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13 easy-to-remember Microsoft Word keyboard shortcuts

Microsoft Office (opens in new tab) is the most well-known productivity software suite in the world, and more than 1.2 billion people use it in 140 different countries and 107 languages, according to Microsoft{.nofollow}.

Office is made up of several different programs, but Word is likely the most commonly-used Office app. Word is packed with valuable keyboard shortcuts that let you trigger common actions with just a tap of a couple keys. If you use Word but don't use keyboard shortcuts, you are missing out bigly.

I don't want to have to remember some stupid Microsoft Word keyboard shortcuts just to open a document, you say? The following 13 Word shortcuts are all super-simple to remember, and we provided mental cues — some better than others — to help them stick in your mind.

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Keyboard shortcuts every Microsoft Word user should know

  1. Save a document: Ctrl + S — "S" is for "save."
  2. Open an existing document: Ctrl + O — "O" is for "open."
  3. Close a document: Ctrl + W — "W" is for "whisk away that Word doc!"
  4. Create a new document: Ctrl + N — "N" is for "new."
  5. Undo a change: Ctrl + Z — "Z" is for "zap that last change!"
  6. Redo an undo: Ctrl + Y — In other words, undo an undo. Two "U"s make ... a "Y?"
  7. Bold text: Ctrl + B — "B" is for "bold."
    • This shortcut works for new text you type after using it, or you can highlight existing text and then bold it via the shortcut. You can also use the shortcut to turn bolding off.
  8. Italic text: Ctrl + I — "I" is for "italic."
    • This shortcut works for new text you type after using it, or you can highlight existing text and then add italics via the shortcut. You can also use the shortcut to turn italics off.
  9. Underline text: Ctrl + U — "U" is for "underline."
    • This shortcut works for new text you type after using the shortcut, or you can highlight existing text and then add an underline via the shortcut. You can also use the shortcut to turn underlining off.
  10. Decrease font: Hold down Ctrl and repeatedly click [ — "D," for "decrease." The letter "D" comes before "I" in the alphabet, so use the first, open bracket to decrease font size and the second, close bracket to increase font.
    • This shortcut works for new text you type after using the shortcut, or you can highlight existing text and then shrink it down via the shortcut.
  11. Increase font: Hold down Ctrl and repeatedly click ] — "I," for "increase." The letter "I" comes after "D" in the alphabet, so use the second, close bracket to increase font size and the first, open bracket to decrease font.
    • This shortcut works for new text you type after using the shortcut, or you can highlight existing text and then enlarge it via the shortcut.
  12. Print a document: Ctrl + P — "P" is for "print."
    • This shortcut launches the Word print options page.
  13. Find text on a page: Ctrl + F — "F" is for "find."
    • This shortcut brings your cursor directly to the Navigation bar in the left-hand column of your page, where you can immediately type words or phrases to find them on a page. Click Enter to move through the various instance of the text you searched for.

It's worth noting that many of these shortcuts work in various other Microsoft programs, including Edge, Excel, and so on. Don't be afraid to experiment!

For more Microsoft Word how-tos and help resources, check out:

Al Sacco is content director of Future PLC's Mobile Technology Vertical, which includes AndroidCentral.com, iMore.com and WindowsCentral.com. He is a veteran reporter, writer, reviewer and editor who has professionally covered and evaluated IT and mobile technology, and countless associated gadgets and accessories, for more than a decade. You can keep up with Al on Twitter and Instagram.

