Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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.

Inserting Text with a Shortcut Key

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated October 14, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


1

Brendan would like to know if there is a way to assign a shortcut of his 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 and Building Blocks, but he can't see a way to assign a shortcut like Ctrl+J to a particular AutoText entry or Building Block.

For all intents and purposes (well, at least for Brendan's purposes), there is no difference between an AutoText entry and a Building Block. It is just that in older versions of Word you used AutoText, and in newer versions you use Building Blocks. Fortunately for Brendan, Building Blocks include sort of a built-in shortcut key. Once you create the Building Block 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 Building Block, you can follow these steps:

  1. Define your AutoText entry or Building Block as you normally would.
  2. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In later versions, display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  3. At the left of the dialog box click Customize (Word 2007) or Customize Ribbon (later versions).
  4. Click the Customize button, near the bottom left of the dialog box. 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 near the bottom of the list and select either Building Blocks or AutoText, depending on your version of Word. The defined Building Blocks (or AutoText entries) appear at the right side of the dialog box.
  9. In the list of Building Blocks (or 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 Building Blocks, 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, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Inserting Text with a Shortcut Key.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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2024-03-27 10:51:07

Ann

Your tips are always useful and precise. This is the first place I look for answers.


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