Quit Mousing Around!

by Kendall Callas

The home row -- that's where the business of typing takes place. Using the mouse, unfortunately, gets in the way. It is disrupting to take a hand off the keyboard to grab your mouse or trackball, look at the screen to sight the mouse pointer, and then click on-target.

To use WordPerfect faster and with fewer errors, use the mouse less, keystrokes more. (These tips are for all versions of WordPerfect for Windows; much of this material also applies to WordPerfect for DOS.)


Using the mouse pointer to select from menus on-screen is a very simple, almost intuitive, technique. Unfortunately, it's slow.

Better, use the menus by keystroke:

For example, to see your library of existing documents (File,Open), you can hunt and peck with one finger these 3 keystrokes: ALT, F, O. Since each letter stands for a meaningful word, such a series of keystrokes is easy to remember after a few repetitions -- and very fast and accurate.


Instead of pointing and left-clicking to move the cursor, use keystrokes.

Here's a list of the most useful cursor movement keystrokes:

- Ctrl+right arrow - to next word
- Ctrl+left arrow - to previous word
- Ctrl+down arrow - to next paragraph
- Ctrl+up arrow - to previous paragraph


An important basic skill to learn is how to highlight ("select") text; that's how you manipulate already existing text, such as, to delete, copy, move, bold, underline, etc. I see a lot of users struggle with dragging their mouse to highlight text. The keystroke approach to highlighting text is simple and elegant: Simply add the Shift key to any movement keystrokes. Some examples:

To select a couple letters to delete, hold down the Shift key and tap the right or left arrow a couple times, then tap the DELete key or BackSpace.

To italicize a few words, start with your cursor on the first letter of the first word, hold down the Shift key and press Ctrl+right arrow a few times, then use Ctrl+I for italics. (To turn off the highlighting, tap a movement key or click your mouse.)

To underline a line of text such as a heading, start with your cursor at the left edge, hold down the Shift key and press the END key, now use Ctrl+U for underline.

To bold a paragraph, start with your cursor at the beginning of the paragraph, hold down the Shift key and press Ctrl+down arrow, then use Ctrl+B for bold.


Instead of using your mouse to select and move text by dragging, keystrokes are more exact, and require less concentration.

Use Ctrl+letter keystrokes:

After selecting text you want to move or copy, use Ctrl+C to copy it, or Ctrl+X to move (cut) it. No prompt will appear. Now move your cursor to the position where you want to paste it and tap Ctrl+V. Some examples:

To move a paragraph, start with your cursor at the left edge of the first line, hold down the Shift key as you tap Ctrl+down arrow to select (highlight) the entire paragraph. Use Ctrl+X to cut (remove) the selected text. Move your cursor where you want to put it, then paste with Ctrl+V

To copy a phrase, use Shift plus Ctrl+right arrow to select the text, then Ctrl+C to copy it. Now relocate your cursor and tap Ctrl+V to paste.

These keystrokes work to cut and paste within a document, between documents, and also between programs. Ctrl+C, Ctrl+X, and Ctrl+V are Windows standard keystrokes and thus work in all Windows applications. You can use them to cut and paste from WordPerfect to e-mail, or Excel to WordPerfect, Quattro Pro to GroupWise, etc. -- a wonderful feature!

You can boost your productivity 10% to 20% by reducing mouse reliance! Re-examine the way you do things, and emphasize a keystroke orientation to get the job done more quickly.

Copyright (C) 1997 by microCounsel, (415) 921-6850. All rights reserved.

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