How to Change Keyboard Shortcuts in Word 2013

The new Office 2013 suite doesn’t have to be used on a touch screen. It works just as well with the keyboard as any of its predecessors. If you want to customize the keyboard experience, this groovy guide will show you the way.

While other applications in the Office 2013 (365 Home Premium) Preview don’t offer a way to adjust hotkeys, Word is ahead of the game as usual and lets you customize everything. If you don’t like the way a shortcut key works, just change it. Unfortunately, changes made in Word don’t seem to affect other applications from the Office suite. But hopefully, we’ll see some support on this from Microsoft before Office 2013 goes retail. Here’s how to get the edge on customizing hotkeys in Word.

Launch Word 2013, then click the File Menu.

file menu

From the Backstage view click the Options button.

options backstage

In Word Options, click the Customize Ribbon button. Then click the Customize button at the bottom adjacent to the “Keyboard shortcuts” label.

word 2013 customize shortcut keys

Select a category, and then browse through the commands. You’ll see that the majority of the commands in Word 2013 don’t have any keyboard shortcuts assigned. This is mostly because there are nearly one thousand commands in total and it would be crazy to remember hotkeys for all of them.

If a command does have a hotkey, it will be listed under Current Keys.

current keys

To add a new shortcut key, select the command you’d like to add it to. Next, click the empty white box under the “Press new shortcut key” label. While the text cursor is blinking in this box, press the keyboard combination you’d like to set as the shortcut key. Pressing multiple different combinations will allow you to add numerous hotkeys at once to a command. Each command is separated by commas. You can use the Backspace button on your keyboard to remove them if you type too many.

Once entered, click the Assign button to bind (save) the shortcut key to the command.

assign a new key

If you enter a keyboard shortcut that’s already used by a different command, you’ll see the name of the attached command listed after the “Currently assigned to” label.

Note that you can’t double dip with shortcut keys, assigning a key command that’s already being used will unbind it from the original command.

avoid duplicate keys

If you feel like you’ve messed something up, in the worst case scenario there’s a reset button that will restore all hotkeys to defaults. It’ll be the same as when you first installed Office 2013.

reset keyboard shortcuts in word 2013

New shortcut keys will appear as tooltips just like the original commands do. So if you ever forget which hotkey goes where just hover over the tool in question on the ribbon.

clear formatting shortcut key office 2013




  1. Heather Wachendorf

    I want to make my f2 button a short cut key for 1/2 symbol. how do i do that?

    same with my f4 button to 1/4 symbol

  2. Belinda

    i accidentally removed a shortcut key and it jumbled all my keyboard buttons. my question mark is now an underscore and so on. how do i reset it back to normal_

    • YzT

      Belinda in March ’14 most probably had an inadvertent Windows keyboard language switch rather than a Microsoft Office shortcut issue.

  3. Costas Physentzides

    Thanks for the tip.
    It appears that I must have pressed a combination of keys that switched off all the shortcut keys.
    I tried the above but none of the shortcut keys are activated.
    I pressed RESET ALL, as suggested, but to no avail.
    It seems that all shortcut keys are OFF.
    Do you know how to reset shortcut keys back to the original settings?

  4. Blagovest

    Thank you for this really useful tip. It works also for office 2016.

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