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How to Edit a Word 2016 Document

How to Edit a Word 2016 Document


While there's no doubt that you will use Microsoft Word 2016 to type text into a document, you will also be using Word to edit the text in a document.  When you edit text, you change it, format it, move it from one place in the document to another, or cut chunks out of the document completely. 

Selecting 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 2016 is mandatory, even for the absolute beginner. 

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

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.'

Want to learn more? Take an online course in Microsoft Word 2016.


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 2016. 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.

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. Let's say for example, that we want to paste a paragraph of this article into another article with a different font size, or into another document with a different font. Word 2016 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 2016 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.

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 2016 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 2016, 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 2016 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. 

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