Mastering keyboard shortcuts can save you a tremendous amount of time and effort when using Microsoft Word. Rather than reaching for the mouse to click through ribbons and menus, you can keep your hands on the keyboard and fly through common tasks with just a couple of keystrokes.
The default keyboard shortcuts in Word work well, but you may want to customize them to better suit your workflow. Fortunately, Word makes it easy to add, change, or remove shortcuts as needed. In this tutorial, I’ll walk you through the process.
Access the Keyboard Customization Options
To start customizing shortcuts in Word 2016:
- Go to the File tab and choose Options.
- On the Word Options dialog box, click Customize Ribbon on the left.
- At the bottom of the dialog box, click the Keyboard shortcuts button to open the Customize Keyboard dialog box.
Here you’ll see all of the commands in Word listed on the left, with their corresponding keyboard shortcuts on the right. Now you’re ready to start customizing.
Reset Shortcuts to Their Default
If you’ve customized your shortcuts and things are now confusing, you can reset everything back to the default:
- On the Customize Keyboard dialog box, click the Reset All button in the lower right.
- When prompted to confirm, click Yes.
All shortcuts will now be restored to their original default key assignments.
Add a Completely New Keyboard Shortcut
To assign a new shortcut to a command that doesn’t currently have one:
- In the left pane of the Customize Keyboard dialog box, navigate through the categories to find the command you want to assign a shortcut to.
- Click the command to select it.
- Place your cursor in the Press new shortcut key box.
- Press the keyboard combination you want to assign to that command. For example, Ctrl+Alt+N.
- The key combination now appears in the Press new shortcut key box. Click the Assign button to assign this shortcut.
Now your new shortcut will execute the selected command.
Change an Existing Shortcut
To change the shortcut assigned to a command:
- In the left pane, select the command whose shortcut you want to change.
- The current shortcut is displayed in the Current keys box. Click in that box and press the new key combination you want to assign.
- The new combination you pressed appears in the Press new shortcut key box. Click Assign to save the new combination.
The old shortcut will no longer work for that command, replaced by the new one you assigned.
Common Shortcuts People Customize
Here are some of the keyboard shortcuts people frequently customize in Word:
- Formatting shortcuts – Bold, italic, underline, etc.
- Select All – Select the entire document.
- Copy and Paste
- Insert Comment
- Save and Print
Think about the commands you use the most in Word and consider creating your own shortcuts for those functions.
Troubleshooting Shortcut Issues
If you’re having problems saving or resetting customized shortcuts:
- Try running Word in Safe Mode by holding Ctrl while launching the app. This temporarily disables add-ins, custom UI modifications and other potential issues.
- A corrupted add-in or macro may be interfering. Disable those to see if shortcut customization starts working properly.
Learning to leverage shortcuts can greatly boost your productivity in Microsoft Word. Take the time to set up key combinations that trigger the commands you use the most. Customizing shortcuts to match your workflow saves you significant time and effort down the road.
I hope this tutorial gives you the essentials to start customizing shortcuts in Word 2016 for a faster, more streamlined document editing experience. Let me know if you have any other questions!