Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Dictionary Shortcut Key.

Dictionary Shortcut Key

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 12, 2017)

3

Adam wonders if there is a shortcut key to open the dictionary or synonym box for a word directly after typing it. He is tired of using the mouse to display the tools (by right-clicking on a word).

Actually, there are several ways to use the keyboard to display this type of information. It boils down, mostly, to exactly what you want to do. These are the most common:

  • If you want to spell-check the word, just use the keyboard to select it and press F7. (If you press F7 without selecting the word first, you'll spell-check the entire document.)
  • If you want to display the thesaurus, then make sure the insertion point is within the word and press Shift+F7.

If you prefer, you can display the full Research task pane by pressing Ctrl+Shift+O. You can then use the controls in the task pane to access whatever tools or information you desire.

You can also simulate a right-click on a word. Make sure the insertion point is within the word, then press Shift+F10. This shortcut has the same effect as right-clicking, and you can then choose whatever you want from the resulting Context menu.

If you don't like the default shortcut keys that Word provides (as described in this tip), you can always use the customization capabilities of Word to change the shortcut key to whatever you prefer. How you customize the keyboard is covered 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 (8553) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Dictionary 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Navigating In the Document Map

Using the Document Map to navigate through your document is easy and intuitive. The value of using it for navigation is ...

Discover More

Attaching Macros to Documents

When you distribute documents to other people, you may want those documents to have associated macros that the reader can ...

Discover More

Printing Index Field Codes

Word allows you to configure what you see so that field codes are visible instead of the results of those field codes. ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Compiling Misspelled Words from Documents

Word keeps track of the words that may be misspelled in a document. If you are working with a lot of documents, you may ...

Discover More

Rechecking Spelling and Grammar

If you ever need to check the spelling or grammar of a document from scratch, it can be confusing knowing the proper ...

Discover More

Catching Single-Letter Spelling Errors

There have been times when I've reviewed my writing and found lots of "lone letters," detached by a single space from the ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is seven minus 2?

2017-07-12 16:45:30

Peter Kirkpatrick

@Chris, you'll find that resource within your Research pane. In my 2010 version, the second field down is a drop field. Shift-F7 opens that pane with the option set to Thesaurus. Then you can click on the drop arrow to see what other options (including a dictionary) are available. I think the scope of this will depend on what installation settings you originally chose.


2015-07-29 02:44:37

Chris Knowlton

Hmm, I see shortcuts provided for Thesaurus and Spell Check and (Web) Research, but no actual way to reach a local dictionary with definitions for my selected word. Am I missing something, or does Word just not provide this?


2014-08-28 10:12:53

Janet Chauvin

Thank you for the keyboard shortcut. I can really use that! I appreciate all your tips, as well.


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.