MS-Word 2007/10/13

This article describes the actions of Undo, Redo, and Repeat and gives examples of how they can be used effectively.

Undo, Redo, Repeat


Undo is truly a life saver. It insulates us from accidents and disasters - Just press Ctrl-Z and it's like they never happened. Undo also lets us gracefully change our mind about that formatting change we just made.

Will Undo un-do everything? Not quite, but almost. Very few exceptions exist - one example would be deleting an Excel worksheet - that's permanent the second you do it.


Redo (Ctrl-Y) re-does anything that Undo un-does. Change your mind again about that formatting change that you just undid? Just Redo it.

The combination of Undo and Redo makes experimenting easy. We can switch back and forth between before (Undo) and after (Redo) as many times as we like to decide between two formats.


Repeat (F4) is a highly versatile, labor-saving feature which repeats the most recent action taken, not including selecting text, scrolling, or repositioning the insertion point. We usually use it to repeat typing or formatting.

To repeat typing, enter text from the keyboard without hitting Enter. Then, move the insertion point to a different location and press F4 to repeat the text there. Repeat the text as many times in as many places as you like, until a new action is taken and it becomes the repeat action.

Repeating text can be even better than using Copy and Paste because there's no need to copy first (Ctrl-C), and it's easier to press F4 than Ctrl-V.

To Repeat formatting, apply the format directly to the first target, and then use F4 to re-apply it to others.

Formatting using Repeat is even more powerful when you use it to re-apply a style.

Check: F4 is especially useful when you need to repeat a command requiring many steps, or one which must access a dialog box buried deep within the user interface.

The mouse and keyboard become a real team when the mouse is used to select a different target or location and F4 is used to Repeat formatting or text.

Bruce Miller, 2000, 2005, 2014

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