Making the Most of Word 2010 Keyboard Shortcuts

January 13, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Microsoft Word is probably the world’s most used word processing application, the tool used by school children, corporate employees and professional writers alike to create, build and polish a huge selection of different types of work, such as lists, poems, reports, essays, screenplays and books.

Like almost all Microsoft applications, we interact with Microsoft Word with a combination of mouse and keyboard. However many users become so used to accessing the largely keyboard-based application with just their keyboard it makes sense that Microsoft should have included various keyboard shortcuts into Word (and other Microsoft Office applications) to save users from having to move their hands away from the keyboard.

Microsoft Word keyboard shortcuts

Basic Keyboard Shortcuts in Microsoft Word

There are in fact several keyboard shortcuts that no Microsoft Word user should be unaware of, regardless of whether they intend to use the application without a mouse.

The most important of these is probably F1 – the key used to access the Microsoft Word 2010 Help documentation which is included within the application.

However the Delete and Insert (Del and Ins) keys, situated just to the right of the backspace key on your keyboard are worth some attention. In Microsoft Word 2010 these keys have no effect other than to delete a text selection or single character. In older versions it’s a different story, though, with the Ins key causing the overtype mode to activate when accidentally caught. For some users preventing this from occurring has been worth the upgrade price.

Other particularly useful keyboard shortcuts in Word are the Page Up and Page Down buttons which are pretty self-explanatory, while Home and End can be used in two different ways. Employed individually, Home will send the cursor/insertion point to the start of a line and End to its end, while CTRL+Home will send the insertion point to the top of the document and CTRL+End will send it to the bottom of the last page.

Meanwhile, Num Lock will toggle the number pad between an array of keys that allow you to type numbers and an alternative to the standard arrow keys and Caps Lock will of course force capital (also known as upper case) letters to be typed.

Finally, don’t forget the F5 key to launch the Find and Replace tool, the F7 key to begin the Spelling and Grammar check and F12 to open the Save as… dialogue box.

Accessing the Ribbon Menu via the Keyboard

There are more keyboard shortcuts for Word, however, and these can be easily accessed if you wish to use the application purely with your fingers and keyboard and avoid use of the mouse.

If this is the case, there is evidently an issue – just how do you use the various tools found in the ribbon menu in Microsoft Word 2010?

The answer is simple, and involves just a few keystrokes.

Tapping the Alt key tells Word that you wish to access the ribbon via your keyboard, and as such various other keys are now assigned. For instance when you press Alt, tapping N will take you to the Insert tab. Here you will see all of the keyboard shortcuts for the various insert tools available here, and a similar set of shortcuts is available on all tabs!

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