Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmx DOT com

Science in London: The 2016 scientific society talks in London blog post

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Alt+Shift+5: How to strikethrough text on Google Drive (Google Docs as was) - Option+Shift+5 for Macs

Being able to delete text without deleting removing it is a useful thing as you can see how a document has changed, or in some cases how thinking has changed during the editing process.

Strikethrough text options let you do a very minor example of version control. Here is an example of text that has been (can we use the past tense for this...?!) 'struck through' using the strikethrough tool on Blogger, which looks like this ABC.

It's something that I see used a lot on blog posts including my own. New info comes to light so you want to correct things, without necessarily pretending that you got them right first time. It can also be used extremely effectively in contentious posts as this subtly edited Cancer Research UK Science Blog post shows. Supporters of the expensive and unproven Burzynski cancer intervention wanted certain things changed on the post, they almost got their way ;)

In html you can just append the strike tag around the word to be amended (no spaces between the angle brackets though, I had to write it like that so that it would show up on the screen).
< strike > TEXT < /strike >
On Google Drive / Google Docs there doesn't appear to be an obvious button to click to strikethrough text - but it is possible to do this, with this keyboard shortcut:

PC: Alt + Shift + 5
Mac: Option + Shift + 5

In the menu options Strikethrough can be found in Format - which isn't that surprising. But I like keyboard shortcuts.

More Google Drive / Docs keyboard shortcuts for Mac and PC

The StackExchange page that told me about this, when I googled for help


  1. Past tense might be "struck-out"? I'm tempted to say redacted, but that implies that the original text is obscured and ureadable

    1. I realised I hadn't replied, sorry! Yes 'struck out' would surely work as a past tense and I agree with your point about redacted which generally seems to suggest an intent to excise both the content on the page and perhaps any implicating reference to it (the whole 'metadata' thing). I've also seen strikethrough used as a comedic device in writing and wondered how long the history of using it like that might be

  2. Just the tip I was looking for! Thanks.

  3. Perfect tip--I appreciate you putting the shortcut in the article title :)

    1. Oh that was quite helpful of me wasn't it! I'd not done it on purpose but will make note for future reference :) Glad you found it useful.

  4. For Mac, El Cap, Option + Shift + 5 wasn't working. It was leaving a strange character which I can't copy and paste here, but looked like an fi with a strikethrough. I tried different ways to accomplish it, but couldn't until I realized that when I would undo the fi, strikethrough, the text would come back, except as I wanted it, struckthrough! Very strange, and one extra step, but now I know how to make it work, so very good.

  5. (sorry if this is a repeat, but my comment keeps disappearing when I preview it; will simply Publish instead) I should append to my last comment that it is only in Google Documents (not Sheets) that Option+Shift+5 only works after you undo the strange character it creates. It works just fine in Sheets.


Comment policy: I enthusiastically welcome corrections and I entertain polite disagreement ;) Because of the nature of this blog it attracts a LOT - 5 a day at the moment - of spam comments (I write about spam practices,misleading marketing and unevidenced quackery) and so I'm more likely to post a pasted version of your comment, removing any hyperlinks.

Comments written in ALL CAPS LOCK will be deleted and I won't publish any pro-homeopathy comments, that ship has sailed I'm afraid (it's nonsense).