Weekly Computer Tip # 369
11 May 2012

Is F8 the new F4?
(Word 2003-2010)

What I often hear from my course participants is that they came away with new tricks, tips and shortcuts that they never would have found on their own. This week's favourite seemed F4. (Remember what it can do? No? Simply type F4 in the search box on hints.html and hit the ENTER key. Ok, Ok. F4 is the repeat key in Word, Excel and PowerPoint and simply repeats the last action you performed. It also finds text in an Outlook email message. And it switches between relative and absolute cell references in Excel.)

But how about the other F-keys on your keyboard? Well, did you know you can use the F8 key as a powerful text selection tool? Many, many moons ago (in November 2009 (see tip_290.php) I told you most of what you can do to use F8 to select large chunks of text, but if you're struggling to select a specific block of text this could be your life-saver.

Here's how:

  1. Click the mouse at the start of the block of text you want to select and press F8.
  2. Click the mouse pointer at the end of the block of text you want to select.

And here's a recap of tip 290:

  • Click anywhere in a word and press F8 twice to select it. (Yes, I know you can double-click the word, but this is about F8 ;)
  • Click anywhere in a sentence and press F8 three times to select it.
  • Click anywhere in a paragraph and press F8 four times to select it.
  • Click anywhere in a document and press F8 five times to select it.

To switch off F8, simply press the Esc key.

By the way, if you use Word as the editor in Outlook, this tip obviously also works in Outlook.