Many commands in Word have keyboard shortcuts assigned to them, making it quicker to apply formatting, save the file, and perform other tasks on your documents. These keyboard shortcuts can be customized, and you can assign shortcuts to commands that do not currently have them.

We will show you how to access the keyboard shortcuts for commands in Word and add new shortcuts or change current ones.

There are a couple of ways to access the options screen for customizing the Ribbon, which is where the dialog box for customizing keyboard shortcuts is located. One method is to click the FILE tab.

Click Options on the menu list on the left.

On the Word Options dialog box, click Customize Ribbon in the menu list on the left.

A quicker way to access the Customize Ribbon screen on the Word Options dialog box is to right-click on one of the section titles on any of the tabs on the Ribbon. Select Customize the Ribbon from the popup menu.

On the left side of the Customize Ribbon screen is a list of commands. Click the Customize button below this list next to Keyboard shortcuts.

The Customize Keyboard dialog box displays. To list all commands in the Commands list on the right, select All Commands in the Categories list. If you know what category contains the command to which you want to assign a shortcut key, you can select that category to narrow the list of commands on the right.

Select the desired command from the Commands list. If there is no shortcut key listed in the Current keys box, there is currently no shortcut key assigned to the selected command.

To assign a shortcut key to the command, put the cursor in the Press new shortcut key edit box and press the desired shortcut key. If the shortcut key is not in use by any other command in Word, the Currently assigned to field below the Current keys box displays “[unassigned]”. Click Assign to assign the selected shortcut key to the currently selected command.

NOTE: If you enter a keyboard shortcut that is already assigned to another command, Word informs you that it’s currently assigned and displays the command to which it’s assigned. Simply type in other shortcut keys until you find one that says “[unassigned]” as shown above.

Once you click Assign, the shortcut key is added to the Current keys list.

NOTE: You can assign more than one shortcut key to one command.

Click Close to close the Customize Keyboard dialog.

NOTE: To remove a shortcut key from a command, select it in the Current keys list and click Remove.

Click OK on the Word Options dialog box to close it.

You can also change an existing shortcut key for a command by removing the current key and assigning a new one.

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Lori Kaufman is a technology expert with 25 years of experience. She's been a senior technical writer, worked as a programmer, and has even run her own multi-location business.
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