How to Perform Basic Text Editing in Word 2019

No word processor would be complete without a way to format text, and Microsoft Word has a full set of tools that let you stylize text in your document files. Instead of having only standard fonts, you can change text to represent styles such as sub-titles, titles, section headers and other non-standard content.

Text Editing Functions

All basic text editing functions are found in the "Home" ribbon tab.

(Word text editing controls)

Notice that Word offers several stylizing features in the "Font" category in the "Home" tab. As you type content into a document, you'll use these features and controls heavily.

The top row of font styles is the font type and the size of the characters. By default, Word opens a blank document using Calibri as the font for the body of a document. The default size is 11, but you can change this style with a simple click of the dropdown control. Alternatively, you can highlight text in your document, and then hover your mouse over the text and a list of standard font style choices will display.

When it comes to fonts in a Word document, only the fonts installed on your computer will show in the dropdown control. This is different from having fonts display in a web browser where developers pull fonts from a cloud location, so if content is meant for a website, you'll need a way to implement the font using code or the browser will be unable to display the same font that you've used in your Word document.

You aren't limited to one font size and style. If you have no content highlighted in the document, then the font changes will only take effect on new content typed into Word. If you have any content highlighted when you make these changes, Word will change the font and size of the highlighted content.

(Font style changes)

In the image above, the first line of text is the default font and size. The second line of text is a much larger size with a different style. This shows you that you can have several different font styles in a document without any restrictions. The dropdown control in the "Home" ribbon tab will show you all fonts available on your computer. Some third-party programs have their own fonts installed when you add the software to your computer. These fonts will then show in the Word font dropdown control.

(Word dropdown font control with selection options)

Adobe Reader was installed on the computer in the image above, so several Adobe fonts are available in the Word dropdown. Not every application prefaces font names with the brand, so after you install some programs, you might just notice new fonts available. You can also download fonts from the Internet or purchase them from designers to add more fonts to your computer and Word availability.

Basic Font Styles

There are three basic font styles common with every text editing program: bold, underline and italics. Word offers other styles, but these three are the most common with standard content. All three buttons are under the font dropdown control.

(Bold, Italics and Underline controls)

The first "B" button sets any text to a bold style. The second "I" button sets text to italics, and then the "U" button sets an underline style. You can highlight any text and click one of these buttons to change to the style that you want. You can also click multiple buttons and have all three styles applied to text.

When you click one of these buttons and start typing, the style takes effect until you want to go back to the original style. Click the button again to stop the style from being applied to future text. Should you change your mind and want to remove a style, highlight the text and click the button to remove the style.

Alternatively, you can use the Ctrl+B keyboard shortcut for bold. Ctrl+I will apply italics style to selected text, and Ctrl+U will underline selected content.

Subscript and Superscript

Word supports subscript and superscript styles. These styles are used mainly for either math equations or referencing content within your documentation. The two controls are to the right of the font styles explained in the previous section (bold, italics and underline).

(Subscript and superscript controls)

The two font styles can be applied the same way as the others. Highlight the text that you want to stylize and click the button. You can remove the style by clicking the button again with the text highlighted.

(Example subscript and superscript styles)

In the image above, notice that the superscript text is slightly above the "Font" text, and then the subscript text is slightly below. These two styles help you create math equations in a document or reference text similar to an academic paper references sources.

Adding a Hyperlink 

When you create web pages, it's not uncommon to add a link to another page on a website. You can do the same with Microsoft Word, except clicking a link will open the user's browser and bring them to the linked web page.

To add a hyperlink, you can right click the text that should have a hyperlink applied and a context menu will display.

(Font style context menu)

In the image above, notice that the "Link" selection is highlighted. Click this link option and a window opens asking for the link location.

(Hyperlink configuration window)

The "Address" input text box is where you type the URL. You can also copy and paste a URL from your browser. Notice that the window also displays local directories from your computer. You aren't limited to just URLs on the Internet. You can also link to files on your local computer or on a network drive. If this document is sent to another user, remember that any links to external documents on your computer won't be accessible to a third party.

Highlighting and Font Color

Microsoft Word has a highlighter function that imitates when you run a physical highlighter over text on a sheet of paper. You have your choice of several different colors and using a highlighter will make specific sentences and words stand out.

(Highlighter and font color controls)

The first button is the highlighter control. Click the arrow icon next to this button and a list of color options appear. After you choose a color, click the highlighter button. Your cursor changes its icon and displays a highlighter icon indicating that any actions that you take will highlight text rather than prompt you to start typing.

Text highlighted with the tool will display a different background than the one in the document.

(Highlighted text)

The image above shows what text looks like when the highlighter tool has been used.

The default font color is black. Whenever you create a blank Word document, font color is black until you change it. Just like any other text in your document, you can change parts of it to be a different color. Any text selected can have its color changed using the font color tool.

Just like the highlighter tool, click the arrow to the right of the button and several color options are displayed. These color choices aren't the only ones available. Click the "More Colors" option and another window opens where you can choose a custom color based on a more granular color palette.

