Create or reassign keyboard shortcuts in Microsoft Office

If you spend a lot of time in Microsoft Office, you can save time by customizing your own keyboard shortcuts. Keyboard shortcuts are just one way to speed up your work in Microsoft Office, but they can make a world of difference, especially for tasks you use frequently.

Shortcut assignments may vary depending on the operating system you are on and the version of Microsoft Office you have installed.

How to customize keyboard shortcuts

Before we see how to change a keyboard shortcut, let’s open the corresponding window:

  1. Open a Microsoft Office program, such as Word.
  2. Navigate to File > Options to open the options window for that program, such as Word Options in MS Word.
  3. Open the Customize Ribbon option from the left.
  4. Choose Customize…. at the bottom of that screen, next to Keyboard shortcuts: .

The Customize Keyboard window is how you can control the hotkeys used in Microsoft Word (or any other MS Office program you have open). Choose an option from the Categories : and then choose an action for the hotkey in the Commands: section .

For example, you might want to change the shortcut key used to open a new document in Microsoft Word. Here’s how:

  1. Choose File Tab from the Categories : .
  2. Select FileOpen in the right pane, under Commands : .

    One of the default hotkeys ( Ctrl+F12 ) is shown here under the Current key: , but next to it, in the Press the new hotkey: box , is where you can define a new hotkey for this particular command.

  3. Select that text box, and then enter the shortcut you want to use. Instead of typing letters like Ctrl , just press that key on your keyboard. In other words, press the shortcut keys as if you were using them, and the program will automatically detect them and enter the appropriate text.

    For example, press the Ctrl+Alt+Shift+O keys if you want to use that new shortcut to open documents in Word.

  4. You will see a Currently assigned to: appear under the Current: keys after you press the keys. If it says [unassigned] , then you can move on to the next step.

    Otherwise, the shortcut key you entered is already assigned to a different command, which means that if you assign the same shortcut key to this new command, the original command will no longer work with this shortcut.

  5. Select Assign to have the new keyboard shortcut applied to the selected command.
  6. You can now close any open windows related to settings and options.

Additional Tips

  • You can remove the built-in and custom keyboard shortcuts by going back to Step 4 in the first set of instructions above. In that Customize Keyboard window , simply select a hotkey from the Current: keys and use the Remove button to remove it.
  • Setting up too many custom keyboard shortcuts can be confusing. Create them sparingly for functions that don’t already have a shortcut assigned to them. Reserve this method of reassigning or creating keyboard shortcuts for tasks that you use frequently.
  • The quickest way to restore all of your original shortcut keys is to return to the Customize Keyboard screen mentioned above. Use Reset All…. to reset all hotkeys to their original default settings.
  • To see the program’s default keyboard shortcuts in one place, select Help in the upper-right corner, and then select it again if you’re using the Ribbon menu . Search for Shortcuts and find the program you are interested in, such as Word, to see the list of Microsoft keyboard shortcuts.