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Refresh your typing: Keyboard Shortcuts for Writing Papers

It’s three in the morning and you’re typing away at the midterm assignment that your professor promised couldn’t be completed in one night. During your mission to prove them wrong, you find yourself pausing every once in a while to copy and paste quotes, italicize titles, and continuously change browsers, which can hinder your train of thought and further your stress eating. 

Here are some keyboard shortcuts to speed up your writing process and make you feel like Rihanna in Ocean’s 8.

“But what if I have a Mac?”

For most shortcuts, the PC’s Control button (Ctrl) is the equivalent of the Mac’s Command button (⌘Cmd). This is useful to know when using different computers such as in the library or at Pearson’s (R.I.P. Java Joint).

Word counts can be brutal. That’s why you’re using an entire paragraph of quotes—with proper citations, of course. You can copy and paste quicker by using Ctrl+C (⌘Cmd+C for Mac) to copy, Ctrl+X (⌘Cmd+X for Mac) to cut, and Ctrl+V (⌘Cmd+V) to paste. If your original source has a funky font or huge letters, you can paste without formatting by pressing Ctrl+Shift+V (⌘Cmd+Shift+V). This saves the time of changing the font, size, and whatever other formatting clashes with your paper.

Speaking of word counts, you can quickly check this by pressing Ctrl+Shift+C (⌘Cmd+Shift+C). If you highlight a section and use the shortcut, it will tell you the number of words in that given area. Now you can compulsively check how close you are to finishing after each sentence.

Uh oh! You just deleted an entire paragraph of work! Quickly undo this with the command Ctrl+Z (⌘Cmd+Z). If you decide that the paragraph was trash and you actually do want it deleted, you can redo an action with Ctrl+Y (⌘Cmd+Y). It’s perfect for indecisive writers.

Now it’s time for ~style~. This is especially important with source titles and visually bringing attention to something. Italics and underlining are grammatically interchangeable, but it is important to keep your choice consistent, and in my experience, most professors prefer italics. You can underline a highlighted section with the shortcut Ctrl+U (⌘Cmd+U), and italicize by pressing Ctrl+I (⌘Cmd+I). To bolden words, highlight the area and press Ctrl+B (⌘Cmd+B). 

When reading text online, in a PDF, or in your paper, you can locate specific words by pressing Ctrl+F (⌘Cmd+F). A box will pop up in the top right corner where you can type the word or phrase you are looking for. This will cycle through and highlight every appearance of the word on the page. This is especially helpful when you are looking for the mention of a specific key term in reading or finding where you talked about something in a massive paper.

Once you finish your paper, you realize you need to copy and paste all of your writing into a Moodle submission. Now that you can copy faster than Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas cloned Jango Fett, you just need a quicker way to highlight everything you want to duplicate. You can highlight everything on a page by pressing Ctrl+A (⌘Cmd+A). From here, you can copy, cut, change the font, or any other formatting options to the entire paper.

Most importantly, everyone should know how to quickly save paper. With the inconsistency of BCNet, it’s easy to lose all progress on a paper if not properly saved. Instead of clicking through File and Save it is easier to frequently save work with the command Ctrl+S (⌘Cmd+S). 

Hopefully, this fancy type-work will help you dance through your next big paper.

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