• 3-minute read
  • 20th February 2019

A Handy Guide to Microsoft Word Shortcuts

Being proofreaders, we spend a lot of time using Microsoft Word. And being people, we’re also glad of anything that makes our day a little simpler. So if you’re like us at all, you may appreciate our list of handy Microsoft Word shortcuts (plus a guide to creating your own custom shortcuts).

Function Shortcuts

This first batch of shortcuts covers common functions in Microsoft Word, such as cutting and pasting text. You can use them to save time if you find you use certain commands repeatedly.


PC Shortcut

Mac Shortcut


Ctrl + Z

Command + Z


Ctrl + Y

Command + Y


Ctrl + X

Command + X


Ctrl + V

Command + V

Select all

Ctrl + A

Command + A


Ctrl + S

Command + S

New document

Ctrl + N

Command + N

Open a saved document

Ctrl + O

Command + O

Insert comment

Ctrl + Alt + M

Command +
Option + A

Search document

Ctrl + F

Ctrl + F

Find and replace

Ctrl + H

Ctrl + H

Insert current date

Shift + Alt + D

Control + Shift + D

Insert current time

Shift + Alt + T

Control + Shift + T

Formatting Shortcuts

Next, we have some formatting shortcuts. These let you control how text is presented in a document. Try to memorize the shortcuts for formatting options that you use frequently.


PC Shortcut

Mac Shortcut

Heading 1

Ctrl + Alt + 1

Command +
Option + 1

Heading 2

Ctrl + Alt + 2

Command +
Option + 2

Heading 3

Ctrl + Alt + 3

Command +
Option + 3


Ctrl + B

Command + B


Ctrl + I

Command + I


Ctrl + U

Command + U


Ctrl + Shift + A

+ Shift + A

Increase font size by one

Ctrl + ]

+ Shift + >

Decrease font size by one

Ctrl + [

+ Shift + <

Align center

Ctrl + E

Command + E

Align left

Ctrl + L

Command + L

Align right

Ctrl + R

Command + R

Justify text

Ctrl + J

Command + J

Single space lines

Ctrl + 1

Command + 1

Double space lines

Ctrl + 2

Command + 2

Set line spacing to 1.5

Ctrl + 5

Command + 5

Custom Shortcuts in Microsoft Word

And finally, what do you do if there isn’t a shortcut for something in Microsoft Word? Create your own, of course! To do this in Word for Windows:

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  • Go to File > Options > Customize Ribbon
  • Go down to Keyboard shortcuts… and click Customize
  • Select the function you need from the Categories and Commands lists
  • Go to Press new shortcut key and hold down a key combination to use as a shortcut (e.g., hold down Alt + Ctrl + = to use these keys as a shortcut)
  • In the Save changes in menu, choose whether to save the shortcut to the current document or to a template (so you can use it in future documents)
  • Click Assign to set the key combination as a shortcut
Setting a custom shortcut.
Setting a custom shortcut.

In Word for Mac, on the other hand, you assign shortcuts via the shortcut options in Mac OS X.

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