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I've a Mathematica notebook for my class notes. When writing plain text in cells, I can dynamically bold and unbold with the ctrl+b shortcut. However, when in a mathematical expression, this shortcut only works when the selection to have its face changed is highlighted first (which slows workflow down). The same thing goes for italicizing and underlining.

Is it possible to change face as you type in an expression?

To illustrate, with plain text:

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In an expression, have to type, then highlight text, then press ctrl+b:

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  • $\begingroup$ It's probably possible but what I do is create an input auto replacement. $\endgroup$ – Michael McCain Sep 28 '15 at 1:56
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I suggest using an inputautoreplacement to handle this. Use this:

"si" -> StyleBox["\[Placeholder]", FontSlant -> "Italic"]

Once this is added to the frontend then whenever you press "si" in a text cell a placeholder is created which you can tab into and make anything italicized. It's fast and easy. Hope this helps.

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