AutoText entries are reusable chunks of text you can insert into documents using just a few keystrokes, saving you a lot of typing. However, you can add keyboard shortcut keys to AutoText entries, making it even faster.

RELATED: How to Quickly Insert Blocks of Text in Microsoft Word with AutoText

Adding a shortcut key to an AutoText entry allows you to insert it without having to type any of the AutoText entry’s name. Simply press the shortcut key, and the large block of text will appear in your document. This may not seem like it would save a lot of time, but if you have a lot of AutoText entries you use regularly, the little bit of time you save inserting each entry can add up.

If you want to add a shortcut key to a custom AutoText entry you create, first set up your AutoText entry as described in our guide. You can also add shortcut keys to built-in AutoText entries.

For this demonstration, we’ll add a shortcut key to the “Address” AutoText entry we created in the article referenced above. Create a new Word document or open an Existing one and click the “File” tab.

On the backstage screen, click “Options” in the list of items on the left.

The “Word Options” dialog box displays. Click “Customize Ribbon” in the list of items on the left.

In the right pane, below the list of commands, click “Customize” next to “Keyboard shortcuts”.

In the list of “Categories” on the “Customize Keyboard” dialog box, scroll down and select “Building Blocks”.

All available building blocks display in the “Building Blocks” list on the right. Scroll down, if necessary, and select the AutoText entry to which you want to add a shortcut key. Here, we’ve selected our “Address” AutoText entry.

Click in the “Press new shortcut key” edit box and then press the shortcut key you want to use. The key combination displays in the edit box. If that key combination is already assigned to another function, that function is listed below the “Current keys” list box, next to “Currently assigned to”. In our example, we tried to assign “Ctrl + Shift + A” to our “Address” AutoText entry, but that key combination is already assigned to “AllCaps”. You can reassign the key combination to your AutoText entry, but we decided not to.

Instead, we tried “Alt + Ctrl + A” instead and discovered that key combination is unassigned. To finalize the shortcut key assignment, click “Assign”.

The chosen shortcut key is added to the “Current keys” list. You can add multiple shortcut keys to one AutoText entry by repeating this process. When you’re done assigning shortcut keys, click “Close”.

You are returned to the “Word Options” dialog box. Click “OK” to close it.

Now we can use “Alt + Ctrl + A” to insert our “Address” AutoText entry into any Word document as we type.

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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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