Category Archives: Navigation

Shift+End, Backspace: Delete the rest of the line

Here’s a combination that I use frequently when I find myself in the middle of a line of text and I want to remove the rest:

  1. Make sure your cursor is to the left of all the text you wish to erase. (Use the left arrow and right arrow key as necessary.)
  2. Press Shift+End. All the text between your cursor and the end of the line is selected.
  3. Press the Backspace (or Delete) key. The text is erased.

Much faster than pressing the delete key a bunch of times.

Ctrl+Delete: Delete to next word

Partnered with yesterday’s tip, you can delete an entire word from where the cursor is to right with Ctrl+Delete.

For example, if your cursor is like so (before “country’s”): “TiVo is the _country’s best DVR” and you press Ctrl+Delete, you’ll get “TiVo is the best DVR”.

If your cursor is in the middle of a word, such as “extra_ordinary” and you press Ctrl+Delete, you’ll be left with just “extra”.

Ctrl+Backspace: Delete to previous word

If you’re typing (in Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, and many other text entry programs) and you use the wrong word, a quick way to delete the entire word is Ctrl+Backspace.

You need to practice this one a few times to get used to it. It’s also an easy one to forget to use, but it’s worth making the effort to get the Ctrl+Backspace habit: If you type a long word and want to erase it instantly, it’s much faster to hit Ctrl+Backspace then the Backspace key by itself several times.

As an example, if you type, “I must remember to buy a new hippopotamus_” and your cursor is right after the word hippopotamus, the entire word hippopotamus is erased and your cursor is now positioned at the end of the sentence: “I must remember to buy a new_”. Then you can type “toaster” or whatever word you actually want to type.

If you’re in the middle of a word, it only deletes the portion that’s to the left of your cursor. So if you typed “Here comes the sun_king” and move your cursor (as indicated) between the “sun” and “king” portions, then press Ctrl+Backspace, what you’re left with is “Here comes the king.”

Shift plus any navigation key: Select text

Last week, we went through some navigation keyboard shortcuts. (You can review them by looking at all the posts in the navigation category, or you can take a look at the navigation reference page, which collects the navigation shortcuts presented so far in a single list.)

Now that you’re spending more time using the keyboard to navigate, it’s time to combine those navigation keys with the Shift key to begin selecting text.

(Selecting text is when you highlight it — allowing you to then perform a variety of tasks, such as erasing the selected text, applying a command such as making the selected text bold, or cut or copy it into the clipboard for later pasting.)

Here’s an example. Position your cursor in the middle of a line of text in an editing program (such as Microsoft Word or Notepad), then hit Shift+End. All of the text from the cursor to the end of the line becomes selected. If you hit the Backspace key or Delete key, it’s deleted.

Some useful combinations to try:

  • Shift+Home: Select text from the cursor to the beginning of the line
  • Shift+End: Select text from the cursor to the end of the line
  • Shift+Ctrl+Home: Select text from the cursor to the beginning of the document
  • Shift+Ctrl+End: Select text from the cursor to the end of the document
  • Shift+Ctrl+Left Arrow: Select text from the cursor to the beginning of the current word (and keep hitting the Left Arrow key without letting go of the Shift and Ctlr keys to keep selecting multiple words)
  • Shift+Ctrl+Right Arrow: Select text from the cursor to the beginning of the next word

Also, practice Shift plus any of the arrow keys. Suppose, for example, you want to delete some text from the end of a document or e-mail. Press Ctrl+End to move to the end. Now press Shift+Up Arrow until you’ve highlighted all of the stuff at the end you want to get rid of. Then press a key such as the letter A, and it will replace all of the highlighted text with whatever key you typed.

F5 (or Ctrl+G): In Word and Excel, Go To a location

To round out our navigation week, let’s use an application-specific keyboard shortcut.

If you use Microsoft Word, try this (when editing a long document): Press F5, and the “Go To” dialog box appears. (It may look a bit different depending on which version of Microsoft Word you’re using.) Type in a page number, like 15, and press Enter. Your cursor should now be at the top of page 15. You can then press Esc to cancel the dialog box.

If you use Microsoft Excel, try pressing F5 and in the Go To dialog box, type in a cell (such as B500), then press Enter.

There are more advanced ways of using the Go To dialog box in both applications, but we’ll save that for a future day

If you prefer, you can use Ctrl+G instead of F5.

Ctrl+Left Arrow and Ctrl+Right Arrow: Move by word

This week’s set of tips will be focused on navigation shortcuts — keyboard methods of navigating around in a document. These work for most applications, but are especially useful when you’re using Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, Notepad, WordPad, or other word processing and editing programs.

Today’s tip is to use the Ctrl key plus either the Left Arrow key or the Right Arrow key. Each time you press this keystroke, you’ll move to the beginning of the previous or next word. Try each several times to get the hang of it.