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: Resetting a Function Key.

Resetting a Function Key

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 14, 2013)

4

Peter noted that up to some months ago, while working on a Word document, he could select some text and, by pressing Shift+F3, change the case of the selected text. Now when Peter presses this function key it makes Excel launch. He wonders how he can reset the Shift+F3 function key so it works like it should work.

The first thing to check here is at what "level" the function key is operating. Function keys can have various purposes within Windows itself and within Word. If there is a conflict between the purpose of a particular function key in Windows and the purpose of that function key in Word, then the purpose in Windows takes precedence.

The easiest way to figure out the level at which the function key is operating is to just get out of Word (close the program completely) and then try the function key. If Shift+F3 still opens Excel while Word is closed, then the function key has been programmed within Windows to start Excel. This programming overrides anything that the function key may do within Word. Uses these steps to correct the situation:

  1. Within Windows, click the Start button and "drill down" until you find the Excel program. (You need to find it in the Start menu hierarchy, not within the Windows Explorer.)
  2. Right-click the Excel program and choose Properties from the resulting Context menu. Windows displays the Shortcut tab of the Properties dialog box for the Excel program.
  3. Delete anything that may appear in the Shortcut Key box.
  4. Click on Apply, then click OK.

That should do it; you should be able to jump into Word and the function key should work as you expect. If it doesn't, then you should check to see if Shift+F3 has been customized within Word. Follow these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 or Word 2013 click the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. At the left side of the dialog box click Customize (Word 2007) or Customize Ribbon (Word 2010 and Word 2013).
  3. Near the bottom of the dialog box click the Customize button. Word displays the Customize Keyboard dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Customize Keyboard dialog box.

  5. In the Categories list, choose All Commands.
  6. In the Commands list, choose the ChangeCase command. You should see, in the dialog box, the shortcut keys that have been assigned to the command.
  7. If Shift+F3 is not listed in the Current Keys box, click once in the Press New Shortcut Key box and press Shift+F3.
  8. Close both of the open dialog boxes.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9474) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Resetting a Function 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

Formatting Subtotal Rows

Excel automatically formats subtotals for you. But what if you want to change the default to something more suitable for your ...

Discover More

Reversing Type

Most text appears black on white, not white on black. If you want to change this so that your type is reversed, here's a ...

Discover More

Quickly Accessing the Column Tab

If you need to quickly display the Column tab of the Table Properties dialog box, here are some handy tricks you can use. ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Default Units that Change

Word allows you to specify the unit of measurement you would like used in dialog boxes throughout the program. It can get ...

Discover More

Moving Text Using the Mouse

Many people use the keyboard to do their primary editing tasks. Word doesn't limit you to the keyboard, however. You can also ...

Discover More

Getting Windows to Recognize Word 2010

When you have two versions of Word installed on the same system, it can cause a few problems, such as Windows opening 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 8Mpixels. 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 5 + 0?

2015-10-06 10:23:53

Olta

Same as Barbara and Ines :(


2015-08-15 05:48:37

Ines

I have the same problem as Barbara Flanagan. Is there any solution? Thank you.


2015-07-19 17:42:50

Barbara Flanagan

Since my Windows update yesterday, my Shift+F3 is being overwritten by Windows. Both my F2 and F3 are bringing up brightness and dialing it up. Can you tell me how to override the brightness shortcut? I went to Display and brightness, but I don't see a way to shut off the function key.

Thank you so much. This is a great service.


2014-02-18 19:36:06

Luanne

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I just spent an hour wading through Microsoft "help" info and obscure online postings from MVPs trying to find out how to assign Shift + F3 to change case in MS Word 2010. Your instructions are so clear. What a relief!


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.