by Jennie Ruby
When you are using Track Changes in MS Word, sometimes you need to turn the tracking off for a second to make some minor correction "off the record" and then quickly turn the tracking back on. But after a trip to the Home tab, or the Insert tab, or elsewhere to make an untracked correction, you have to return to the Review tab to turn Track Changes back on. Now if you are a Track Changes guru, you have probably memorized the keyboard shortcut: Control-Shift-E. But if you don't have the keyboard shortcut in your head, there is another shortcut that may come in handy.
In Word 2003 (and earlier versions), grayed-out shortcuts line the status bar at the bottom of the screen. Among them is TRK, a shortcut for turning Track Changes on and off. That shortcut also serves as an indicator as to whether tracking is currently on or off. In Word 2007 or 2010, the Track Changes shortcut appears at first to be absent, but if you right-click the status bar, you get a menu in which you can choose to add the Track Changes shortcut. Once that tool is on your status bar, you can turn Track Changes on and off without a trip to the Review tab. The shortcut also indicates whether Track Changes are currently on or off, so that you don't have to make a test change to check.
Other shortcuts you might find useful on the status bar are Section, Word Count, Proofing, and Macro Recording. Some of these are present by default, others must be selected from the right-click menu, but each of these tools is more than a simple indicator.
Click the Section shortcut, or any of the position shortcuts, and the Go To dialog box opens, allowing you to go to any section, line, page, or position in the document. Find and Replace tabs on the Go To box add even more convenience in finding a specific location.
The Word Count shortcut does more than tell you the number of words in the document. If you click it, it produces full statistics about the number of pages, words, characters, paragraphs, and lines. The Proofing shortcut will take you to the next red- or green-underlined spelling or grammar problem in the document. The Macro Recording shortcut allows you to start and stop recording without a trip to the View or Developer tab.
Word is such a workhorse program for most of us that just a few shortcuts can result in significant time savings and better productivity. If you use Track Changes, consider coming to one of my half-day, live on-line classes. In three hours you may find enough shortcuts and new skills to save yourself days of work over the course of a year.
About the Author: Jennie Ruby is a veteran IconLogic trainer and author with titles such as "Editing with Word 2003 and Acrobat 7" and "Editing with MS Word 2007" to her credit. She is a publishing professional with more than 20 years of experience in writing, editing and desktop publishing.