Copy Paste – Part 13 – A better shortcut for Paste Special

Most common ways of invoking Paste Special are:

  • Alt E S keyboard shortcut
    This was the older (2003 or before) version shortcut – Alt E = Edit Menu, S was the hotkey for Paste Special
  • Open the dropdown of Paste in Home tab in the ribbon and choose Paste Special
  • Right click – Paste Special

A better shortcut

Although all these methods work, Microsoft added a NEW shortcut since Office 2007. Most people don’t discover it. The shortcut is

image

Why should you use this shortcut?

The reason is simple. Paste Special is a variation of Paste. Paste shortcut is CTRL V. For Paste Special CTRL ALT V is more intuitive. It is definitely better than using mouse anyway.

But there is more to it.

Compare the actual act of pressing the older shortcut –

image

On the fact of it, there are three keys to be pressed in either case. So what is the difference?

Let me show you the difference using a keyboard layout.

You try pressing Alt E S using left hand and see the position of fingers.

Now compare it with CTRL V and CTRL ALT V

Usually we press CTRL key using little finger and V using index finger. The middle finger is anyway resting near ALT key. Look at the photo on left side – I have intentionally flexed the middle finger to expose the Alt key.

You just have to decide is it Paste or Paste Special at the last moment. If it is paste, don’t press the middle finger, if it is paste special – just press the middle finger (right side photo)

image

Another alternative is little finger for Ctrl, Index finger for V and thumb for Alt – which is also convenient. You try it out yourself and choose the method which is most comfortable to you.

This is ergonomics!

Imagine the amount of effort the Office team is taking to make our life easier and healthier… it is just that we simply don’t notice these things and therefore are not able to utilize the products effectively.

By the way, the imageshortcut works across ALL Office products. Including Project and Visio.

No Paste Special option in OneNote. Why?

It does not work for OneNote because OneNote does not have Paste Special functionality at all. It does not mean that you cannot choose the paste format in OneNote. It does offer four paste options as expected:

image

In that case, the question is – why did Microsoft not choose a default format for paste and provide Paste Special in OneNote (like all other products)? Just to avoid a Paste Special dialog? That does not sound like a good reason.

This is my guess but I think that is the logical explanation.

The reason OneNote does not have two separate options – Paste and Paste Special – because :

  1. OneNote is used for various types of copy paste from diverse sources. And it is a comparatively new product – and most people don’t even know that it exists – even if they have it installed! Therefore, Microsoft did not / could not finalize a default format based upon common user behavior pattern.
  2. If you have started right clicking instead of Paste or Paste Special – as recommended in my earlier article, you will realize that the demarcation between paste and paste special is simply irrelevant.

Next article

Although the Copy Paste series is far from over, I will deviate from it and show you how to find useful keyboard shortcuts and reduce the damage to your wrist and tendons (which can happen due to excessive usage of mouse, among other things).

Copy Paste – Part 12 – Reordering Thoughts and Content

The need

We often write content in the order in which it comes to our mind. We then tend to reorder it by copy pasting it. There is a better method.

Just remember these very powerful shortcuts

image

Shift Alt Up / Down Arrow

Whenever you write text with paragraphs, in any Office product, you can use the Shift Alt Up and Down arrows to move it up or down.

This works with:

  1. Word paragraphs. DO NOT select the paragraph. Just click inside and use the shortcut
  2. Word Tables – reordering table rows is extremely painful if done manually. Try this shortcut and you will curse yourself for not knowing it for so many years!
  3. Word Outline view to reorder entire Headings or Sub-headings (provided these are collapsed)
  4. PowerPoint bullets
  5. PowerPoint SmartArt Text Editor
  6. Outlook (because it uses Word as the editor)
  7. OneNote
  8. It does NOT work with PowerPoint tables. Because these are more of graphical elements and not formal tables.
  9. Excel is a grid – therefore this method does not in Excel as well.

Shift Alt Right and Left Arrow

This is even more powerful.

Word

In case of Word, by pressing Shift Alt Left arrow, you actually promote the heading style – or apply Heading1 Style.

If you use Shift Alt Right arrow, it demotes the style (and outline level)

This is the fastest way of creating documents with styles. No need to click on styles or use keyboard shortcuts which are more complex (Ctrl Alt 1 2 or 3).

PowerPoint

Like Word, it can be used for promoting and demoting bullets.

Usually to create sub-level bullets we use TAB key. But that works just after a fresh new bullet is added. If you are somewhere in the middle of a paragraph, pressing TAB key will actually insert a tab and increase spacing.

However, Shift Alt Left / Right arrows work irrespective of where your cursor is.

Now the most powerful usage in PowerPoint is to edit hierarchical information in SmartArt Editor. Try to insert a SmartArt of type – Hierarchy – choose some Org Chart and then go to the editor. You can easily promote or demote items very quickly using this shortcut key.

Try these simple yet powerful shortcuts. Let me know your feedback. If you find more uses for this shortcut, do let me know.