About

I'm Mike Pope. I live in the Seattle area. I've been a technical writer and editor for over 30 years. I'm interested in software, language, music, movies, books, motorcycles, travel, and ... well, lots of stuff.

Read more ...

Blog Search


(Supports AND)

Google Ads

Feed

Subscribe to the RSS feed for this blog.

See this post for info on full versus truncated feeds.

Quote

[T]he biggest reason we write unclearly is our ignorance of how others read our writing. What we write always seems clearer to us than it does to our readers, because we can read into it what we want readers to get out of it. And so instead of revising our writing to meet their needs, we send it off as soon as it meets ours.

Joseph M. Williams, Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace



Navigation





<September 2018>
SMTWTFS
2627282930311
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30123456

Categories

  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  

Contact

Email me

Blog Statistics

Dates
First entry - 6/27/2003
Most recent entry - 9/21/2018

Totals
Posts - 2522
Comments - 2582
Hits - 2,081,911

Averages
Entries/day - 0.45
Comments/entry - 1.02
Hits/day - 374

Updated every 30 minutes. Last: 12:17 PM Pacific


  05:11 PM

As a kind of public service, Jeff Atwood occasionally posts information about Keystrokes You Probably Didn't Know About (#, #, #, #). Reviewing lists like that, you'd think that there's a keystroke for everything you'd ever want to do in any program.

Sadly, no.

I mostly write and edit (as opposed to code), and I spend most of my work life in Microsoft Word. For maximum speed, I eschew the mouse, so I'm always looking for ways to do things from the keyboard. I have long since become familiar with existing shortcut keys for common tasks.[1] But there are still tasks I do all the time for which, oddly, no shortcut key exists among the thousands already there. What I do, then, is map a keystroke to the command I need.

Example: I work with Word's revision marks all the time. Word provides a shortcut key (CTRL+SHIFT+E) to toggle revision marks on and off, sweet. But I also need to be able to find the next revision and then accept it or reject it. There are menu commands and toolbar buttons to do this (ie, mouse gestures), but AFAIK, no keystrokes.

For anything that has a menu command in Word, you can create your own shortcut key. Let's say you want to create a shortcut key for the gesture to go to the next revision mark in the document. Do this:
  1. Click Tools > Customize.
  2. Click Keyboard.
  3. In the Categories list, click Edit.
  4. In the Commands list, click NextChangeOrComment.
  5. Put the focus in the Press new shortcut key box, and then ... uh ... press the new shortcut key you want to use. (I map lots of stuff to CTRL+SHIFT+x -- for example, I mapped NextChangeOrComment (ie, find next revision) to CTRL+SHIFT+F).
  6. Click Assign. (If you don't do this, all is for naught).
  7. Repeat for any other keystrokes you want to map to commands. e.g. mapping CTRL+SHIFT+A to the AcceptChangesSelected command.
  8. All done? Click Close.
There are a finite number of keystrokes available, of course, so I sometimes choose to override a default keystroke that I will never use. Say, la "V".

If the thing you have to do has no corresponding Word command -- that is, there's no way to do it directly from the menu -- then you can record a macro: Tools > Macros > Record New Macro. This starts the recorder, and every text-oriented keystroke and every Word command is recorded. (The macro recorder is smart enough not to record keystrokes in a dialog box and other irrelevancies.) Finish the task, click the End Recording glyph, and you're probably close to done. The macro recorder turns your actions into VBA script. I often have to go in and tweak the script (for example, because I recorded myself hitting about 12 wrong keys), but 4 out of 5 Word users say this is a 462% improvement over writing the VBA from scratch. While you're testing your new macro, please enjoy the excellent debugger built into VBA.

When you're done recording and tweaking the macro, map a keystroke to it as above. (Scroll down in the Categories list till you get to Macros.)

I have a yellow sticky note that I keep handy that lists all the keystrokes I've mapped, coz there's lots of them. And I've gotten so used to them that I instinctively use them in all programs, which can result in, you know, a disappointing experience. So sometime soon I'll tell you about the macros I use when writing HTML (!) in Visual Studio (!).

PS Your mappings are stored in the Word style sheet (e.g. Normal.dot). Be aware that anything that affects the file (deletion, say) will undo your mappings. Hey, is there a macro that you can use to redo your mappings? Hmmm ...


[1] More often than you'd think, I'll be working side-by-side with someone with me driving the keyboard, and I'll do something from the keyboard and they'll say "Hey, how'd you do that?"

[categories]   , , ,

|