All of the Best Microsoft Word Keyboard Shortcuts

Even if you’re familiar with Microsoft Word, you might be surprised the number and variety of keyboard shortcuts you can use to speed up your work, and just generally make things more convenient.

Now, does anyone expect you to memorize all these keyboard combos? Of course not! Everyone’s needs are different, so some will be more useful to you than others. And even if you just pick up a few new tricks, it’s worth it. We’ve also tried to keep the list clean and simple, so go ahead and print it that helps!

Also, even though our list of shortcuts here is pretty long, it’s by no means a complete list of every keyboard combo available in Word. We’ve tried to keep it to the more generally useful shortcuts. And, you’ll be happy to know that almost all of these shortcuts have been around for a long time, so they should be useful no matter what version of Word you’re using.

General Program Shortcuts

There are many general program shortcuts in Microsoft Word that make it easier for you to do everything from save your document to undo a mistake.

  • Ctrl+N: Create a new document
  • Ctrl+O: Open an existing document
  • Ctrl+S: Save a document
  • F12: Open the Save As dialog box
  • Ctrl+W: Close a document
  • Ctrl+Z: Undo an action
  • Ctrl+Y: Redo an action
  • Alt+Ctrl+S: Split a window or remove the split view
  • Ctrl+Alt+V: Print Layout View
  • Ctrl+Alt+O: Outline View
  • Ctrl+Alt+N: Draft View
  • Ctrl+F2: Print Preview View
  • F1: Open the Help pane
  • Alt+Q: Go to the “Tell me what you want to do” box
  • F9: Refresh the field codes in the current selection
  • Ctrl+F: Search a document
  • F7: Run a spelling and grammar check
  • Shift+F7: Open the thesaurus. If you have a word selected, Shift+F7 looks up that word in the thesaurus.

Moving Around in a Document

You can use keyboard shortcuts to easily navigate throughout your document. This can save time if you have a long document and don’t want to scroll through the entire thing, or simply want to easily move between words or sentences.

  • Left/Right Arrow: Move the insertion point (cursor) one character to the left or right
  • Ctrl+Left/Right Arrow: Move one word to the left or right
  • Up/Down Arrow: Move up or down one line
  • Ctrl+Up/Down Arrow: Move up or down one paragraph
  • End: Move to the end of the current line
  • Ctrl+End: Move to the end of the document
  • Home: Move to the beginning of the current line
  • Ctrl+Home: Move to the beginning of the document
  • Page Up/Page Down: Move up or down one screen
  • Ctrl+Page Up/Page Down: Move to the previous or next browse object (after performing a search)
  • Alt+Ctrl+Page Up/Page Down: Move to the top or bottom of the current window
  • F5: Open the Find dialog box with the “Go To” tab selected, so you can quickly move to a specific page, section, bookmark, and so on.
  • Shift+F5: Cycle through the last three locations where the insertion point was placed. If you just opened a document, Shift+F5 moves you to the last point you were editing before closing the document.

Selecting Text

You may have noticed from the previous section that the arrow keys are used for moving your insertion point around, and the Ctrl key is used to modify that movement. Using the Shift key to modify a lot of those key combos lets you select text in different ways.

  • Shift+Left/Right Arrow: Extend your current selection by one character to the left or right
  • Ctrl+Shift+Left/Right Arrow: Extend your current selection by one word to the left or right
  • Shift+Up/Down Arrow: Extend selection up or down one line
  • Ctrl+Shift+Up/Down Arrow: Extend selection to the beginning or end of the paragraph
  • Shift+End: Extend selection to the end of the line
  • Shift+Home: Extend selection to the beginning of the line
  • Ctrl+Shift+Home/End: Extend selection to the beginning or end of the document
  • Shift+Page Down/Page Up: Extend selection down or up one screen
  • Ctrl+A: Select the entire document
  • F8: Enter selection mode. While in this mode, you can use the arrow keys to extend your selection. You can also press F8 up to five times to extend the selection outward. The first press enters selection mode, the second press selects the word next to the insertion point, the third selects the whole sentence, the fourth all the characters in the paragraph, and the fifth the whole document. Pressing Shift+F8 works that same cycle, but backwards. And you can press Esc any time to leave selection mode. It takes a little playing with to get the hang of it, but it’s pretty fun!
  • Ctrl+Shift+F8: Selects a column. Once the column is selected, you can use the left and right arrow keys to extend the selection to other columns.

Editing Text

Word also provides a number of keyboard shortcuts for editing text.

  • Backspace: Delete one character to the left
  • Ctrl+Backspace: Delete one word to the left
  • Delete: Delete one character to the right
  • Ctrl+Delete: Delete one word to the right
  • Ctrl+C: Copy or graphics to the Clipboard text
  • Ctrl+X: Cut selected text or graphics to the Clipboard
  • Ctrl+V: Paste the Clipboard contents
  • Ctrl+F3: Cut selected text to the Spike. The Spike is an interesting variant on the regular clipboard. You can keep cutting text to the Spike and Word remembers it all. When you paste the Spikes contents, Word pastes everything you cut, but places each item on its own line.
  • Ctrl+Shift+F3: Paste the Spike contents
  • Alt+Shift+R: Copy the header or footer used in the previous section of the document

Applying Character Formatting

Word also has loads of keyboard combos for applying character formatting (and paragraph formatting, but that’s covered in the next section. You can use the shortcuts to apply formatting to selected text or to whatever you type next if no text is selected.

