Word keyboard shortcuts: basic shortcuts

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Word keyboard shortcuts: basic shortcuts
Word keyboard shortcuts: basic shortcuts

When working in a text editor, one of the most important conditions for dynamic work is the use of so-called hot keys, that is, the ability not to select a button or menu item with the mouse pointer, but to replace this method of giving commands to the program by pressing certain keys. Eliminating the need to switch from keyboard to mouse significantly increases speed and reduces distractions. Keyboard shortcuts in Word can be used for a variety of purposes, including inserting special characters - for some of them there are system shortcuts that can be changed, and for all the rest you can program the keyboard yourself. It is very simple and does not require any special skills or knowledge. As a rule, one, two or three modeling, command (ctrl, alt, shift) and one of the keys of the main or numeric keyboard block are involved in the key combination in Word.

em dash in word keyboard shortcut
em dash in word keyboard shortcut

How to quickly learn keyboard shortcuts for some commands

Word keyboard shortcuts for somecommands can be viewed by hovering the mouse over the menu button and waiting for a while. After that, a "hint" will be shown with the name of the command, a combination of hot keys and a description of the command. For example, if you hover over the button with the letter "Zh" on the "Home" tab, a tooltip with the following text will appear: "Bold (Ctrl + B). Applying Bold Style to Selected Text. The entry in parentheses indicates that pressing two keys at the same time - ctrl and B - will change the formatting of the selected text fragment. It is worth noting that in the case when a letter is indicated, of course, the Latin alphabet is meant, therefore, in this case, you should not press the D / B key, but the B / I key.

The number of commands potentially used by the user of the application is so large that it is not necessary to learn absolutely all combinations, and even impossible. In this article, we will focus on the most requested commands, as well as how to program the keyboard yourself.

Em and en dashes

Both short and long dashes in the "Word" by a key combination are inserted with a certain skill of work without any delay in typing.

These characters must be used in Russian-language texts according to the rules of Russian spelling, while em dashes are used mainly in professional book layouts intended for printing on paper, but even in such files, layout designers often use en dashes - it all depends on graphics text and selected font (narrow font or poetic text with shortstrings do not require a long character). A dash differs from a hyphen in that it is placed between words, and not inside compound words. Its graphical difference from a hyphen is that, firstly, it is longer, and secondly, in most cases it is surrounded by spaces (with the exception of recording time and space segments, for example: “Train Samara – St. Petersburg” (the first character here is a dash, the second is a hyphen), “In 1985–1987 he served in the ranks of the Soviet army”).

System (preset) combinations for these characters are as follows:

- Em dash in Word: keyboard shortcut alt+ctrl+num-. (The plus sign does not need to be pressed - it is only needed when recording and means that the keys must be pressed simultaneously. Num- is the minus sign on the numeric keypad of the keyboard (located to the right of the alphabetic one). Check if this key block is enabled: the NumLock indicator should be on, the block itself is turned on by a key with the same name.)

- short dash in Word: key combination ctrl + num-.

big dash in Word keyboard shortcut
big dash in Word keyboard shortcut

The sequence of actions is simple. In order to insert an en dash or an em dash in the "Word" with a key combination, just put the cursor on the right place and press the keys at the same time. For both short and long (large) dashes in Word, the key combination can be changed - this is especially true for those who work on laptops, whose keyboard requires additional actions to turn on the number block. How to independently assign hot combinations is described inspecial paragraph of this article.

Highlight text fragments

Selecting text in Word with a combination of keys, and not with a mouse, is especially convenient in three cases: when processing or typing on the keyboard and switching to the mouse is inconvenient, as this causes delays in work; when using a laptop that is not connected to a standard mouse, instead of which a touchpad is used, the precise operation of which requires some patience and skills; when you need to gradually and accurately select lines while reading or studying the text.

Select text by simultaneously pressing shift and one of the arrow keys. So, the right arrow will select the fragment located to the right of the cursor, and the down arrow will select the part of the line to the right of the cursor and the line below the cursor. You can also use the arrows to deselect: if you selected an extra character with the right arrow, press the left arrow, and this character will again be unselected.

To select a line to the end without repeatedly pressing the right arrow, use the end key, and vice versa - the home key (home, start) while pressing shift will select the entire part of the line from the beginning to the cursor.

