Some users love keyboard shortcuts, others ignore them completely

Paratext, like many software packages, has an array of keyboard shortcut keys for many of its functions.  Some users take advantage of these shortcuts to speed up repetitive tasks, or to avoid moving their hands back and forth between the keyboard and the mouse.  Many users use only one or two of the most common shortcut keys, and others don’t use any at all. They either don’t know about them or don’t want to learn them. I have also spoken with a few dedicated shortcut key users who would like to work on project notes or other common tasks without using the mouse at all. Keyboard shortcuts in Paratext While many tasks in Paratext still require using the mouse, this article will share some of the ways shortcut keys can help your work be easier and more efficient. If you aren’t using keyboard shortcuts now, I’m sure it will be worth your time to read this article.

Windows Shortcut Keys

Some of the Paratext shortcut keys are actually part of Microsoft Windows, and they work across most Windows programs. Here are some of the most commonly used ones:
  • Ctrl + S = Save all open Projects
  • Ctrl + P = Print (current chapter or book)
  • Ctrl + O = Open Project or Resource
  • F1 = Search menus/help
  • Ctrl + C = Copy selected text
  • Ctrl + X = Cut selected text
  • Ctrl + V = Paste selection (from clipboard memory)
  • Ctrl + Z = Undo last text edit
  • Ctrl + Y = Redo last text edit
  • Ctrl + F = Find text in a project or resource
  • Ctrl + H = Replace text in a project
  • Shift + Arrow keys = Select text
  • Shift + Ctrl + Arrow keys = Select whole words at a time

Save all

While clicking on the Save icon on the tool bar is quick, you might find it helpful to press Ctrl + S to save important changes without reaching for the mouse.  Ctrl + S saves changes to the hard drive of your computer. Saving frequently can help avoid losing changes due to a power failure, and must be done before a Send/Receive.

Print

The Ctrl + P shortcut will send the project in focus to your printer.  Paratext does minimal formatting of the text before printing, but this is a quick way to get a draft onto paper. Note: Paratext will print the current chapter, unless you have selected Show all chapters for the project.

Open

The Ctrl + O shortcut will open the Open dialogue window:
  1. Press Ctrl + O.
  2. Use the mouse to select the project/resource that you want to open.
    1. Double-click a project/resource to open it immediately.
    2. OR… single-click on the project/resource and press Alt + O to open it.
  3. You can also open multiple projects/resources at a time:
    1. Use Ctrl + Click to select more than one project/resource: Use Ctrl click to select multiple projects or resources.
    2. Use Shift + Click to select a block of projects/resources: Use Shift click to select a block of projects or resources.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Note: You can press Esc to cancel the operation.

Search Menus/Help

This works differently in Paratext 8 and 9.

Paratext 9

In Paratext 9, pressing F1 will put your cursor in the Search menus/help box.  You then type the topic or menu item you are searching for (for example: flex): Use F1 keyboard shortcut to search the menus and help Notice that this searches for menu items (1) and help topics (2).

Paratext 8

In Paratext 8, F1 will open the Help system directly and you can search for the topic you are looking for there.

Select Text

You can use Shift + Left/Right arrow keys to select text:
  1. Hold Shift.
  2. Press the Left/Right arrow key repeatedly to select the text you want.

Select Whole Words

You can use Shift + Ctrl + Left/Right arrow keys to select whole words:
  1. Hold Shift + Ctrl.
  2. Press the Left/Right arrow key to select a whole word: Use Shift + Ctrl to select text.
  3. Keep pressing the Left/Right arrow keys to select the words you want: Use Shift + Ctrl to select more text.

Paratext-Specific Keyboard Shortcuts: Send/Receive and Print Draft

  • Ctrl + Shift + S = Send/Receive Projects
  • Ctrl + Shift + P = Export Draft PDF

Send/Receive

Sending and receiving changes with the Paratext server or other shared location is an important feature of Paratext.  The Ctrl + Shift + S shortcut will execute the last successful Send/Receive that you did.  It is the same as clicking on the Send/Receive icon on the tool bar: Use Ctrl + Shift + S to repeat the last Send/Receive you completed.

