not displaying ‘documents’ (or the name of your flash drive) TAB to the navigation pane, arrow down to ‘Documents’ (or the name of your flash drive), press ENTER, TAB to the save button and press ENTER to complete the save command.

  6. You can now start to create another document if you want to, by pressing CONTROL + N.

Note 1: After saving the default filenames of ‘document1.docx’, ‘document2.docx’, etc, MS Word gives to documents will change to your chosen filename and be shown in the Title Bar at the top of the screen.

Note 2: After saving your workbook it remains on screen for you to edit or modify as you want. It is a good idea to save a document to a file frequently as you write it in case there is a power or computer failure. You will then be able to recover most of your work after restarting your PC. You can continue to save to the same filename after you have saved it once, by simply pressing CONTROL S every few minutes. If you want to save a second copy to a different filename or a different location, press ALT F and then A* (for Save As) and give it a different filename this time.

Opening an already created file step by step

After creating and saving your workbook you are likely to want to open it again. To open a workbook*:

  1. Press CONTROL + O (for Open).

  2. If you have had the file / workbook open recently the file open dialog box comes up with focus in the filename edit field and pressing the down ARROW or up ARROW will move through a list of recently opened files. If it has not been too long since you last opened the file then it could be in this list, arrow to the file and press ENTER to open it.

  3. If you have had a folder open recently and know that the file / workbook you want to open is in that folder TAB or SHIFT + TAB from the filename edit field to the address bar. Pressing the down ARROW or up ARROW will move through a list of recently opened folders. If it has not been too long since you last opened it the then the folder should be in this list. Arrow to the folder you want and press ENTER to go to this it.



Note: if there appears to be no files in a folder that you know contains MS Word files, it may be because the Files of Type box is set to a different file format. This means MS Word will not be able to see them, although they are there. To fix this, TAB to the Files of Type list and press A for All Files, then SHIFT + TAB back to the files list and all files, of any format, will be displayed.

Shortcuts available in the save and open file dialog Boxes

Press F2: Rename a file or folder. Select File, press F2, type new name, type full stop then file extension and press ENTER.

Press F4: To place focus in Address Bar and automatically opens the drop down menu. Press down ARROW to choose from the drop down list. Press ENTER to open the drive or folder.


Press F6 or TAB: Moves focus through the controls in the dialog, TAB SHIFT does the same in the opposite direction


Press BACKSPACE: Move up one level, up to parent folder or drive


Press ALT + left ARROW: Equivalent to Back in a web browser - move back to previous location or folder.

Press ALT + right ARROW: Equivalent to Forward in a web browser - move to previous location after you have pressed the Back key.


Press ENTER: To open a file or folder


Press WINDOWS key : To activate a shortcut menu of options for the selected file or folder, such as copy, send to, print etc.


Press ALT + ENTER to open the properties of a file or folder

Shutting MS Word down

When you have finished using MS Word and want to shut it down, you press ALT + F, X, or press ALT + F4, or press CONTROL + SPACEBAR followed by C. If you have an unsaved document, MS Word will ask you if you want to save it. If not, press N for no followed by ENTER. If you want to save the document, press Y for yes, type in a filename then press ENTER to save and exit the program.

Highlighting/selecting text and objects

There are two methods you can use to select or select text in MS Word. It is important to understand the reasons for selecting text and to learn the various techniques and keystrokes to achieve this. You must select (also known as selecting) existing text before you can carry out actions on it, like deleting it, moving or copying it elsewhere, emboldening it, having it indented or the font on it changed, etc.

The generic Windows method of selecting

Highlighting or selecting is where you mark a word, string of words, picture object, etc, to perform a command on them, such as to delete them, to copy them elsewhere, to print them, to change the case, etc. You can, use the unique MS Word method to do this selecting or the general Windows way of selecting with the SHIFT key, like this:

Press SHIFT + right or left ARROW to select a single letter to the right or to the left.


Press SHIFT + up or down ARROW to select the line above or the line below.


Press SHIFT + CONTROL + right or left ARROW to select one word to the right or left. Keep pressing the right or left ARROW to continue selecting successive words.


Press SHIFT + END to select from the cursor position to the end of the line.


Press SHIFT + HOME to select from the beginning of the line to the cursor position.


Press SHIFT + CONTROL + up or down ARROW to select one paragraph up or down.


Press SHIFT + CONTROL + PAGE down to select to the top of the next page.


Press SHIFT + CONTROL + PAGE up to select to the top of the previous page.


Press SHIFT + CONTROL + END to select from the cursor position to the end of the document.


Press SHIFT + CONTROL + HOME to select from the cursor position to the beginning of the document.


Press CONTROL + A to select a whole document.


Any of the other cursor movement shortcuts can also be used in conjunction with the SHIFT key to get sections of text selected. If you want to remove the selecting from any block of text, you just press any of the arrow keys once.


If you make a change to a selected block of text and then decide you do not want it, press CONTROL + Z to undo, i.e. put things back to how they were before the change. If, before carrying out a command on a selected block of text, you would like to check that you have selected the correct text, use your screen reader’s say select hotkey to do this, e.g. SHIFT + INSERT + down ARROW with JAWS, SHIFT + ALT + M with WE and Numpad 1 with HAL.


Tip: You can get one block of selected/selected text replaced by another block of text if you paste that second block into where the first block is, when the first block of text will be deleted, e.g. select a whole sentence in one part of a document, copy or cut it to the Clipboard with CONTROL + C or X, then go to where you want a sentence replacing with your copied or cut sentence, select the sentence to be replaced and then press CONTROL + V. The unwanted sentence will disappear and the new sentence will appear in its place.

