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Changing Keyboard Shortcuts in Microsoft Word

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 12/3/2008

Here's an easy way to customize your keyboard shortcuts in Word.

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    Building a Shortcut

    Keyboard shortcuts are an accepted way for consistent users of a certain program to work with it much quicker than when they have to use the traditional command methods. Those who have them memorized can use the program with a flowing ease that makes the process much more about the creative project than the computer application. It may be easier for a person to use ones that they themselves have set, which is easily done in Microsoft Word.

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    Go to Tools in the task bar and then Customize. Once you are in the Customize menu, go ahead and click on the Commands tab. From here, you will see two lists. The one of the left contains different categories of commands, such as File and Edit. On the right, you will see the list of commands for each selected category. At the bottom center of this window, you will see a “Keyboard” button, which you should click. This will open a second window much like the last one. Again, it will have the category and command lists, but now you will be able to select a command and then in the “Press new shortcuts key” bar you will be able to enter a new command key combination.

    For example, select the File category and then the Save command. Traditionally the Microsoft Office, and by inclusion Word, command for this is Control and S. Click into the box and press Alt and S. This will show up in the box, and then you will be able to press the Assign button in the lower left hand corner. Go ahead and go through all of your most used commands and reassign them to your own customized keyboard shortcuts.

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    Learn the Default

    In that same keyboard window you also have the option to click the Reset button to bring back the default settings. It is important to be careful if you are actually going to do this, because it is likely that you will be using other machines than your own for Word and if you have relied on custom keyboard shortcuts this whole time then you may have trouble when using a foreign computer. Try memorizing the standard shortcuts before assigning your own.