32 Comments
  • What keyboard is that in the title? Thanks
  • Surface Keyboard https://www.windowscentral.com/e?link=https%3A%2F%2Fclick.linksynergy.co...
  • Woah, 100 bucks is a little too much, would expect like 50
  • Ctrl-Alt-1, Ctrl-Alt-2, Ctrl-Alt-3 to set Heading 1, 2, and 3 respectively and use styles instead of character formatting. Much better for document control and sharing. Always use styles over manual complex formatting if you can. To toggle pragraph and other marks on and off with keyboard: Ctrl-Shift-8 Using those can avoid a lot of problems. Recognize that formatting following the paragraph marker at the END of the paragraph, and Styles protect against user-applied screwy formatting. Not understanding how formatting following the Paragraph End mark seems to be the biggest source of confusion about Word formatting issues with newbies. Ctrl-Shift-E toggles Track Changes on and off.
  • In Onenote you can use Ctrl + . to start a bulleted list.  I would love it if they put this is Word as well. I would also add Ctrl + Alt + V for paste special.  There doesn't seem to be a way to make it automatically paste as unformatted text, which would be a big help.  
  • You can use an asterisk in Word to start a bulleted list - been like this for at least a decade.
  • Jason, to paste as unformatted text via keyboard, use the standard CTRL+V.  Then, without typing or clicking anything else, tap (and release) the CTRL key; then tap T.  (K and M are also valid keys to press to Keep the original formatting or Merge the formatting with the document.) It seems clunky at first, but I've gotten so used to it that I miss it in non-Office applications.
  • That's great.  I didn't know that.  For years I have been mistified that they can't get the 'keep text only' option to work in the paste settings.  Seems not difficult. I remember Lotus Notes had the same problem.  I actually just had to paste stuff in to notepad and then copy and paste into Lotus Notes, because paste special didn't work correctly either.  So glad I don't use Lotus Notes anymore.
  • I can't get this to work. You have a macro setup for this?  Edit: You have to have the "show paste options button when content is pasted" toggled on in advanced options  
  • I think that option is on by default, but thank you for the clarification on that! Also, instead of tapping CTRL and then K, M, or T, you can, of course, use the mouse to pick those options by hovering over the "Paste Options" button.
  • For bulleted lists, try CTRL + SHIFT + L... That should work in Word, OneNote, and Outlook.    
  • I would love to know if there is a way to strikethrough text using a combination of keys.  Does anyone know if there is a way to do that?
  • There isn't one as far as I know. I think word allows you to create custom shortcuts but I'm not 100% sure.
  • It's not really a typical keyboard "shortcut" per se, but ALT+H, then 4 will toggle strikethough on and off. (Holding ALT for a short time will show all the shortcuts for the Ribbon options.)
  • To increase and decrease font size I find it easier to use the shortcut CTRL + Shift + > to increase and CTRL + Shift + < to deacrease. I find it easier because CTRL and shift can easily be pressed with the left hand and than you just increase or decrease with the left hand
  • Yes, I also use this shortcut. I also find it easier to remember than [ and ].
  • I personally like typing =rand() into a word document.
  • Never knew that one.  Nice!
  • No, no, NO!  I hate relying on stupid keyboard shortcuts.  I left that years ago.
  • F12 for saving the file in a specific location.
  • I don't find much use for such shortcuts most of the time, and I write extensively in Word. The ribbon works fine for me.
  • Everything in the ribbon can be accessed without a mouse.  Press and hold the ALT key for a short time to see the options.  These can be especially useful if you have certain accessibility needs.
  • Some other goodies: Ctrl + D  =Bookmark current page (all browsers) F5  =Refresh page F1 =Help F11 =Toggle full screen on/off Ctrl +/-  =Zoom in/out Ctrl + 1/2/3/4/... =Switch to browser tab 1/2/3/4/... Ctrl + X/C/V  =Cut/Copy/Paste Ctrl + A =Select All Ctrl + Shift + S =Save As Ctrl + Tab =Next tab (browser) Win + Tab =App switcher Alt + Tab =Classic app switcher, jumps to next app after each "Alt + Tab" Win + X =Start menu Admin controls (also right-click on Start) Atl + Shift + ← or →  =(Word) When typing out a list, indent the current paragraph as a subset of the above number. For example, below step (2) to change step (3) into subset (a) (b) (c) and so on. Ctrl + [ or ] =Brush smaller/larger size (Photoshop) Ctrl + E =Merge down layer (Photoshop - merges current layer with layer below it) Ctrl + D =Deselect (Photoshop) Ctrl + 0 =Zoom, fit to screen (Photoshop) Ctrl + 1 =Zoom 100% (Photoshop) And as a general rule (not always, though) additionally holding down "Shift" will do the reverse of a "Ctrl" function. For example, Ctrl + Shift + Tab will go to the previous tab in a browser, while Ctrl + Tab will go to the next one.  
