Appendix E: Pro Tips for Microsoft Word

Symbols in MS Word:
  • Turn on Math AutoCorrect by going to File → Options → Proofing → AutoCorrect Options... → Math → Check both boxes. After doing this, you can create symbols in Word by simply typing the listed codes. Examples of some the most useful:

Type this

Becomes this




\ne or \neq










\lrhar (left right harpoons)

x\bar (overline)


  • MS Word keyboard shortcuts. MacOS users should replace the Control key with the Command key (⌘).




Control+@ release, then press <space>


Degree symbol

Control+@ release, then press A

Ångstrom symbol

MacOS only: Alt+*


Degree symbol


  • Greek letters:
    • As shown above, you can activate Math AutoCorrect and get any Greek letter by typing a backslash and the name (e.g. \delta → δ, \Delta → Δ).
    • MacOS has Greek letter shortcuts: Alt+n = μ; Alt+j = Δ; Alt+l = λ
    • Windows: Make custom shortcuts to Greek letters. Insert Menu → Symbol (in the Symbols area) → More Symbols. In the pop-up window, select "Greek and Coptic" under "Subset." Highlight the symbol of interest, e.g. "μ." Then select "Shortcut Key." Now you can press any combination of keys (or even a series like the series for the "°" symbol above). For example, I like to use Control-Alt-m for "μ," Control-Alt-b for "β," etc.
Formatting in MS Word
  • Superscript formatting: Control + Shift + =
  • Subscript formatting: Control + =
  • You can enter equations in MS Word with the Equation Editor. In Word 2007 and later, press Alt + = or select it under Insert Equation (in the Symbols area).
    • Although, it is very intuitive to click on symbols, you can Equation Editor without touching your mouse! Visit for a list of Equation Editor keyboard shortcuts.
  • An easy way to add a caption to a table or figure is to right click it and select the "Add caption" action. This will add a caption to your figure that will stay grouped with it throughout the document and will prevent it from ending up on a separate page.
  • If you wish to include screenshots in your document, such as data processing images, follow these instructions.
    • Windows: simply press the "Print Screen" key. This will copy the current screen image to the system buffer. Next open an image editor such as MS Paint or Photoshop, create a new document, paste the image, and save.
    • Mac OS: Simply press "Command+Shift+3" at the same time and a screen shot of your entire desktop will be saved to the desktop. To capture a portion of the screen, press "Command+Shift+4" at the same time, a cross-hair cursor will appear, click and drag to select the area you wish to capture. When you release the mouse button, the screen shot will be automatically saved on your desktop.