Frequently Used Shortcut Keys in Microsoft Word

Shortcut keys in Word let you execute commands with a keystroke

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Shortcut keys, sometimes called hotkeys, make executing commands like saving documents and opening new ones fast and simple. There's no need to search through the menus when you can use your keyboard to get what you want.

You'll find that shortcut keys will greatly increase your productivity by keeping your hands on the keyboard so that you're not fumbling with the mouse.

How to Use Shortcut Keys

Most shortcut keys for Word use the Ctrl key combined with a letter, but more advanced shortcuts might use the Shift or Alt key.

To activate a command using a shortcut key, simply hold down the first key for that specific shortcut and then press the correct letter key once to activate it. You can then depress the initial key.

Best Microsoft Word Shortcut Keys

There are lots of commands available in MS Word, but these 10 are some of the better ones:

HotkeyWhat It Does
Ctrl + N(New) Creates a new blank document.
Ctrl + O(Open) Displays the open file window.
Ctrl + S(Save) Saves the current document.
Ctrl + P(Print) Prints the current page.
Ctrl + Z(Undo) Cancels the last change made to the document.
Ctrl + Y(Repeat) Repeats the last command executed.
Ctrl + C(Copy) Copies the selected content to the Clipboard without deleting.
Ctrl + X(Cut) Deletes selected content and copies it to the Clipboard.
Ctrl + V(Paste) Pastes the cut or copied content.
Ctrl + F(Find) Finds text within the current document.

Function Keys as Shortcuts

Function keys—those "F" keys along the top row of your keyboard—behave similarly to shortcut keys.

They can execute commands by themselves, without using the Ctrl key.

Here are a few of them:

  • F1 opens Word’s "Help" window.
  • F5 opens the "Find and Replace" tool.
  • F12 opens the "Save As" window to save the current document with a different name or file extension (like saving a DOCX file to DOC).

Some of these keys can even be combined with other "normal" ones, like this:

  • Ctrl+F1 hides the Ribbon menu in newer versions of MS Word.
  • Ctrl+F9 inserts curly brackets, or braces, before and after the cursor's location so that it's easier to enter text inside brackets.
  • Ctrl+F12 will launch the "Open" window for selecting a new file to open in Word, thus bypassing the File menu altogether.

Other MS Word Hotkeys

The above shortcuts are the most commonly used and useful ones available in Microsoft Word, but there are plenty of others that you could be using too. 

Just hit the Alt key any time you're in the program to see how to use MS Word with just your keyboard. This lets you visualize how to use chains of shortcut keys to do all sorts of things, like Alt+G+P+S+C to open the window for changing paragraph spacing options, or Alt+N+I+I to insert a hyperlink.

Microsoft keeps a master list of Word shortcut keys that let you quickly do lots of different things. You can even make your own custom MS Word shortcut keys to take your hotkey usage to the next step.

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Marshall, James. "Frequently Used Shortcut Keys in Microsoft Word." ThoughtCo, Jan. 13, 2018, thoughtco.com/essential-shortcut-keys-in-microsoft-word-3539714. Marshall, James. (2018, January 13). Frequently Used Shortcut Keys in Microsoft Word. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/essential-shortcut-keys-in-microsoft-word-3539714 Marshall, James. "Frequently Used Shortcut Keys in Microsoft Word." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/essential-shortcut-keys-in-microsoft-word-3539714 (accessed February 19, 2018).