MS Word’s own way of selecting text

  1. You can use standard Windows selecting procedures with the SHIFT key to select text and other objects, but MS Word also has some of its own selecting features that are activated by pressing F8. This is called extended selection mode. In this case, you will be able to arrow around and select words, lines, paragraphs, etc, but without having to hold down the SHIFT key at the same time. For example:

  • Press F8, release it and then press CONTROL + right ARROW key to select the next word to the right.

  • Pressing F8, then CONTROL + down ARROW selects the line.

  • Pressing F8, then the END key selects from the cursor to the end of the current line.

  • Pressing F8, then CONTROL + END selects from the cursor location to the end of the document.

  • Pressing F8, then CONTROL + PAGE down selects one whole page of a document. Repeated presses of PAGE down selects successive whole pages.

This list is not comprehensive, as all the other standard cursor movement shortcuts in MS Windows will also work in this way and select / select text after pressing F8.

To turn off extended selection mode and remove this type of selecting press ESCAPE followed by the left or right ARROW key, which returns you to the first letter or last letter which was selected respectively.


Your screen reader may have a hotkey that tells you the text you have selected for confirmation, e.g. INSERT + SHIFT + down ARROW in JAWS, Numpad 1 in HAL 5 and CONTROL + SHIFT + M in Window-Eyes.


Another way to use the F8 selection method is to select from one particular point in a multipage document to another several pages further on.


If you wanted to select text from the start of page 2 to the word ‘budget’ halfway down page 73, you would locate the word ‘budget’ on page 73, put a unique marker just to the left of the word budget (say two > signs), go back to the top of page 2, press F8, press the >> sign and everything will be selected to that point.


In other words, pressing F8 lets you then press any alphanumeric key to find the first instance of that letter or symbol (>> in this example) and it will be found and everything between is selected ready for any action you want to perform on it.


Successive presses of F8 also generates selecting:

  • Press F8 twice to select the next word to the right of the cursor position,

  • Press F8 three times selects the whole sentence you are currently in from the previous full stop to the next one

  • Press F8 four times selects the current paragraph

  • Press F8 five times selects the whole document.



As soon as you have the word, line or block of text selected in any of these ways, you can for example:

  • Press the DELETE key to delete it.

  • Press CONTROL + X to cut it (move it from its current position) to the Clipboard for pasting elsewhere with CONTROL + V.

  • Press CONTROL + C to copy it to the Clipboard.

  • Press CONTROL + B to embolden it (make it thicker and darker).

  • Press CONTROL + U to underline it all or CONTROL + SHIFT + W to underline words only, not the spaces between them.

  • Press CONTROL + I to make it italic (lean to the right).

  • Press ALT + O then F and select any font type you want and then press ENTER on ‘OK’ to have it applied to the selected words. (alternatively, press CONTROL + SHIFT + F to enter the font type list.

  • Press CONTROL + SHIFT + P to be able to type a new point size into the edit field you are in. Alternatively, press CONTROL + SHIFT + > (greater than sign) to increase font size and CONTROL + SHIFT + < (less than sign) to decrease it.

  • Press CONTROL + D to open the font dialog box and then ALT + A and ENTER to make the text appear in full capitals. Note you can also, change the ‘Font Colour’ and much else.

  • Press ALT + O, E, and arrow down to change the case of the text, e.g. to ‘Upper Case’, ‘Lower Case’, ‘Title Case’ (all first letters capitalised), etc.


Many screen readers have a hotkey that lets you review MS Word text so that you know the attributes it has, e.g. left CONTROL/SHIFT + Numpad 4 in HAL 4X, CONTROL + Numpad DELETE or INSERT + E in Window-Eyes, INSERT + F in JAWS and Numpad 4 several times in HAL 5.


Some hotkey combinations used by screen reader programs may conflict with MS Word shortcuts, (e.g. CONTROL + SHIFT + P with Window-Eyes) if so you have to use the screen reader’s bypass hotkey, (e.g. INSERT + B in Window-Eyes or CONTROL + 7 in HAL) before the MS Word hotkey for things to work. If you cannot get around the conflict, skip that particular MS Word hotkey and use the MS Word ribbon interface command key strokes to achieve the same result.

Text attributes

  1. The CONTROL key together with other keys toggles on and off certain text attributes, such as CONTROL + U for underlining, CONTROL + I for italic text and CONTROL + B for bold text. You can use these next to one another so a heading can be both underlined and bold, for example.

  2. With existing text you want to have underlined, italicised, etc, first select the text, as shown in part one, e.g. select three words and then press CONTROL + U to underline them.

  3. To centre text use CONTROL + E. To start normal left justified paragraphing after centring you have to press ENTER and then CONTROL + L, to Right align text use CONTROL + R and to fully justify text, making it even at both the left and right margins, use CONTROL + J.



With existing text you can select it and change the alignment with one of the alignment options. Fully justifying text with CONTROL + J makes the lines of text spread out so that the right and left margins are vertically straight and not jagged. Lines of text which would be slightly shorter than others have the spaces between the words made slightly larger to make the margins straight.

Your screen reader may have a hotkey to advise you of the alignment, justification and other text attributes of a document, e.g. INSERT + F in JAWS, CONTROL + Numpad DELETE or INSERT + E in Window-Eyes and SHIFT + Numpad 7 in HAL 5.


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