Microsoft Word along with the other Office programs are sometimes called productivity tools because they can help you accomplish office-related work faster. You need to be familiar with Word’s operation in order to actually be productive with the software. Part of that is knowing the shortcut keys. Microsoft Word has default shortcut keys for the most commonly used commands such as save, copy, cut, paste, etc. But did you know that you can set up your own custom shortcut keys in Word.

1. Pull up the Customize dialog box:
Click on the Tools menu then on the Customize option. The Customize dialog box contains three tabs: Toolbars, Commands and Options. Pull up the Commands tab.

2. Open the Customize Keyboard dialog box:
At the bottom part of the Commands tab is a button labeled Keyboard. Click on this button to open the Customize Keyboard dialog box. The first section of this dialog box labeled ‘Specify a command’ has two lists. One contains categories which pertain to the different menus – File, Edit, View, etc. The other list contains the various commands that are associated with the menu. When you select a category and a command the default shortcut key for that command appears in a box called ‘Current Keys’. This is located in the second section labeled ‘Specify keyboard sequence’.  The last section in the dialog box contains the description of the command. It explains what the command does.

3. Set new shortcut keys:
Beside the Current Keys box is an input field labeled ‘Press new shortcut key:’ This is where you can type in new shortcut keys for whichever menu and command you selected. Simply click on the field to bring the cursor there and then press the key combination on the keyboard. Shortcut keys are always combinations of either CTRL or ALT plus another key, or CTRL and SHIFT or ALT and SHIFT plus another key. Take note that there are commands that don’t have default shortcut keys. Right before where the description appears is a drop-down list labeled ‘Save changes in:’. This is where you choose in what template the new shortcut key will apply. If you choose the Normal.dot template then the new shortcut keys will apply to the current document
and all succeeding documents unless you use a custom template. When you’re done setting the new shortcut click on the Assign button at the lower part of the dialog box. Do this for all new shortcut keys then click on the OK button to finish the process.

4. Print the new key assignments:
Although you set up the new shortcut keys yourself, it’s likely that you won’t be instantly familiar with them. You can print out a list of these shortcut keys as a reference. Press CTRL+P to bring up the Print dialog box. In the ‘Print what’ drop-down list choose Key Assignments. Take note that only the new shortcut keys will be printed, unchanged default combinations won’t be included in the printed list. Each of us has their own way of working with documents. Microsoft Word accommodates that difference by providing the option to set up new shortcut keys.

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