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The Mouse as Pencil


I love editing in Microsoft Word, but for a long time I missed being able to just put my pencil on a word, as I could on a paper manuscript. I grew tired of laboriously “cursing” through a page (sometimes literally) with the cursor keys, using dozens of keystrokes in the process. Then I realized I had an electronic pencil—the mouse. I just needed to make it do most of the things a pencil can do: delete, capitalize, lowercase, italicize, transpose, and so on. I already had all those features in Editor’s ToolKit, so it was a simple matter to put them on the text shortcut menu accessible from the right mouse button.

Now I often use the mouse to move around a document. When I see a word I want to delete (for example), I point to it with the mouse, click the right mouse button, and click “Delete Word” on the shortcut menu. Presto! The word is gone.

With some experimentation, I’ve learned which features I use most with the mouse, and those are the ones I’ve placed on Word’s text shortcut menu. Here they are:

Delete (a single character or text you’ve already selected with the mouse)

Delete Word

Add to Spike

Insert Spike

Cap or Lowercase Word (toggle)

Make Word Italic or Roman (toggle)

Transpose Characters

Transpose Words

Apply Heading 1 Style

Apply Heading 2 Style

Apply Heading 3 Style

Apply Heading 4 Style

AutoStyle Block Quotation

AutoStyle List

AutoStyle Poem


Word already includes cut, copy, and paste on the right mouse button. Also, don’t forget that Word allows you to select, drag, and drop text using the mouse. (Clicking twice selects a word; thrice, a paragraph.) Using all those features, you’ll be amazed at how much editing you can do without ever touching the keyboard. (One trick is to copy and paste a word from nearby text rather than typing it in.) And, of course, all of the menu and toolbar functions are accessed with the mouse. With a little practice, you’ll probably agree that the mouse makes a pretty good pencil.