The previous article in this series dealt with the usefulness of keyboard shortcuts. In this article, I look at a particularly useful shortcut available in MS Word .
This is a very quick tip, but one that is remarkably useful. As you may know, Word has a ton of keyboard shortcuts which can make life a bit easier. But sometimes, if they’re really convoluted, they can make life difficult.
Fortunately, though, there’s another keyboard shortcut that can make life easy again. (Do keep up at the back.) And it’s this: if you want to repeat the last action you did, just press the F4 key in the Windows version of Word, or CMD + Y in the Mac version. From now on, I'll refer to F$ and Cmd + Y as 'the repeat command'.
For example, to create an e with an acute accent, like this: é, you have to hold down the Alt Gr key and press the letter e. For me that’s a two-handed job because the keys I need to press and too far away from each other to be able to do it with one hand. Thanks to the the repeat command, I just need to do it once, and then press the repeat command for the next one. Note that this will only work if you have done nothing else in between. Thus, if you have already typed the text but need to convert a couple of letters, you can do the second one by highlighting the e you’ve already typed, and then pressing the repeat command. In short, pressing the repeat command will repeat the very last thing you’ve done except, for some reason, highlighting.
It sounds completely pointless, but it comes in handy when you need to repeat something that’s slightly involved. As well as awkward keyboard shortcuts, another example might be inserting a table. If you need half a dozen tables of, say, 5 rows and 3 columns, it will save you a bit of time to insert the first one in the usual way (Insert →Table →select number of rows and columns), and then go through the document pressing the repeat command wherever you need the rest of them.
An earlier version of this article appeared on the Medium website.