My name’s Tharyn and I’m a productivity enthusiast. Especially when it comes to working with the tool I use for 8+ hours a day: my computer. I work for myself right now, living in Thailand, doing online business and writing a book, so it’s important to use my time wisely. These are some of my very favorite shortcuts that I use to save hours of time every week while writing.

writers keyboard shortcuts

Pictured: your most powerful writing tool.

Note: I am using a Mac, but almost all of these shortcuts can be used on windows as well by substituting the ⌘ key for the Control key.

Let’s get started. There are two ways to read this article.

  1. First, you read all the way through, trying to memorize all the shortcuts, and inevitably forget 90% of them. (This is a big waste of your time.)
  2. Second, you read through, and with each new shortcut, you actually stop and do it once. Practice it and see how the shortcut works for you. This will make the shortcut a reality for you instead of a concept. (This is where the time saving magic comes in.)

The Basics

You should already be using all of these. If not, then start today.

  • Cut: ⌘ + X
  • Copy: ⌘ + C
  • Paste: ⌘ + V
  • Paste without formatting. (This means that, if you copy big bold purple text, and paste into somewhere, it will strip off all the bold and purple formatting, only pasting the text itself.): ⌘ + Shift + V
  • Undo (Lifesaver!): ⌘ + Z
  • Save (Lifesaver!): ⌘ + S
  • Search for a word: ⌘ + F

Quick Formatting

Just select first, then push these commands to format your text twice as fast.

Bold: ⌘ + B
Italics: ⌘ + I
Underline: ⌘ + U

Random Awesome Tricks

  • Zoom in and out to read easier: : ⌘ + (- or +)
  • Mac: Three finger tap with trackpad on a word will bring up definition and thesaurus.
  • Mac: Bring up special characters menu: ⌘ + Option + T
  • Mac: Delete forward (right of cursor): fn + delete
  • Moving text by click and drag: Highlight text -> Click and hold for 1-2 seconds -> Drag to new place.
  • Selecting a block of text, then instantly typing something will replace it. No need to press delete first. Save an extra keystroke.
  • Pushing Shift + Enter/Return will create a line break in most programs instead of a paragraph break. This is especially helpful if you’re in WordPress or using HTML editors or even in Word.

Navigating Through Text

  • Move to beginning or end of a line: ⌘ + Arrow left or right
  • Move top or bottom of text: ⌘ + Arrow up or down

Selecting Text

Pay attention! These are some of my very favorite time savers that most people don’t know. :)

  • Single click: Place cursor.
  • Double click: Select word.
  • Triple click: Select paragraph.
  • Select all text (I use this a lot): ⌘ + A
  • Select 1 letter at a time: Shift + Arrow right or left
  • Select 1 word at a time: Shift + Option + Arrow right or left

Bonus! 5 Scrivener Shortcuts

Scrivener is a nifty writing app for organizing big projects full of lots of detail. Check it out here.

  • New text file: ⌘ + N
  • Move file to trash: ⌘ + del
  • Increase or decrease size of only highlighted text: ⌘+ (+ or -)
  • Split view vertical: ⌘ + shift + “
  • Show/hide text color picker (I use this a lot): ⌘ + Shift + C

There you have it, 29 shortcuts to improve your digital writing prowess. If you enjoyed these tips, then you might also like to learn more about my full Mac productivity course, where I teach you exactly how to take full advantage of your Mac’s best features and shortcuts to double your working productivity.

If you’ve got a Mac and spend more than a few hours per day on it, then click here to check out Mac Shortcuts Pro. All Renegade Word readers can enter the discount code renegadeword for a pleasant surprise. :)

Do you have any more shortcuts that your fellow writers might enjoy? Leave them in the comment section below and share the love.