Software

Useful Word Keyboard Shortcuts That Help You Edit and Write Faster

  • Here’s a list of the most useful Word keyboard shortcuts grouped by category.
  • For many people Word is the best text editor there is, especially if they’re familiar with the entire Microsoft Office suite.
  • Knowing the important keyboard shortcuts in Word can save you a ton of time, if you edit documents frequently.
microsoft word

As you already know I’m a big fan of using keyboard shortcuts for work. When I learn a new program I always look at the list of keyboard shortcuts to speed up as much as possible the most repetitive tasks.

Microsoft Office is the most used office suite at the moment, even if there are plenty of competitors out there that are sometimes free. That doesn’t matter, as Microsoft is still the go-to suite, mostly because the trio consisting of Word-Excel-Powerpoint and the document formats associated with these programs is widely adopted and integrated with third-party services, not just with Microsoft’s own.

Microsoft Office is the Xerox of document editing and Word is the word processor of choice. It doesn’t matter if you are just using it for basic documents or for serious work. You need to know at least some of the Word keyboard shortcuts below:

Learn how to launch Word using the Office hardware key shortcut.

General

ShortcutAction
Ctrl + NCreate a new document
Ctrl + OOpen existing document
Ctrl + S Save current document
F12Open the Save As dialog box
Ctrl + WClose the current document
Ctrl + ZUndo the last action
Ctrl + YRedo the last action you undid
Alt + Ctrl + S Split a window or remove the split view
Ctrl + Alt + VPrint Layout View
Ctrl + Alt + OOutline View
Ctrl + Alt + NDraft View
Ctrl + F2Print Preview View
F1Open Help
Alt + QGo to the “Tell me what you want to do” box
F9Refresh the field codes in the current selection
Ctrl + FSearch in the current document
F7Run a spelling and grammar check
Shift + F7Open the thesaurus. If a word is selected, Shift + F7 looks up that particular word in the thesaurus.

Moving Inside The Document

ShortcutAction
Left / Right ArrowMove the cursor one character to the left or right
Ctrl + Left / Right ArrowMove one word to the left or right
Up / Down ArrowMove up or down one line
Ctrl + Up / Down ArrowMove up or down one paragraph
EndMove to the end of the current line
Ctrl + EndMove to the end of the document
HomeMove to the beginning of the current line
Ctrl + HomeMove to the beginning of the document
Page Up / Page DownMove up or down one screen
Ctrl + Page Up / Page DownMove to the previous or the next browse object (after performing a search)
Alt + Ctrl + Page Up / Page DownMove to the top or bottom of the current window
F5Open the Find dialog box with the “Go To” tab selected, so you can quickly move to a specific page, section, bookmark.
Shift + F5Cycle through the last three locations where the cursor 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

ShortcutAction
Shift + Left / Right ArrowExtend current selection by one character to the left or right
Ctrl + Shift + Left / Right ArrowExtend current selection by one word to the left or right
Shift + Up / Down ArrowExtend selection up or down one line
Ctrl + Shift + Up / Down ArrowExtend selection to the beginning or end of the paragraph
Shift + EndExtend selection to the end of the line
Shift + HomeExtend selection to the beginning of the line
Ctrl + Shift + Home / EndExtend selection to the beginning or end of the document
Shift + Page Down / Page UpExtend selection down or up by one screen
Ctrl + ASelect the entire document
F8Enter selection mode. In this mode, you can use the arrow keys to extend your selection. Press F8 up to five times to extend the selection outward (SHIFT + F8 works backward). The first press enters selection mode, the second press selects the word next to the cursor, the third press selects the whole sentence, the fourth press selects all the characters in the current paragraph, and the fifth press the entire document. Press Esc any time to leave selection mode.
Ctrl + Shift + F8Selects a column. Once the column is selected, you can use the left and right arrow keys to extend the selection to nearby columns.

Editing Text

ShortcutAction
BackspaceDelete one character to the left of the cursor
Ctrl + BackspaceDelete one word to the left of the cursor
DeleteDelete one character to the right of the cursor
Ctrl + DeleteDelete one word to the right of the cursor
Ctrl + CCopy selected text to the Clipboard
Ctrl + XCut selected text to the Clipboard
Ctrl + VPaste the Clipboard contents
Ctrl + F3Cut selected text to the Spike. The Spike is a variant of the regular clipboard. You can keep cutting text to the Spike and Word remembers everything. When you paste the Spikes contents, Word pastes everything and places each item on its own line.
Ctrl + Shift + F3Paste the Spike contents
Alt + Shift + RCopy the header or footer used in the previous section of the document

Character Formatting

ShortcutAction
Ctrl + BApply bold formatting
Ctrl + IApply italic formatting
Ctrl + UApply underline formatting
Ctrl + Shift + WApply underline formatting to words, but not the spaces between words
Ctrl + Shift + DApply double underline formatting
Ctrl + DOpen 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 keyApply superscript formatting
Shift + F3Cycle through case formats for your text. Available formats: sentence case (capital first letter, everything else lower case), lowercase, uppercase, title case (the first letter in each word capitalized), and toggle case.
Ctrl + Shift + AFormats all letters as uppercase
Ctrl + Shift + KFormats all letters as lowercase
Ctrl + Shift + CCopies the character formatting of a selection
Ctrl + Shift + VPastes formatting onto the selected text
Ctrl + SpaceRemoves all manual character formatting from a selection

Paragraph Formatting

ShortcutAction
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

ShortcutAction
Shift + EnterInsert a line break
Ctrl + EnterInsert a page break
Ctrl + Shift + EnterInsert a column break
Ctrl + hyphen (-)Insert an optional hyphen or em dash. This 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. Useful for something like a telephone number you want to appeared on one line.
Ctrl + Shift + SpacebarInsert a non-breaking space
Alt + Ctrl + CInsert a copyright symbol
Alt + Ctrl + RInsert a registered trademark symbol
Alt + Ctrl + TInsert a trademark symbol

Outlines

ShortcutAction
Alt + Shift + Left / Right ArrowPromote (move to the left) or demote (move to the right) a line
Ctrl + Shift + NDemote an outline level to the regular body text
Alt + Shift + Up / Down ArrowMove the line with the insertion point up or down in the outline
Alt + Shift + Plus or Minus keysExpand or collapse text under a heading
Alt + Shift + AExpand or collapse all text or headings in an outline
Alt + Shift + LShow the first line of body text or all body text
Alt + Shift + 1Show all headings that have the Heading 1 style applied
Alt + Shift + any other number keyShow all headings up to that level

Tables

ShortcutAction
TabMove to the next cell in a row and select contents
Shift + TabMove to the previous cell in a row and select contents
Alt + Home / EndMove to the first or last cell in a row
Alt + Page Up / Page DownMove to the first or last cell in a column
Up / Down ArrowMove to the previous or next row
Shift + Up / Down ArrowSelect the cell in the row above or below the cursor or selection. Keep pressing the shortcut to select more cells. If there are multiple cells in a row selected, the combo selects the same cells in the row above or below.
Alt + 5 on the keypad (with NumLock off)Select an entire table

Also read: Useful Excel keyboard shortcuts and important PowerPoint shortcuts

Do you know other important Word shortcuts that are missing from this article? Let me know in a comment so I can update the list.

Avatar for Ionuț-Alexandru Popa
I'm passionate about technology, science, and movies. I write about tech since 2003.
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