Microsoft Word Shortcut Keys

One of the best ways to increase your productivity is to take advantage of shortcut keys in Microsoft Word. Word includes shortcuts for most common functions right out of the box, though you can also declare your own shortcuts. In this article, we will take a look at some of the most commonly used shortcuts in Word, how to use ALT key shortcuts, and how to create your own shortcuts.

For more power-user tips on Word, check out this course on advanced functions in Microsoft Word 2013.

Common Shortcuts in Microsoft Word

Let’s take a look at the shortcut keys you’ll turn to most often in your everyday tasks:

Function

Shortcut

Description

Bold

CTRL + B

Makes the text bold

Italic

CTRL + I

Italicizes the text

Underline

CTRL + U

Underlines the text

Increase Font Size

CTRL + SHIFT + >

Increases the font size by one factor. Same as pressing the button. After 12pt, font size increases by two points with each press.

Decrease Font Size

CTRL + SHIFT + <

Decreases the font size one facto. Same as pressing the  button. After 12pt, font size decreases by two points with each press.

Left Align

CTRL + L

Aligns the selected text to the left

Center Align

CTRL + E

Aligns the text to the center

Right Align

CTRL + R

Aligns the text to the right

Justify

CTRL + J

Justifies the selected paragraph

Font Format

CTRL + D

Opens the font format window where you can select the font size, family, color, etc.

Indent Paragraph

CTRL + M

Indents the selected paragraph. Equivalent to pressing TAB once.

Show/Hide Formatting Symbols

CTRL + * (i.e. CTRL + SHIFT + 8)

Shows all the formatting symbols on page. Same as pressing the button.

Change Font

CTRL + SHIFT + F

Opens the font format window with the font highlighted. A faster way to change font than pressing CTRL + D

Increase Font Size by One Pt.

CTRL + ]

Increases font size by only one point, regardless of current size.

Decrease Font Size by One Pt.

CTRL + [

Decreases font size by only one point, regardless of current size.

Redo

CTRL + Y

Repeats the last action

Undo

CTRL + Z

Undo the last action

Find

CTRL + F

Find specific text/characters in the document

Replace

CTRL + H

Replace specific text/characters in the document

Select All

CTRL + A

Selects all text on the page. Useful for copy-pasting entire documents

Copy

CTRL + C

Standard keyboard shortcut for copying anything. Applicable across Windows

Cut

CTRL + X

Instead of making a copy, removes the text from the current location and copies it to the clipboard, from where it can be pasted into another location

Paste

CTRL + V

Pastes anything from the clipboard into your current location

Save

CTRL + S

Saves the current document in your specified location

Open

CTRL + O

Opens an existing document

New

CTRL + N

Creates a new document

Move Cursor One Word to the Left

CTRL + 

Moves the cursor one word to the left

Move Cursor One Word to the Right

CTRL + 

Moves the cursor one word to the right

Move Cursor to Line Start

CTRL + Up-arrow

Moves cursor to the beginning of the current paragraph

Move Cursor to Line End

CTRL + Down-arrow

Moves cursor to the end of current paragraph

Delete Word to the Left

CTRL + Backspace

Deletes any element to the left of the current cursor position

Delete Word to the Right

CTRL + Delete

Deletes any element to the right of the current cursor position

Move to Document End

CTRL + End

Moves cursor to the end of the document

Move to Document Start

CTRL + Home

Moves cursor to the beginning of the document

Single Line Spacing

CTRL + 1

Changes line-spacing to single space

Double Line Spacing

CTRL + 2

Changes to double line spacing

Save As

F12

Opens the ‘Save As’ dialog box

Print

CTRL + P

Opens the Print dialog box

Find/Replace

F5

Opens the find/replace/go-to dialog box

Spell Check

F7

Opens the spell check

Insert Link

CTRL + K

Inserts a link at the current location

To learn how to use all the functions listed above, check out this guide to MS Word for intermediate users.

How to Use the ALT Key Shortcuts

You’ll notice that the above list leaves out several functions such as inserting images, tables, etc. This is because Word doesn’t have built-in shortcuts for these functions. However, instead of creating your own specific shortcuts (see below), you can use Word’s powerful ALT key shortcuts to trigger these functions.

Let’s see how this works:

1. Press the ALT key on your keyboard. You’ll see a bunch of letters floating above different tabs.

2. Pressing any of the keys will show you shortcuts for different functions in that particular tab.

For example, if I want to change the font, I can press ALT, then H (to highlight the Home tab), then quickly press F twice (since the shortcut for changing font is ‘FF’ as seen above). This will highlight the font selection menu.

Once you get the hang of this, it’ll boost your productivity twofold. Inserting an image, for instance, becomes as easy as pressing ALT, then N (for ‘Insert tab’), then P (for ‘Picture’). Inserting a table, on the other hand, requires pressing ALT, then N, then T. You can insert SmartArt by pressing ALT, N, M; bookmarks by pressing ALT, N, I, and an equation with ALT, N, and E.

You can learn about more advanced Word features in this course.

How to Create Your Own Shortcuts

Sometimes, Microsoft’s built-in shortcut keys won’t suffice. In such a situation, you’ll need to create your own shortcuts. Thankfully, Microsoft Word makes this pretty easy to do – just follow the instructions below to get started.

1. Go to File -> Options

2. Click on ‘Customize Ribbon’, then click on ‘Customize…’ next to Keyboard shortcuts

3. In the window that pops up, you can declare your own shortcut keys for individual functions on different tabs. To create a new shortcut, you just need to highlight the appropriate function, press the desired shortcut in the ‘Press new shortcut key’ field, click ‘Assign’, and press okay.

For example, to change the shortcut for ‘Increase Indent’ (the  button), we’ll click on the Home Tab under categories, highlight the IncreaseIndent field, and press our new shortcut (in this case, CTRL + SHIFT + I), as can be seen below:

That’s it! After clicking ‘Assign’, you can start using the shortcut right away!

Want to use more advanced Word features? Take this course to discover how to best use Microsoft Word 2013.

What are your personal favorite Word shortcuts? Let us know in the comments below!