Using a combination of keys shift and page down (page down) or page up (page up) you can select large fragments of text. Alternating these arrow keys will allow you to make large, yet precise selections.

highlighting text in Word with a keyboard shortcut
highlighting text in Word with a keyboard shortcut

Select all

"Select all" in the "Word" key combinationmuch faster than by long scrolling through the pages with the left mouse button pressed. Selecting the entire text (file content) is usually required to copy it to another file or to delete it, but it is no less often necessary to format the entire text (apply the same settings to all document content at once).

To "select all" in Word, you will need a very simple key combination: ctrl+A (English letter A, located on the same key as Russian F). Switching to Latin is not required. To remember this combination, it is enough to understand that A is the first letter of the English word all (all).

This combination works not only in this text editor, but also in most other applications that involve working with text, such as browsers. If you need to copy the entire content of a web page, please click anywhere on the page and then press ctrl+A, all items will be selected.

The same goes for working with tables. If you need to select all cells, click on any area inside the table and press the keys, the entire table will be selected.

Non-breaking space

For professional text design, and even more so for book layout, it is very often necessary that words or characters within a paragraph be placed on the same line of the paragraph, and not on adjacent lines. For example, first of all, this concerns the recording of initials: they should not be torn off from each other and from the surname: for example, the initials L. S. should not be torn off (located on the previous line) fromVygotsky, the name should be located on one line, and not carried over to the next. Secondly, deciphering of numeric characters and their abbreviations cannot be transferred to another line: for example, the number 1999 should not be torn off from the year (a very common layout error when the number is located at the end of one line, and the decoding (g.) - at the beginning next). Also, according to the layout rules, a dash cannot be separated from the previous word (the line must not begin with a dash). However, a text editor can arrange characters in a line so that it is in these places - between initials or between a number and an abbreviation - that a line boundary will pass.

In all these and in many other cases, at the problematic place where the line should not break, you should put a sign that will combine the words into a formally single word that cannot be transferred to the next line. This is called "non-breaking space". In Word, the keyboard shortcut for it is ctrl+ alt+space.

Often there is a need not so much for a non-breaking space, but for a space of a fixed size - for neat paragraphs and to prohibit long empty spaces between words when text is justified in width. In this case, the sign described above is also suitable, that is, for a short space in Word, the key combination ctrl + alt + space is also suitable. This technique is often used when designing headers or headers of a document, as well as when designing table cells.


One of the most frequent operations when working with Word documents is the transfer of fragments from one partdocument to another or to another document. It is much more convenient to initiate both the “copy” and “paste” commands in Word with key combinations than using the context menu. Select the desired piece of text and simultaneously press ctrl+C. What was selected will be placed by the program on the clipboard. Place the cursor in the place where you want to paste (in the same or in another file) and press ctrl + V - the last fragment you copied will be pasted.

This keyboard shortcut for both commands is almost universal for all applications, it can be used both in browsers and in other text editors and layout programs. Many graphic editors, such as Adobe suite programs, also support these shortcuts.

There are other key combinations in Word for these operations: ctrl+insert (copy) and shift+insert (paste). Each of these options is convenient in its own way. The second of the described options can only be performed with the right hand - because of this, it seems preferable to many.

insert keyboard shortcut in word
insert keyboard shortcut in word

Document search

One of the main advantages of working with an electronic text document is the ability to quickly search for a word or any combination of characters, including non-printable ones. This allows you to quickly navigate in a new book when you need to quickly find or check information, and also significantly speeds up work with large text being edited or created. To call the search window, use the button in the main menu,however, as in other cases, it is more convenient to call it using the keyboard. Finding any character, combination of words or a single word in the Word with a key combination is certainly much faster than being distracted by the mouse and looking for the corresponding button in the menu.

So, press ctrl+F to open the window with the document search string. Enter the word you want to find in the search bar. Please note that the text editor is looking for a combination of characters, and not a lexical unit, that is, it will find, unlike the Internet search engine, only the form of the word that you entered.

This keyboard shortcut is also relevant for many programs: it can be used to search the page in browsers and in many other applications.


If your goals include not only searching, but also automatic replacement of found combinations, press ctrl+G, and the search window will open on the desired tab. Autocorrect in Word with a key combination is especially necessary when it comes to the same type of editing a voluminous document. For example, in the entire document, you need to change the erroneous spelling of the name or swap the letters in the initials.

