Even the best writers make mistakes, like typing something incorrectly or deleting the wrong word. Fortunately, Microsoft Word has solutions for these slip-ups: the 'Undo' and 'Redo' features. 'Undo' helps you cancel your last action if you've made an error, while 'Redo' reverses your last undo if you changed your mind. Additionally, Word offers a 'Repeat' feature to redo your most recent action. Here's a quick guide on how to use Undo, Redo, and Repeat in Microsoft Word.

Undo an Action or a Change in MS Word

The undo feature is a handy tool that helps you fix mistakes, whether they're minor or major, by letting you go back a step. It's versatile and can be used to correct anything from typos, accidentally deleting text, to unwanted formatting changes. Not just limited to text, you can also undo actions involving entire sentences or paragraphs.

However, it's worth noting that in Microsoft Office, there's a limit to this helpful feature. You can only undo your last 100 actions. This applies to both single and multiple changes in Word.

Undo a Single Action

The undo feature allows you to reverse any action including typing or removing text, formatting, or moving words, sentences, or paragraphs. There are two ways to undo a change:

  • Simple press the Ctrl+Z on your keyboard. For Apple desktop or laptop pressCommand+Z.
  • Click the ‘Undo’ button on the Quick Access Toolbar (Backward facing bent arrow).

You can undo multiple steps in Word. Each time you click the Undo button or Ctrl+Z, it will take you back another step. If you want to undo multiple steps, keep pressing the Undo button or the shortcut as far you need.

Also, you can only undo the steps in the order you did, you cannot skip steps. For example, if you typed or deleted 5 words and want to undo the 2nd word, you can only undo that word after removing or undoing the last three words.

Undo Multiple Actions

You can also undo multiple steps at a time by using the Undo command. For instance, if you have 10 steps you need to reverse, you don’t have to keep pressing the Undo button 10 times until you undo them all, you can just select all 10 actions from the list of actions under the Undo command to remove them.

To undo multiple steps together, click the drop-down arrow next to the ‘Undo’ button in the Quick Access toolbar. And you will a list of all the separate changes you have made in the document will appear. Each action will have a name that will tell you what kind of action it is. For example, the text you deleted will appear as ‘Clear’ in the list.

Then, move the mouse pointer down as far as you want to undo and click on the list to select all the actions up to that point. However, you cannot undo a single action from the middle of the list.

As soon as you select the actions from the list, all of them will be undone.

If you have done too many changes and you want to remove all the changes you have made to the file, you can just close the document without saving changes and reopen it. When closing the document, make sure to click the ‘Don’t Save’ button. This will restore the document to the previously saved version.

Redo an Action in Word

The Redo command is the opposite or reverse of Undo. It restores what you have just undone. For example, if you formatted a text string and removed that formatting with an Undo command. But later if you decided to bring back the formatting, you can use the Redo command to accomplish that.

The Redo button will only appear after you undo something, until then you will only see the ‘Undo’ and ‘Repeat’ buttons.

Similar to the Undo command, you also have two ways to perform a redo:

  • Just press the Ctrl+Y or F4 once on your keyboard. For Apple desktop or laptop pressCommand+Y.
  • Click the ‘Redo’ button once on the Quick Access Toolbar (Forward facing bent arrow).

Keep clicking the Redo button or pressing the shortcut key to redo as many actions as you want. Similar to Undo, you cannot redo a single action in the middle, you need to redo the actions in the order you undid them. However, you cannot redo multiple steps together, you can only redo one at a time.

How to Add Undo/Redo Buttons to the Quick Access Toolbar

If you can’t find the Undo and Redo buttons in the Quick Access Toolbar in the upper left corner of the Ribbon in Word, you can easily add it through Word Options. The Quick Access Toolbar is customizable, you can add or remove any tool or option in there. Follow these instructions to add the Undo and Redo buttons to the Quick Access Toolbar:

Go to the ‘File’ tab and select ‘Options’ from the backstage view.

In the Word Options dialog window, click the ‘Quick Access Toolbar’ section on the left pane.

From the ‘Choose commands’ drop-down menu, select ‘All Commands’ in the right pane.

Then, scroll down the list box below until you see ‘Undo’. Then, select it and click the ‘Add >>’ button. This adds the tool to the box on the right.

To add the Redo button, find the ‘Redo’ option from the same list box, select it, and then click the ‘Add >>’ to add the Redo button.

After that, click ‘OK’ to apply changes.

Repeat an Action

Repeat is another useful command in Word. It is a flexible and time-saving command that lets you repeat the last action you did in the Word. For example, if you are applying color formatting to a text, you can just use the Repeat command to apply the same formatting to multiple instances of text.

After performing an action, click the ‘Repeat’ button on the Quick Access Toolbar or press Ctrl+Y to repeat it.

Remember, it will only repeat the last step taken. If you press the Repeat command after typing a text, it will not repeat the text; it will only repeat the last character you typed.

That’s it.