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30+ Best Microsoft Word Keyboard Shortcuts to Quickly Work in Docs

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:MediumLanguages:
This post is part of a series called Learn How to Use Microsoft Word (Beginner Tutorial Guide).
How to Add Headers, Footers, and Page Numbers in Microsoft Word
How to Work With MS Word Spelling & Grammar Checker (Troubleshooting)

If you often use Microsoft Word, you’ll soon get tired of using your mouse or trackpad to format and design your document. That’s where Word shortcuts come in. 

Word Shortcuts
Word shortcuts save you time and effort when creating documents. (Image source: Envato Elements)

Microsoft Word shortcuts are a combination of keys that lets you execute Microsoft Word commands—without using your mouse or trackpad. They save you a lot of time and effort. And, if you use Word often enough, you’ll soon find yourself memorizing them.

Until then, use this article as a guide to the most common and useful Word keyboard shortcuts. I’ve organized them into sections so you can more easily find the Microsoft Word hot keys you need. I’ve also included Microsoft shortcut keys for both Windows and macOS, so you can use this as a reference no matter which operating system you’re using.

Create Documents Like a Boss With These Word Shortcuts

Microsoft Word offers hundreds of keyboard shortcuts. It’s impossible to remember them all! That’s why I’ve collected Word shortcuts for the most common Microsoft Word commands and actions you’re likely to perform when creating a document. I’ve also organized them into specific categories to help you easily find exactly what you need.

To use these Microsoft Word hot keys, a plus sign (+) means you must press the specified keys at the same time. A comma (,) means you should press the keys in order.

1. Microsoft Word Shortcuts for Managing Documents

Use these Microsoft shortcut keys to open, close, save, and print documents in Word. One Microsoft Word hot key combination that comes in handy is the one to undo the previous action: Ctrl+Z in Microsoft and COMMAND +Z in macOS. Commit this Word shortcut to memory now—it's a lifesaver!

To do this Press this in Windows Press this in macOS

Create a new document

Ctrl+N
COMMAND +N
Open a document
Ctrl+O
COMMAND +O
Save the document
Ctrl+S
COMMAND +S
Close the document
Ctrl+W
COMMAND +F4
Cancel a command
Esc
Esc
Undo the previous action
Ctrl+Z COMMAND +Z
Redo the previous action (if possible)
Ctrl+Y
COMMAND +Y
Display the Print dialog
Ctrl+P
COMMAND +P

Notice that some Microsoft Word shortcut keys don't complete an action, but instead open up a dialog box with more options or settings for you to choose from. An example is the Ctrl/Cmd + P shortcut, which opens the Print dialog.

Word Shortcuts - Open Print Dialog
Some Word shortcuts, such as Ctrl/Cmd + P, open dialogs instead of completing commands.

2. Word Keyboard Shortcuts for Editing and Formatting Text 

Except for the keystrokes to apply emphasis on text, these Microsoft Word shortcut keys work when you're formatting pictures and images, too.

Object Selection Shortcuts

To do this Press this in Windows
Press this in macOS
Select all document content
Ctrl+A
COMMAND +A
Cut the selected content to the Clipboard
Ctrl+X
COMMAND +X
Copy the selected content to the Clipboard
Ctrl+C
COMMAND +C
Paste the contents of the Clipboard
Ctrl+V
COMMAND +V

Word Shortcuts to Format Text

To do this Press this in Windows Press this in macOS
Apply bold formatting
Ctrl+B
COMMAND +B
Apply underline formatting
Ctrl+U
COMMAND +U
Apply italics formatting
Ctrl+I
COMMAND +I
Change the font
Ctrl+D
COMMAND +Shift+F
Increase the font size by 1 point
Ctrl+]
COMMAND +]
Decrease the font size by 1 point
Ctrl+[
COMMAND +[
Switch the text between upper case, lower case, and title case
Shift+F3
Shift+F3

A few Microsoft Word shortcut keys you'll use frequently and that are easy to remember are the ones for applying emphasis on text. Notice how similar the Microsoft Word hot keys are for Windows and macOS.

Word Shortcuts - Text Emphasis
These Word shortcuts for adding emphasis on text are extremely useful and easy to memorize.

Microsoft Word Keyboard Shortcuts to Align Text and Images

To do this Press this in Windows Press this in macOS
Align the text to the left
Ctrl+L
COMMAND +L
Center the text
Ctrl+E
COMMAND +E
Align the text to the right
Ctrl+R
COMMAND +R
Justify the paragraph
Ctrl+J
COMMAND +J

3. MS Word Shortcuts for Working with Graphics

Word for Mac doesn’t have any keyboard shortcuts that are equal to the Windows shortcuts below:

To do this Press this in Windows
Cycle through floating shapes, such as text boxes or images
Ctrl+Alt+5, and then the Tab key repeatedly until the object you want is selected
Insert a SmartArt graphic
Alt+N, M
Insert a WordArt graphic
Alt+N, W

4. Word Ribbon Keyboard Shortcuts

This is another area where the Windows and macOS versions of Word differ. As you can see below, many ribbon keyboard shortcuts in Windows don't have an equivalent in macOS.