(Custom color choices)

The above image shows the color palette range. Just click somewhere on the palette and the color code will be automatically filled. Click "OK" when you choose your color, and any text highlighted will have its color changed. If you change the color with no text selected, the new color will take effect as you type your text.

These text changes are common when you create long documents. Even with small documents and notes, you'll use these text edits to customize the way it displays on your screen or when you print it to hardcopy. Text editing tools are one of the most common features available in Word.

Selecting Text

Now that we've gone over the more exciting features of what word 2019 can do to enhance your text, let's buckle down and get to the actual basics of how to enter and edit text.
The first step in editing text that appears on the screen in Word is to learn how to select it for editing. You can always click within a document to move the cursor to change text, or use Backspace and Delete to remove text.   However, this can be time consuming.   What if you want to remove a whole chunk of text?   Or what if you want to move one paragraph to another location?   Well, by selecting text, you can delete or move entire paragraphs or pages. You can also format your document. You can change the font size, color, style, or any number of other things.    Being able to select text in Word is mandatory, even for the absolute beginner. 

Whenever you select text in Word, the text appears highlighted, as shown below.

Interested in learning more? Why not take an online Microsoft Word 2019 course?

Selecting text is easy and done in three easy steps.

  1. Move the cursor to the beginning of the text that you want to select. 
  2. Click and hold in the left button on your mouse. 
  3. Drag it over the text you want to select. It will highlight the selected text, as shown above. Simply release the mouse button when you are finished selecting text.

If you want to select the entire document, simply click on the Home tab and click Select on the far right in the Editing group.

Click the downward arrow beside Select and choose Select All.

This will highlight all your text for formatting. Also note that you can select objects or text with similar formatting as your selected text when clicking on ‘Select.'

Cutting Text

Once you've selected text, there are several things that you can do with it.   Naturally, you can select text to format it. Perhaps you want to change the font type or size.   We'll cover how to do that later. 

However, you can also cut selected text from a document as a way to either delete it from one location, then paste it elsewhere in the same or different document.  

If you'd like to remove text from one location in the document to paste into another location, use the Cut command.

For example, below is an excerpt of the biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Let's say we want to reverse the two paragraphs.   In other words, we want the second paragraph to be the first paragraph.

We will use the Cut feature in Word to accomplish this.

1.  Select the text or object to be cut and copied. We've selected the second paragraph. 

2.    Click the Cut icon  in the Clipboard group under the Home tab. As you can see below, the paragraph is now cut from the document. 

3.   Now, click on the area in the document where you want to "paste" the text that you just cut. Using our example, it's before the first paragraph. Once you see the cursor, go to the Ribbon. Under the Home tab, click Paste in the Clipboard group. 

Delete and Cut should not be used interchangeably. When you cut an object, it is copied to the Clipboard. When you delete an object, it is simply removed from the document and the only way to restore it is by clicking the Undo Typing button. To delete text, select the text, then click Delete on your keyboard.

Copying Text

Once you select text, you can also copy it. Copying text means you copy the text you've selected, then you can paste it somewhere else in the document – or in another document.   When you copy text, the text you've copied remains in the document. 

There are three ways to copy text and objects to the clipboard.

1.  Select the text or object to be copied and click the copy icon  in the Clipboard group under the Home tab.

2.  Select the text or object to be copied, position the mouse pointer over it and right click. Then select Copy from the menu.

3.  Select text or object to be copied and hit CTRL + C.

The Clipboard

Whenever you copy anything in Word, it is automatically sent to the Clipboard. The Clipboard does just as its name implies. It holds the text that you copy and paste for you to use. The Clipboard and its associated tools can be found on the Home tab at the far left end of the ribbon. The Clipboard group looks like this:   

Click the arrow at the bottom of the Clipboard group to see its contents.

The clipboard will open as a long window to the left of your document. It can only hold 24 objects. When a 25th object is added, the first copied item is removed. To empty the Clipboard, click the Clear All button at the top of the Clipboard menu.

You can remove individual items from the clipboard by moving the mouse pointer over the item, then clicking the arrow button that appears to the right of the object. In the dropdown menu, select Delete.



The Paste command allows you to copy an object from one location in the document to another, or from another Office Program into Word. You can use the Cut or Copy feature to move an item to the clipboard, then use Paste to place it elsewhere into a document. We've already covered Paste briefly earlier in this course.

There are three ways to Paste text or an object into a document:

1.  Move the cursor to the point in your document where you want to place the item and click the Paste icon. It looks like this:

2.  Move the mouse pointer to the place you wish to insert the item and click the right mouse button. Select one of the paste options from the dropdown menu. We'll discuss the options in just a minute. 

3.  Move the cursor to the point in your document where you wish to place the item and press CTRL + V.

Ordinarily, Word pastes the most recently copied item. To paste an object that was copied earlier, position the cursor at the point in your document you wish to paste the item, then open the clipboard and click the item you wish to paste. You can also move the mouse pointer over the item to be pasted, and click the arrow that appears to the right of that item.   Then select a paste option.

