Become a Word Power User and Create Your Own Keyboard Shortcuts [No Programming Required]

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated April 7, 2018

Applies to: Microsoft Word 2010, 2013 and 2016 (Windows)

You can save time and work more efficiently in Microsoft Word by writing your own keyboard shortcuts for frequently-used commands. It’s not difficult to do, just a bit hard to find. You can become a Word power user in no time using this technique.

Keep in mind that there are already tons of great shortcuts available in Word by default. When writing keyboard shortcuts, begin with Control or a function key. Let’s assume that you want the shortcuts you create to be global so save the key assignments in the Normal (default) template.

Recommended articles: 10 Hidden Microsoft Word Features Every User Should Know and 10 Timesaving Microsoft Word Shortcuts

Assigning a keyboard shortcut using a mouse

To assign a keyboard shortcut in Microsoft Word using a mouse, you will need to access Word’s Options (shown below).

Word options dialog with customize selected.

To assign a keyboard shortcut:

  1. Click the File tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Click Options.
  3. In the left panel, click Customize Ribbon.
  4. At the bottom, beside Keyboard Shortcuts, click Customize. The Customize Keyboard dialog box appears.
  5. On the left under Categories, click the desired Category.
  6. On the right under Commands, click the desired command.
  7. Click the box below Press new shortcut key.
  8. Press the keys you wish to assign (at the same time). You can use Control + Alt + a letter so that there is no conflict with a previously assigned shortcut. You don’t want to reassign common shortcuts such as Control + P.
  9. Click Assign.
  10. Click Close.
  11. Click OK in the Options dialog box.

Below is the Customize Keyboard dialog box:

Word customize keyboard dialog box.

Assigning a keyboard shortcut using a keyboard

To assign a shortcut in Microsoft Word using a keyboard:

  1. Press Alt + F to access the File tab in the Ribbon and then press T to open the Word Options dialog box.
  2. Press the down arrow until you have selected Customize Ribbon in the categories on the left.
  3. Press Tab repeatedly until the Customize button is selected.
  4. Press Enter. The Customize Keyboard dialog box appears.
  5. In the Categories area, press the down arrow or up arrow to select the category that contains the command or other item to which you want to assign a keyboard shortcut.
  6. Press the Tab key to move to the Commands area.
  7. Press the down arrow or up arrow to select the command or other item to which you want to assign a keyboard shortcut.
  8. Press the Tab key repeatedly until the cursor is in the Press new shortcut key box.
  9. Press the combination of keys that you want to assign. For example, press CTRL + Alt + the letter that you want to use.
  10. Press the Tab key repeatedly until Assign is selected.
  11. Press Enter to assign the keys.
  12. Press Enter to close the dialog box.
  13. Press Tab repeatedly until you have selected the OK button.
  14. Press Enter to select OK and close the Options dialog box.

If you’d like to learn more about getting the most out of Microsoft Word, check out our Microsoft Word: Intermediate/Advanced or Microsoft Word: Power User courses.

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