  • Win + L to go to login screen. Makes it easy when you walk away from your PC at work.
  • Good article
  • The most important shortcuts Imo, are ctl c, v for copy and paste. I use it everyday.
  • For science students: "Ctrl + =" --> subscript, "Ctrl + +" (AKA Ctrl + [Shift + =] --> superscript 
  • +1 to this. This vastly improves workflow if you work in science. It's also worth taking a couple of minutes to map any Greek letters/maths symbols you use frequently to a shortcut (e.g. I always use alt + A for alpha, alt + g for gamma, alt + D for a degree symbol); it really helps when writing up data to not have to stop and insert -> symbol -> *search search where is it*.
  • Definitely agree on both points! You can also hold the ALT key and type the Unicode code point (in decimal) on the keypad (not the number row of your keyboard; and NUM LOCK must be on) to get those characters in any application.  (For code points less than 256, you must type the leading zero '0'.)  For example, the degree symbol is Unicode code point B0 (e.g. U+00B0), so hold ALT and type 0,1,7,6 on the keypad for °; or alpha is U+3B1, so ALT + 9,4,5. Notes: Using this method depends on your font supporting that character at that codepoint.  Different fonts may produce different results if they don't support or fully implement the Unicode standard -- Wingdings is great example. Charmap application can help you find the different characters (code points) for a given font in Windows. Calc.exe can help you convert from hex to decimal (i.e. B0 hex == 176 dec).
  • Ctrl-Y has a second function: Re-do (as in repeat last action, not "undo my undo").  Let's say you just highlighted a sentence and changed the margin (or any other single formatting change).  Highlight another sentence/word/whatever, hit Ctrl-Y, and the same formatting will be applied.  Note that when I say "single format change", I'm trying to say that if you boldface something, then underline it, then italicize it, hitting Ctrl-Y on something else you've selected would only italicize it. One simple example of using Ctrl-Y is in Excel:  If you want to insert multiple rows, do the normal insert -> row, then keep hitting Ctrl-Y to insert additional rows
  • Ctrl+Y is really redo. It allows to redo actions after multiple undos. “Repeat last action” is F4, and it’s incredibly useful – you can apply italics, keep applying a paragraph/character style, delete something, insert rows and so on. Another useful combination is Ctrl+PageUp/PageDown to browse through last searched object. For instance hit Ctrl+G to bring object browser, select table, then Ctrl+PageUp to go from table to table. Same for images, last searched expression, searched formatting, etc. I advise against using fake subscripts/superscripts (the usual ones from the Ctrl+D dialogue) for scientific writing – use the equation editor instead. Even for single letters like alpha or variables. Alt+= will quickly enter an equation at the cursor and equation syntax is super cool – learn it in the Math Autocorrect dialogue (try \alpha, \sum, \neq, \infty, _, ^, \funcapply, /, followed by space). See full syntax here https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Math-AutoCorrect-symbols-b8b463... (resembles LaTeX, so it's a good way to start learning it. All scientists should know LaTeX – this is not being pedantic/elitist. Another good idea is to have a good custom keyboard layout, one using the right Alt (AltGr) as a different modifier. Windows has so called programmers layouts for different languages which are identical to classic US ones except for the AltGr (and Shift+AltGr) combinations. As an added bonus, you'll be able to insert symbols everywhere, not only in Word. I use a heavily modified Romanian (programmers) layout with lots of typographic goodies, but you could use something like this http://eurkey.steffen.bruentjen.eu, or even roll your own using Microsoft's Keyboard Layout Creator (https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/globalization/keyboardlayouts.aspx). Also, as people pointed out, always use character styles instead of manual formatting – for instance replace italics with emphasis, bolds with strong. All will be nice and consistent and you’ll be able to clean up your document of local formatting (use style inspector for this). Use styles all the time, define more as you go, copy them from doc to doc (Alt+F8 opens organizer), create templates and you'll be able to change your designs like a boss. Define table styles, chart templates, again, like a pro. 😎
  • If you have a body of text that is all in caps or you have a body of text you want to convert into all caps, highlight the text and press SHIFT F3, if you do it on a single sentence or say a title it will alternmate between all lower case, capitalised first letter for each word and all caps.