By Sean Sandoval. Improving your financial reporting formatting practices can have a great impact on the readability of your company’s financial disclosures. Using shortcuts and automating some parts of your content can save you valuable time and energy when preparing for a filing deadline. In this post we describe a few formatting tricks that will save you time and make your reporting process easier!
Insert Any Special Character with a Single Keystroke
Using symbols and special characters (such as currencies, fractions, and ratios) in financial reports is quite common, but seeking them out every time from the symbol menu can be frustrating. Microsoft® assigned a built-in shortcut key code for each symbol, but these are not easy to remember as they usually consist of a combination of numeric and other characters. (Consider remembering 2248, Alt+X shortcut for an Almost Equal To symbol (?) – that doesn’t seem very short!) You can assign your own shortcut keys to symbols you insert often so you don’t have to open the symbol dialog box every time or remember multiple number codes.
To assign a shortcut key, follow these steps:
- Click the Symbol button in the Symbols section of the Insert tab and select More Symbols.
- Select your symbol from the symbol dialog box and click on the Shortcut Key button:
3. Assign a shortcut key to the selected symbol in the Press new shortcut key field:
Then click Assign and close the dialog box. Now, taking the previous example, you can insert the Almost Equal To symbol (?) by using your new shortcut [Alt+Ctrl+=].
You can also assign or change shortcut keys for special characters, such as spaces, dashes, and hyphens. For example, you can assign [Alt+Ctrl+S] for a Section character (§).
“AutoFormat As You Type” and “AutoCorrect”
Many symbols are or can be entered in Word automatically through the action of AutoFormat As You Type and AutoCorrect. These can be tremendously helpful features, but if you don’t understand how it works, they can be very distracting.
AutoFormat As You Type is responsible for automatic bulleted and numbered lists, replacing straight quotation marks with curved, open- and closed-quotation marks, replacing typed Internet addresses, network paths, and e-mail addresses with hyperlinks.
To modify AutoFormat As You Type settings, follow these steps:
- Click the File tab.
- On the File screen, choose Options. (The Word Options dialog box will appear.)
- Select Proofing from the left side of the window.
- Click the button labeled AutoCorrect Options.
5. Click the AutoFormat As You Type tab in the AutoCorrect dialog box, select the automations you want, and deselect those you do not want.
AutoCorrect dwells in the same location as AutoFormat As You Type. With AutoCorrect you can:
- Automatically detect and correct typos and misspelled words.
- Insert some special characters symbols. For example, type (e) to insert €. You can add your own entries in the AutoCorrect tab shown above.
- Quickly insert any long pieces of text. For example, if you need to repeatedly enter a phrase such as return on investment, you can set up the program to automatically enter this phrase when you type roi.
Tip: Whenever Word converts anything you type into something you don’t want, you can reverse just the AutoCorrect or AutoFormat with Undo (Ctrl+Z)!
Most commonly used shortcuts
As you explore the new formatting features for your reports, don’t forget to use these simple shortcuts to modify your content and work more quickly within your documents. (Download the full version here)
Document formatting is one of the key processes in preparing your financial disclosures, and leveraging MS Office tools and shortcuts can add to efficiency and clarity of your reports. Read this blog to learn how to use functional formatting to make your documents well-structured and reader-friendly, and download our 4 Step Guide to Improved Regulatory Reporting for more tips on efficient reporting processes.