  • Ctrl+B: Apple bold formatting
  • Ctrl+I: Apply italic formatting
  • Ctrl+U: Apply underline formatting
  • Ctrl+Shift+W: Apply underline formatting to words, but not the spaces between words
  • Ctrl+Shift+D: Apply double underline formatting
  • Ctrl+D: Open the Font dialog box
  • Ctrl+Shift+< or >: Decrease or increase font size one preset size at a time
  • Ctrl+[ or ]: Decrease or increase font size one point at a time
  • Ctrl+=: Apply subscript formatting
  • Ctrl+Shift+Plus key: Apply superscript formatting
  • Shift+F3: Cycle through case formats for your text. Available formats are sentence case (capital first letter, everything else lower case), lowercase, uppercase, title case (first letter in each word capitalized), and toggle case (which reverses whatever’s there).
  • Ctrl+Shift+A: Formats all letters as uppercase
  • Ctrl+Shift+K: Formats all letters as lowercase
  • Ctrl+Shift+C: Copies the character formatting of a selection
  • Ctrl+Shift+V: Pastes formatting onto selected text
  • Ctrl+Space: Removes all manual character formatting from a selection

Applying Paragraph Formatting

And just like with character formatting, Word has a bunch of shortcuts particular to formatting paragraphs.

  • Ctrl+M: Increases a paragraph’s indent one level each time you press it
  • Ctrl+Shift+M: Reduces a paragraph’s indent one level each time you press it
  • Ctrl+T: Increases a hanging indent each time you press it
  • Ctrl+Shift+T: Reduces a hanging indent each time you press it
  • Ctrl+E: Center a paragraph
  • Ctrl+L: Left-align a paragraph
  • Ctrl+R: Right-align a paragraph
  • Ctrl+J: Justify a paragraph
  • Ctrl+1: Set single-spacing
  • Ctrl+2: Set double-spacing
  • Ctrl+5: Set 1.5 line Spacing
  • Ctrl+0: Remove one line spacing preceding a paragraph
  • Ctrl+Shift+S: Open a popup window for applying styles
  • Ctrl+Shift+N: Apply the normal paragraph style
  • Alt+Ctrl+1: Apply the Heading 1 style
  • Alt+Ctrl+2: Apply the Heading 2 style
  • Alt+Ctrl+3: Apply the Heading 3 style
  • Ctrl+Shift+L: Apply the List style
  • Ctrl+Q: Remove all paragraph formatting

Inserting Things

Whether you’re looking to insert a section break in your document, or you just don’t feel like digging for a common symbol, Word’s keyboard combos have you covered.

  • Shift+Enter: Insert a line break
  • Ctrl+Enter: Insert a page break
  • Ctrl+Shift+Enter: Insert a column break
  • Ctrl+hyphen (-): Insert an optional hyphen or en dash. An optional hyphen tells Word not to use a hyphen, unless the word breaks at the end of a line. If it does, Word will use a hyphen where you placed it.
  • Alt+Ctrl+hyphen (-): Insert an em dash
  • Ctrl+Shift+hyphen (-): Insert a non-breaking hyphen. This tells Word not to break a word at the end of a line, even if there’s a hyphen there. This would be useful, for example, if you included something like a telephone number and wanted to make sure it all appeared on one line.
  • Ctrl+Shift+Spacebar: Insert a non-breaking space
  • Alt+Ctrl+C: Insert a copyright symbol
  • Alt+Ctrl+R: Insert a registered trademark symbol
  • Alt+Ctrl+T: Insert a trademark symbol

Working with Outlines

Hopefully, you outline before cracking into a long document. If you’re among those organized, outlining souls, here are a few shortcuts to help you out.

  • Alt+Shift+Left/Right Arrow: Promote (move to the left) or demote (move to the right) a line
  • Ctrl+Shift+N: Demote an outline level to regular body text
  • Alt+Shift+Up/Down Arrow: Move the line with the insertion point up or down in the outline
  • Alt+Shift+Plus or Minus keys: Expand or collapse text under a heading
  • Alt+Shift+A: Expand or collapse all text or headings in an outline
  • Alt+Shift+L: Show the first line of body text or all body text
  • Alt+Shift+1: Show all headings that have the Heading 1 style applied
  • Alt+Shift+any other number key: Show all headings up to that level

Working with Tables

Moving around in tables doesn’t work quite like moving around in regular text. Instead of clicking where you want to go, check out these combos:

  • Tab: Move to the next cell in a row and select its contents, if there are any
  • Shift+Tab: Move to the previous cell in a row and select its contents, if there are any
  • Alt+Home/End: Move to the first or last cell in a row
  • Alt+Page Up/Page Down: Move to the first or last cell in a column
  • Up/Down Arrow: Move to the previous or next row
  • Shift+Up/Down Arrow: Select the cell in the row above or below the insertion point or selection. Keep pressing this combo to keep selecting more cells. If you have multiple cells in a row selected, this combo selects those same cells in the row above or below.
  • Alt+5 on keypad (with NumLock off): Select an entire table

And that’s about it. Hopefully, you’ve found a few new keyboard shortcuts to make your life in Word a little easier!

But if that’s not quite enough for you, Word also allows you to create your own keyboard shortcuts for things like commands, styles, and even autotext entries. Plus, we’ve got a handy guide for printing out a list of any custom keyboard shortcuts you’ve created. Enjoy!

Hayley Milliman is a technology writer and wannabe programmer. She spends most of her family reunions setting up people’s devices.