To do this Press this in Windows
Press this in macOS
Select the active tab on the ribbon, and activate the access keys
Alt or F10

Move the focus to Microsoft Word commands on the ribbon
Tab key or Shift+Tab

Move between command groupings on the ribbon
Ctrl+Left or Right arrow key

Move among the items on the Ribbon
Arrow keys

Activate the selected button
Spacebar or Enter

Expand or collapse the ribbon
Ctrl+F1
COMMAND +Option+R

Microsoft Word for Windows also gives you the ability to use ribbon shortcuts or Key Tips. First, to display the Key Tips, press the Alt key. 

Next, activate a ribbon option by pressing Alt and the corresponding Key Tip letter. For example, pressing Alt+FF will open the text font dropdown menu. 

5. Keyboard Shortcuts for Navigating Your Document

These Word shortcuts help you quickly go from one part of your document to another.

To do this Press this in Windows
Press this in macOS
Display the search pane to find text Ctrl+F
COMMAND +F
Display the Find and Replace dialog/pane to find and replace text
Ctrl+H
Control+H
Display the Go To dialog to navigate to a specific page or other location
Ctrl+G
COMMAND +Option+G

The keyboard shortcut to display the search pane is one you'll use often to find specific content, especially in a long document.

Word Shortcuts - Search Pane
Use the Word shortcut Ctrl/Cmd + F to quickly find a specific word or phrase within your document.

Tip: Word tells you what keyboard shortcuts are available! When you hover over the Menu Bar, a dropdown shows you different options for each menu. Beside each one is the Word keyboard shortcut for it—if a shortcut is available:

Microsoft Word Shortcuts
When a Word keyboard shortcut is available, it'll appear to the right of an option.

How to Add Microsoft Word Shortcuts to Your Regular Workflow

When you’re just getting started with using Microsoft Word shortcuts, using them doesn’t come automatically. This means you’ll miss out on all the time and effort you could be saving. But, if you make the effort to integrate Microsoft shortcut keys into your workflow, they’ll become automatic. And you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them! 

Follow these steps to add Word keyboard shortcuts to your regular workflow:

1. Identify the Actions You Perform Most Often

As you go about your regular work of using Microsoft Word, take note of the tasks you perform regularly. 

In this post, I’ve tried to include the most commonly used Microsoft Word shortcuts. You may find that you need other shortcuts I’ve not included here. Or, you may not need all the shortcuts on my list. What matters is discovering which Word shortcuts are the most useful to you.

2. Make a Cheat Sheet for Quick Reference

You can do this in one of two ways. Go the traditional route and copy the Microsoft shortcut keys on a sticky note. Place it on your computer, monitor, or a wall near your seat. Put it where it’s easy for you to see as you work.

Word Shortcuts - Cheat Sheet on a Mac
Make your own Word shortcuts cheat sheet using pen and paper or a digital sticky note.

Or, you can go the digital route. Copy the shortcuts to a digital “sticky note” on your desktop for easy referencing. These virtual sticky notes are available for both Windows and macOS so, whichever system you’re using, this feature is available to you.

Note: If you discover that you really could use a shortcut, but it doesn’t exist, you can create your own. Head to the Microsoft Office website to learn how to record a macro if you’re on Windows or how to create a custom keyboard shortcut if you’re on a Mac.

The Ultimate Timesaver: Microsoft Word Templates

While Word shortcuts save you time, the ultimate timesaver is using Microsoft Word templates. 

Microsoft Word Templates from Envato Elements
For the ultimate Word shortcut, start with a template for Microsoft Word, such as these ones from Envato Elements.

Do you create a lot of printed documents? Then you’ll enjoy the convenience and cost-effectiveness of Envato Elements. Your Elements subscription gives you unlimited downloads of everything you need to produce creative and high-impact communication materials, from Microsoft Word templates to stock photos, fonts, graphics, and more—all for one low monthly price.

But, if you need a one-off document, then GraphicRiver is a terrific source of Word templates for you. Here, you pay only for each use of the template you use. Each one is made by a professional designer and is easy to customize.

Whichever source you use, Microsoft Word templates get you off to a great start. All the design decisions have already been made by a professional. You only need to add your own text, images, and logo to make it your very own.

Power Up With Microsoft Word Shortcuts

Microsoft Word delivers powerful features at your fingertips so you can create amazing documents. Power up your workflow by using keyboard shortcuts. I’ve already included the most commonly used Word shortcuts in this post. Use them regularly and they’ll soon become second nature.

That said, the ultimate shortcut is the use of Microsoft Word templates. Great sources of templates include Envato Elements, if you need to produce different kinds of Word documents, and GraphicRiver if you create documents occasionally.

You now have the tools you need to create effective Word documents and conserve time and energy as you do so.

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