Copy Paste – Part 12 – Reorder Content with Shift Alt Up/Down

The need

We often write in the order in which it comes to our mind. We then tend to reorder content by copy pasting it. There is a better method.

Just remember these very powerful shortcuts

Reorder content - keyboard shortcut for moving a bullet, line, paragraph, table row

Shift Alt Up / Down Arrow

Whenever you write content or text with paragraphs, in any Office product, you can use the Shift Alt Up and Down arrows to move it up or down.

This works with:

  1. Word paragraphs. DO NOT select the paragraph. Just click inside and use the shortcut
  2. Word Tables – reordering table rows is extremely painful if done manually. Try this shortcut and you will curse yourself for not knowing it for so many years!
  3. Word Outline view to reorder entire Headings or Sub-headings (provided these are collapsed)
  4. PowerPoint bullets
  5. PowerPoint SmartArt Text Editor
  6. Outlook (because it uses Word as the editor)
  7. OneNote
  8. It does NOT work with PowerPoint tables. Because these are more of graphical elements and not formal tables.
  9. Excel is a grid – therefore this method does not in Excel as well.

Shift Alt Right and Left Arrow

This is even more powerful.


In case of Word, by pressing Shift Alt Left arrow, you actually promote the heading style – or apply Heading1 Style.

If you use Shift Alt Right arrow, it demotes the style (and outline level)

This is the fastest way of creating documents with styles. No need to click on styles or use keyboard shortcuts which are more complex (Ctrl Alt 1 2 or 3).


Like Word, it can be used for promoting and demoting bullets.

Usually to create sub-level bullets we use TAB key. But that works just after a fresh new bullet is added. If you are somewhere in the middle of a paragraph, pressing TAB key will actually insert a tab and increase spacing.

However, Shift Alt Left / Right arrows work irrespective of where your cursor is.

Now the most powerful usage in PowerPoint is to edit hierarchical information in SmartArt Editor. Try to insert a SmartArt of type – Hierarchy – choose some Org Chart and then go to the editor. You can easily promote or demote items very quickly using this shortcut key.

Try these simple yet powerful shortcuts. Let me know your feedback. If you find more uses for this shortcut, do let me know.

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