Text Basics

Use Microsoft Word 2016 to add text, delete text, and move text in your documents, as well as cut text, copy text, and paste text.

Introduction

If you're new to Microsoft Word, you'll need to learn the basics of typing, editing, and organizing text. Basic tasks include the ability to add, delete, and move text in your document, as well as how to cut, copy, and paste.

Optional: Download our practice document.

Watch the video below to learn the basics of working with text in Word.

Using the insertion point to add text

The insertion point is the blinking vertical line in your document. It indicates where you can enter text on the page. You can use the insertion point in a variety of ways.

In a new blank document, you can double-click the mouse to move the insertion point elsewhere on the page.

Selecting text

Before you can move or format text, you'll need to select it. To do this, click and drag your mouse over the text, then release the mouse. A highlighted box will appear over the selected text.

selecting text

When you select text or images in Word, a hover toolbar with command shortcuts will appear. If the toolbar does not appear at first, try hovering the mouse over the selection.

the Hover Toolbar

To select multiple lines of text:

  1. Move the mouse pointer to the left of any line so it becomes a right slanted arrow.
    placing the cursor to the left of the text
  2. Click the mouse. The line will be selected.
    selecting a line
  3. To select multiple lines, click and drag the mouse up or down.selecting multiple lines of text
  4. To select all of the text in your document, choose the Select command on the Home tab, then click Select All. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl+A on your keyboard.
    selecting all text in the document

Other shortcuts include double-clicking to select a word and triple-clicking to select an entire sentence or paragraph.

To delete text:

There are several ways to delete—or remove—text:

If you select text and start typing, the selected text will automatically be deleted and replaced with the new text.

Copying and moving text

Word allows you to copy text that's already in your document and paste it in other places, which can save you a lot of time and effort. If you want to move text around in your document, you can cut and paste or drag and drop.

To copy and paste text:

  1. Select the text you want to copy.
    Selecting the text to copy
  2. Click the Copy command on the Home tab. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl+C on your keyboard.
    clicking the copy command
  3. Place the insertion point where you want the text to appear.
    selecting where the copied text will appear
  4. Click the Paste command on the Home tab. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl+V on your keyboard.
    clicking the Paste command
  5. The text will appear.
    the pasted text in the new location

To cut and paste text:

  1. Select the text you want to cut.
    selecting text to cut
  2. Click the Cut command on the Home tab. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl+X on your keyboard.
    clicking the cut command
  3. Place your insertion point where you want the text to appear.
    choosing a place for the cut text
  4. Click the Paste command on the Home tab. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl+V on your keyboard.
    clicking the paste command
  5. The text will appear.
    the cut text pasted in a new location

    You can also cut, copy, and paste by right-clicking your document and choosing the desired action from the drop-down menu. When you use this method to paste, you can choose from three options that determine how the text will be formatted: Keep Source Formatting, Merge Formatting, and Keep Text Only. You can hover the mouse over each icon to see what it will look like before you select it.

    To drag and drop text:

    1. Select the text you want to move.
      selecting text to move
    2. Click and drag the text to the location where you want it to appear. A small rectangle will appear below the arrow to indicate that you are moving text.dragging and dropping text
    3. Release the mouse, and the text will appear.
      the moved text

    If text does not appear in the exact location you want, you can press the Enter key on your keyboard to move the text to a new line.

    Undo and Redo

    Let's say you're working on a document and accidentally delete some text. Fortunately, you won't have to retype everything you just deleted! Word allows you to undo your most recent action when you make a mistake like this.

    To do this, locate and select the Undo command on the Quick Access Toolbar. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl+Z on your keyboard. You can continue using this command to undo multiple changes in a row.

    using the Undo command

    By contrast, the Redo command allows you to reverse the last undo. You can also access this command by pressing Ctrl+Y on your keyboard.

    clicking the Redo command

    Symbols

    If you need to insert an unusual character that's not on your keyboard, such as a copyright (©) or trademark (™) symbol, you can usually find them with the Symbol command.

    To insert a symbol:

    1. Place the insertion point where you want the symbol to appear.
      choosing where the symbol will appear
    2. Click the Insert tab.
      navigating to the insert tab
    3. Locate and select the Symbol command, then choose the desired symbol from the drop-down menu. If you don't see the one you want, select More Symbols.
      inserting a symbol
    4. The symbol will appear in the document.
      the inserted symbol

    Challenge!

    1. Open our practice document.
    2. Scroll to page 2.
    3. Place the insertion point at the top of the document and type Now Introducing...
    4. Use your arrow keys to move the insertion point to the Signature Detail Plan's price and change it to $99.99/mo.
    5. At the bottom of the document, use drag and drop to move Just leave the details to us to the end of the last line.
    6. At the end of the line you just moved, insert the trademark symbol. If you cannot find the trademark symbol, insert a different symbol of your choice.
    7. When you're finished, your document should look something like this:

      Text Basics Challenge