Export PDF

This Ctrl + Shift + P shortcut opens Paratext’s Export draft PDF dialogue.  Many teams prefer this method of printing drafts because it both gives them more control over the look of the printout, and Paratext does more formatting to produce a more finished looking document. (For even better looking printouts check out SIL’s new PTX Print.

Most Popular Keyboard Shortcut at Workshops

  • Alt + Arrow Up/Down = Show previous/next Results list item for the project that created the Results list.
Word searches and Basic Checks are some of the most common tasks that produce lists of results, and it is common to have a long list in a Results list window to work through.  In this example I searched for the phrase “I am” in the Gospels and Acts.  Paratext found 183 matches.  I can press Alt + Down arrow to work through the list without taking my hands from the keyboard. Navigate a results list with the Alt + Up/Down keyboard shortcut.

Navigation Shortcuts

Moving between books, chapters and verses is a core activity in Bible translation. Paratext has several keyboard shortcuts that can help you move around in a text without removing your hands from the keyboard.
  • Ctrl + Arrow Down = Next Verse
    • Ctrl + Arrow Up for previous verse
  • F8 = Next Chapter
    • Ctrl + F8 for previous chapter
  • F9 = Next Book
    • Ctrl + F9 for previous book
  • Alt + Arrow Left/Right = previous/next reference in the verse history
    • (History here means verses previously displayed in the current session.)
  • Ctrl + B = Go to Book/Reference
Most of these are self-explanatory, but a few are worth commenting on.

Go to Book

The keyboard shortcut Ctrl + B (Go to Book) is very useful!  It allows you to change book, chapter, and verse without removing your hands from the keyboard:
  1. Press Ctrl + B to put your cursor in book drop-down box in the toolbar.
    1. Type the book abbreviation.
  2. Press either Tab or Space bar to move to the chapter box.
    1. Type the chapter.
  3. Press either Tab or Space bar to move to the verse box.
    1. Type the verse number.
  4. Press Enter.
Some translation consultants have told me that the really like using Ctrl + B because it allows them to move around faster within a text.  For more details on using Ctrl + B watch this video.

Previous/Next Reference in History

You can use Alt + Left arrow and Alt + Right arrow to go to the previous/next reference in your verse history. This is the same as using the Forward and Back arrow icons on the toolbar: Use the Alt + Left or Alt + Right keyboard shortcuts to go to the previous/next verse in your verse history.

Inserting Footnotes and Cross References with Shortcut Keys

  • Ctrl + T = Insert footnote
  • Ctrl + Shift + T = Insert cross reference
If your workflow is to add footnotes and cross references all at the same time, then it might be worth memorizing these two shortcuts.
  1. Place the cursor at the relevant spot in the text (or highlight the relevant word or phrase).
  2. Press Ctrl + T for a footnote or Ctrl + Shift +T for a cross reference.
  3. The footnote/cross reference is created with the cursor in the appropriate place to begin typing the text of the footnote: Insert a footnote or cross-reference with a keyboard shortcut.
This can be especially helpful because footnotes usually involve typing some sort of explanatory information. With this shortcut, you don’t even have to remove you hands from the keyboard.

Keyboard Shortcuts for Project Notes

Project notes are where much of the checking and collaboration within a team or with a translation consultant takes place. It is a common task to have to work through several chapters’ or even books’ worth of project notes at a time. Below are some keyboard shortcuts and other techniques can make this task more efficient.

Creating a Project Note

  • Ctrl + Shift + N = Create New Project Note
If you create a lot of project notes, consider memorizing Ctrl + Shift + N.
  1. Place the cursor at the relevant spot in the text (or highlight the relevant word or phrase).
  2. Press Ctrl + Shift + N.
  3. This will create a project note with the cursor ready for you to type your comment or question: Create a new project note with the Ctrl + Shift + N keyboard shortcut.

