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Inserting Text with a Shortcut Key

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Inserting Text with a Shortcut Key.

Brendan would like to know if there is a way to assign a shortcut of my choosing, say Ctrl+J, to a sentence. This would mean every time he hits Ctrl+J it would paste that sentence. Brendan knows about AutoText, but he can't see a way to assign a shortcut like Ctrl+J to a particular AutoText entry.

Actually, AutoText includes sort of a built-in shortcut key. Once you create the AutoText entry, you can type the mnemonic for the entry and press F3. Word expands the mnemonic to its longer form. If you want to have a special shortcut key for a particular AutoText entry, you can follow these steps:

  1. Define your AutoText entry as you normally would.
  2. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  3. At the left of the dialog box click Customize (Word 2007) or Quick Access Toolbar (Word 2010).
  4. Click the Customize button. Word displays the Customize Keyboard dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Customize Keyboard dialog box.

  6. Position the insertion point in the Press New Shortcut Key text box.
  7. Press the shortcut key you want to use. For instance, if you want to use Ctrl+J, then press Ctrl+J. Just below the Current Keys text box you should see the name of any commands currently using this shortcut. (In this case, Ctrl+J is used to justify a paragraph so you may want to use a different shortcut.)
  8. In the Categories list scroll down and select AutoText. The defined AutoText entries appear at the right side of the dialog box.
  9. In the list of AutoText entries, select the one you defined in step 1.
  10. Click the Assign button to assign the shortcut.
  11. Click on Close to dismiss the Customize Keyboard dialog box.
  12. Click on Cancel to dismiss the Word Options dialog box.

There are other options besides using AutoText, however. You could, of course, record a macro of you typing the desired text. The macro could then be assigned to a shortcut key and would be replayed (again typing the text) anytime you invoke the shortcut key.

Perhaps the easiest alternative, however, is to create an AutoCorrect entry for your text. All you need to do is come up with a non-ambiguous series of keystrokes, such as cj, and then have Word replace that text with something else. In other words, the program can "correct" the characters cj, replacing them with the longer sentence. There is no shortcut key to remember in this instance, just the short text you want "corrected." (How you create Autocorrect entries has been discussed in other issues of WordTips.)

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6829) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Inserting Text with a Shortcut Key.

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Comments for this tip:

lorac    06 Nov 2014, 20:41
i don't see autotext either as in step 7 and i definitely have insert on (not overtype)
Irene van der Klugt    01 Jul 2014, 07:56
How come I don't see "Autotext" in the Categories list? (your step 7)
CMatz    16 Jun 2014, 17:10
Susan: Sounds like you may be in the overtype mode. Press the Insert key to change to normal "Insert" mode.
The setting for using the Insert Key to toggle Insert/Overype is as follows:

To change the overtype settings so that you can access overtype mode by pressing INSERT, do the following:
1.Press ALT+F, T to open Word Options.
2.Press A to select ADVANCED, and then press TAB.
3.Press ALT+O to move to the Use the Insert key to control overtype mode check box.
4.Press SPACEBAR to select/check (or uncheck) the check box, and then press ENTER.

With the box checked, to turn Overtype mode on or off, press INSERT.

Mike: I often use autocorrect but prefer to use an unusual key combination like /j and when Word sees that with a space the text is inserted.

You can then consider using the / with several different letters for quickly remembering/inserting the text. For example you could use /abc to insert the signature for the initials abc.
Mike Sherman    16 Jun 2014, 16:19
Hi: What am I supposed to do to carry out your first step in this process: "1.Define your AutoText entry as you normally would."?

Thanks, Mike S.
Susan Hyer    14 Jan 2014, 19:27
but what shortcut key switches from "replace" text to "insert" text. My new typing is "replacing" text I'm trying to add when I type!

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