How to Continue Editing a Document from Last Cursor Save Position in Microsoft Word

679723 How to Continue Editing a Document from Last Cursor Save Position in Microsoft Word

Editing long documents in Microsoft Word can be tedious, especially when you have to manually scroll through pages of text to find your last editing location. Fortunately, Word has some useful features that allow you to quickly jump back to the cursor position from your previous editing session.

Learning how to return to your last cursor position can save you significant time when working on lengthy Word documents. This article will teach you multiple methods to resume editing right where you left off.

Why Save Cursor Position in Word?

When you save a Word document, the program records the current cursor position in that file. This allows you to later open the document and jump directly to that spot instead of having to scroll around searching for where you last edited.

The ability to snap back to your cursor position from a previous session provides the following benefits:

  • Saves time – No need to manually browse the document to find your spot
  • More efficient editing – Quickly continue where you left off
  • Convenient – Cursor position automatically recorded and retrievable

For long reports, manuscripts, dissertations and other multi-page projects, returning to your cursor position keeps you focused and productive.

Keyboard Shortcut to Return to Cursor Position

The fastest way to jump back to your last cursor save position is using the Shift+F5 keyboard shortcut.

Here is how it works:

  1. Open the Word document you want to resume editing
  2. Press Shift+F5 on your keyboard
  3. The cursor will snap back to the position that was saved from your last editing session
  • You can continue pressing Shift+F5 to cycle between your most recent cursor positions if you have multiple saved places from different sessions.
  • This keyboard shortcut only works for Word 97-2003 (.doc) documents. It does NOT function for the newer .docx Word files.

The Shift+F5 method will NOT return your cursor position if you were previously scrolling through the document using the Page Up/Page Down keys rather than arrow keys. The position also will not be saved if you close the file without saving changes.

Overall though, the Shift+F5 shortcut is the fastest way to get back to your last editing spot when working with lengthy .doc files.

Resume Reading View

Modern versions of Microsoft Word have a special Resume Reading view that makes returning to your last read position in a document simple.

Resume Reading is available in Word 2013 and above.

Here’s how to use it:

  1. With your document open in Word, click on the View tab
  2. Select Resume Reading near the right-side of the ribbon
  3. Word will automatically scroll to display the paragraph of text where you left off from your last session

Resume Reading Button

What makes Resume Reading so useful is that:

  • It works for both .doc and .docx file formats
  • It syncs your last reading position across devices, so you can pick up editing on your laptop, desktop, or mobile where you left off on another gadget
  • You can return to your spot as many times as needed by clicking the blue bookmark icon that appears in the left margin

The one catch is that Resume Reading requires Word 2013 or later. So if you are still using Word 2010 or 2007, this method will not be available.

Using Bookmarks to Save Position

A manual approach you can use with any version of Word is to insert bookmarks at locations where you pause editing. You can then leverage these bookmarks to snap back to later.

Here is the process:

  1. While editing your document, place your cursor at the position where you want to stop
  2. Click the Insert tab and select Bookmark
  3. Name your bookmark something like “Friday editing”, click Add
  4. When ready to resume editing, press Ctrl+G to open the Go To dialog box
  5. Type in the name of the bookmark you want to jump to
  6. Click Go To, and Word navigates back to your bookmark

The benefits of using bookmarks are:

  • Works in all versions of Microsoft Word
  • Lets you manually save specific positions, not just the last cursor place
  • Can add descriptive names to bookmarks for easy reference

The downsides are:

  • More time consuming than the automated Shift+F5 or Resume Reading options
  • Have to manually add a bookmark each time you stop editing

So leveraging bookmarks can be helpful if the other cursor return options are not available or sufficient, but otherwise the keyboard shortcut or Resume Reading features are much quicker.

Limitations to Cursor Position Saving

While Word offers various ways to get back to your last editing spot, there are some limitations to be aware of:

  • The Shift+F5 keyboard shortcut only works for .doc files, NOT the newer .docx format
  • Cursor position is not saved if scrolling with Page Up/Page Down keys instead of arrow keys
  • Word 2007 and earlier do not have the Resume Reading function
  • Automated cursor saving can be unreliable at times for some users

So that covers some of the potential issues you may encounter. But overall these return-to-cursor features provide big time savings for most editing use cases.

Summary of Methods to Resume Editing Position

To wrap up, here is a comparison of the main options covered to continue editing a Word document from your last cursor position:

MethodHow To AccessWord VersionsFile TypesNotes
Shift+F5Keyboard shortcut97-2003+.doc onlyFastest option, but no .docx support
Resume ReadingView tab2013+.doc & .docxSyncs across devices
BookmarksInsert tabAll versionsAll formatsMore manual process

As highlighted, the Shift+F5 shortcut and Resume Reading view provide the most convenient ways to get back into a document where you left off. Use bookmarks if those other options are unavailable or not working reliably.

Leveraging these return-to-cursor capabilities can significantly boost your productivity when editing lengthy Word docs! No more wasting time scrolling around pages trying to find your last editing spot.

Hope this tutorial gives you the tools to streamline your document editing. Use these Word features to eliminate redundant navigation and stay focused on writing.

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