Formatting a Project Note

When typing a project note, you can use these shortcuts for adding bold or italics to your text:
  • Ctrl + B = Make the selected text bold or toggle bolding on/off: Make the text of a project note bold with Ctrl + B.
  • Ctrl + I = Make the selected text italic or toggle italics on/off: Make the text of a project note italic with Ctrl + I.

Assigning a Project Note

  • Alt + A = go to the Assign To drop-down list.
Once you have created a project note, you can assign it to someone without using the mouse:
  1. Press Alt + A.
  2. Use the Up or Down arrow keys to choose Unassigned, Team, or an individual team member.
  3. Press Alt + O (This will save your choice and close the note dialogue).
    1. OR… Press Tab until the OK button is selected, then press Enter.

Closing a Project Note After Reading it

  • Alt + R = Save the changes, resolve the note, and close the window
  • Alt + Enter = Save the changes and close the window

Commenting on a Project Note Then Closing it

  1. Click on the note to open it.
  2. Type your comment.
  3. Press Alt + Enter (This will save your comment and close the note dialogue).
    1. OR… Press Tab until the OK button is selected, then press Enter.

Reading and Resolving a Project Note

  1. Click on the note to open it.
  2. Type your comment if needed.
  3. Press Alt + R (This will save your comment, close the note dialogue, and resolve the note).
    1. OR… Press Tab until the Resolve button is selected, then press Enter.

Canceling out of a Project Note

  1. Press Tab until the Cancel button is selected.
  2. Press Enter to cancel and close the note dialogue.
    1. Note: This cancellation procedure may be used anytime the note is open.

When Keyboard Shortcuts Do Not Work

Some keyboard shortcuts may already be in use by your system and therefore won’t work in Paratext. For example:
  • On my laptop, Alt + R works fine to resolve a note.
  • But on my desktop, Alt + R opened the control setting for my Radeon video adaptor.
If this is the case, the tab key methods described above may help.

Shortcut for Moving Between Project Notes

I have been asked if there are keyboard shortcuts for moving to the next note.  Some users would like to do this because they frequently need to go through many notes in one setting. The shortcuts for moving between project notes only work in the Project Notes List window.  If you don’t already work with notes from the Project Notes List window, try it and see if you are able to work through a long list of notes faster this way. First, you need to open the Notes list window:
  1. Go to the Project menu > Tools > Notes list: Open the Notes list from the Project menu.
  2. Click on the name of the desired project in the list.
  3. You can also open notes for multiple projects in the same Notes list window:
    1. Use Ctrl + Click to select more than one project.
    2. Use Shift + Click to select a block of projects.
  4. Click OK.
You can do all your normal Notes tasks (read, comment, assign, and resolve) from the Notes List window.  Plus you gain the ability to have Paratext move directly between notes:
  • F12 = Expand/Collapse the selected note
  • Ctrl + Shift + Arrow Up/Down = Collapse/Expand all notes
  • Alt + Arrow Up/Down = Select the previous/next note in the list
  • Alt + Home/End = Select the first/last note
  • Alt + R = Resolve the note
  • Alt + Enter = Save the changes and close the window
  • Tab key = Move between buttons

Other Keyboard Shortcuts

This article covered several of the most popular keyboard shortcuts in Paratext, but there are many more (almost 100) listed in Help! You can find the full list by typing shortcut in the Search menus/help box: Search the Help for shortcut You can also see additional shortcuts in both the Paratext and Project menus. When you hover over a menu item, the keyboard shortcut for that menu item will appear in the lower-left corner of the menu (if it exists): Find a keyboard shortcut by hovering over a menu item. I just used this to discover the Undo tab move shortcut key. YES!!

Conclusion

In every major section of Paratext, there are keyboard shortcuts that can help you…
  • Work more efficiently.
  • Make repetitive tasks easier.
  • Switch less often between using the keyboard and the mouse.
Learning a few of these shortcuts could make a big difference in your everyday translation work.