You can also repeat the action by pressing the F4 key.

find word in word keyboard shortcut
find word in word keyboard shortcut

Are there keys for the accent mark?

For the accent mark in Word, the key combination as such is not provided.

Inserting an accent is a stumbling block for many Word users. The set of many fonts includes various diacritics, similar to the accent, butmany of them require additional formatting (for example, the accent can be inserted not above the letter, but between the letters), while others have the wrong shape, the wrong size, etc. If in professional layout programs this problem is solved by adjusting the kerning, then here the issue of inserting an accent can be solved by assigning special hot keys for the character you like and once selected.

For example, for the diameter sign in Word, the key combination is also set in the same way for all. They can be assigned to absolutely any character.

Assigning and changing keys

Symbols in Word are assigned key combinations using the main menu. Go to the "Insert" tab and find the "Symbol" button on the left. Open it and select "More Symbols". A window will appear for inserting characters, managing them, and assigning keyboard shortcuts to them.

Select a font, and then any character from the list of this font - click on it with the left mouse button. In the lower part of the window, you can see what system key combination this character has, if it exists: just find the words "keyboard shortcuts". If it does not suit you or if it is missing, you can assign keys to this character yourself.

Click on the "Keyboard shortcuts" button and in the window that opens, find the "New keyboard shortcut" field. Put the cursor there and press the keys you want to assign. It can be two or three keys, and one of them must be ctrl or alt, you can add shift to them (one of them, without ctrl or alt, can be used as a basic modelingkey is not allowed) and any other key. After pressing, a record of the names of these keys should appear in the field.

The entry "Current Assignment" will remind you which command is assigned to these keys. For example, as mentioned above, the ctrl + V combination is a system one for the “paste” command. This always needs to be changed, but will it be convenient? Then the insert will also need to be assigned a new combination. And in this case, the habit developed while working with your computer may fail you if you work on a different machine.

You can also choose the accent mark you like in Word, the key combination is assigned in the same way, and then you don’t have to choose the right one again among many similar characters - just remember the key combination once.

Special characters

On the "Special characters" tab, you can see which keys are assigned to special punctuation marks that are not on the keyboard. These are, for example, a paragraph sign, an ellipsis, an em dash, a non-breaking space, a non-breaking hyphen, a copyright (copyright) sign, a trademark, etc. For some of them, the system may not assume predefined characters, and their insertion is possible only by selecting a character with the mouse. For the other part, the combination may not be entirely convenient (for example, the keys may be located far apart on the keyboard, that is, they may be pressed with two hands) - in any case, any key combinations in Word can be reprogrammed.

nonbreaking space in Word keyboard shortcut
nonbreaking space in Word keyboard shortcut

Hotkeys not related to inserting characters

In addition to inserting or searching for specific characters, you can also assign keyboard shortcuts to almost any command. The need for this may arise, first of all, when you constantly use the same function and would like to optimize it. For example, when designing text documents, it is often necessary to change the size of characters (increase or decrease them), and it is extremely inconvenient to use the mouse and the menu button to do this.

In order to find out which keyboard shortcut corresponds to a particular command, you need to go to the Word settings. Click on the Office button (a round button with the Microsoft Office logo in the upper left corner) and in the menu that opens at the bottom, find the "Word Options" button. Next, in the list on the left, find "Settings". At the bottom of the window that opens, click "Keyboard shortcut: settings".

symbols in Word keyboard shortcuts
symbols in Word keyboard shortcuts

To find the command you are interested in, you need to understand how the window that opened is organized. On the left is a list with the names of the program tabs (main, insert, review, markup, etc.). If you select one of them, then a list of commands corresponding to this tab will be built on the right. If you select one of them, below you can find a description of each command. For example: tab "Home" - Command: ShrinkFont - Description: "Reducing the size of the symbol in the selection." The corresponding keys are registered in the "Keyboard combination" field: Ctrl + (. To change them to others (for example, in order to better remember or withsome other purposes), put the cursor in the "New keyboard shortcut" field and press the desired one. The keyboard shortcut in Word for the selected command will change.

Thus, the Word application allows you to quickly find out which keyboard shortcut is programmed by default, as well as change any combinations to your own and set combinations for those commands that were not originally assigned keys. Install keyboard shortcuts gradually, as you work and as the need arises, and in this case there will be no problems with remembering and automating. If the need to use the command arises only from time to time, make a "cheat sheet" file with a list of predefined and assigned keys.

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