Paste Options is what you see when you right click your mouse to paste into a document. See below.

You also see Paste Options when you click the downward arrow below Paste on the Ribbon.

Paste Options allows you to specify the method of pasting that you want to use.   This will be important if you want to keep or remove formatting for the selected text. 

Let's explain what we mean.   This course is typed using Calibri font.   Let's say for example, that we want to paste a paragraph of this lesson into another lesson with a different font size, or into another document with a different font. Word gives us the option of preserving formatting, making the formatting match the area of the document where we paste our text, or pasting text only and not any images that we cut or copied.

Again, Paste Options only appears when you right click your mouse to paste – unless you select your Paste option from the Ribbon.   Once you've copied or cut selected text, then right click, you'll see this:

These are your paste options:

Paste using original formatting of pasted text.

Merge formatting. Paste using the formatting of the majority of the text in the document. 

 Allows you paste text only. Any graphics or images will not be pasted, only text.

 Paste using the formatting of the destination text, or the text where you paste into.

 Paste a Picture.

Inserting Text

You can insert text anywhere in a document simply by moving the cursor to the desired location and typing. 

Word automatically moves all text to the right of the cursor over as you type. However, if you'd rather replace the text as you type, Word gives you two options:

  1. Select the text you'd like to replace and start typing. This deletes the highlighted text and positions the cursor in its place.
  2. Use Overtype Mode. To turn on overtype mode, click on the File tab, then select Options.

You will then see this dialogue box.

Click on Advanced in the left column.

Put a Checkmark beside "Use the Insert key to control overtype mode" or the "Use overtype mode" box.

If you select the "Use the Insert key to control overtype mode" box, you can toggle overtype mode on or off by pressing the Insert key. 

If you select only "Use overtype mode" you must manually turn it off by deselecting it.


AutoCorrect automatically corrects some errors you make. For example, by default, Microsoft Word will start the first letter of every new paragraph with a capital letter.   It also may recognize certain words and make corrections for you without ever having to use Spell. However, you can customize AutoCorrect to find and correct certain errors -- or to leave certain "errors" alone. 

To customize AutoCorrect, click on the File tab, then click Options on the left. 

Click Proofing in the column on the left.   

Next, click the AutoCorrect Options button. The screen you will see will look like the one below.

Click on the AutoCorrect options button, and you can specify words or even math that you want Word to correct as you type. 

As you can see, by default, Word will automatically turn: (into a smiley face emoticon: J. It will also create a trademark symbol ™.   These are default corrections that Word makes for you. You can add your own too. 

To add your own, type in what word or symbols you will enter in that you want Word to automatically correct. We're going to type "Universal Class" and have it replaced by "Universal." We're doing this to have uniformity in our documents. Click the Add button when you're finished.

Now, let's click the Math AutoCorrect tab in the dialogue box.

We'll talk about mathematics later in this course. However, you can set AutoCorrect for mathematics just as you would with text.

Undo and Redo    

But let's say you accidently delete something or deleted it and then decided that you want it back.   You grit your teeth and start to grumble, trying to remember the exact wording. It's a lost cause, right? Wrong. The makers of Word anticipated this problem and supplied an easy solution. The Undo button!  

The Undo button is on the Quick Access Toolbar. It looks like this: . You can click the downward arrow beside the Undo button to determine how many steps backward you want to take with your undo.

If you scroll down the list above to the bottom to AutoFormat, everything above AutoFormat will be undone too. You can undo up to 100 actions. 

The Redo button is to the right of the Undo button.  It looks like this: . The redo button allows you redo an action that you just undid or to repeat the last action. If Word cannot redo the last action, the button will be faded.


Word can hyphenate words at the end of lines for you, or you can choose to do it yourself. By default, hyphenation is turned off, which means Word won't hyphenate words that are at the end of a line. Instead, it will just move the word to the next line.  

To use the hyphenation feature in Word, click on the Layout tab, then go to the Page Setup group on the ribbon. You'll see Hyphenation, as shown below.

If you click the downward arrow beside Hyphenation, you'll see that None is selected. This means no hyphenation (default.) 

If you want Word to hyphenate words for you, select Automatic.   This means that Word will hyphenate words that appear at the end of a line rather than moving it down to the next line to keep your text within the margins. Word will use its settings to decide how to hyphenate words.   Just keep in mind, it does NOT mean Word will hyphenate words such as ‘how-to.' It won't.

You can also select Manual. This box will pop up and ask you to specify how you want words hyphenated. Word will search your text for words that can be hyphenated and ask you how you wanted hyphenated.   See the snapshot below:

You can also set options to tell Word the maximum amount of space to allow between the word and the right margin. This is called the Hyphenation Zone. To set the amount of space yourself, go to Hyphenation, click the downward arrow, then click on Hyphenation Options.   

In this window, you can also select to automatically hyphenate the entire document, hyphenate words that are in CAPS, and manually set hyphens as we just learned to do.