Making Ctrl+F Work Traditionally

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 14, 2018)

23

Ever since the introduction of Word 2010, Ctrl+F no longer displays the Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. Instead, it displays a pane at the left side of the screen that allows simple searching and navigation. Many people find this very unhelpful and a step backward. It is possible to press Ctrl+H and then click on the Find tab, but to most people that isn't nearly as simple as just pressing Ctrl+F.

The solution is to make a configuration change to your shortcut keys. Follow these steps:

  1. Display the File tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click Options. Word displays the Word Options dialog box.
  3. At the left side of the dialog box click Customize Ribbon.
  4. At the lower-left corner of the dialog box click Customize. Word displays the Customize Keyboard dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Customize Keyboard dialog box.

  6. In the Categories list, click Home Tab.
  7. In the Commands list, locate EditFind and click on it once to select it.
  8. Make sure the insertion point is in the Press New Shortcut Key box. (Just click once in the box.)
  9. Press Ctrl+F. Just below the Current Keys box Word informs you that this shortcut key is currently assigned to the NavPaneSearch command. (That's the root of the problem, right?)
  10. Click the Assign button.
  11. Click Close to get rid of the Customize Keyboard dialog box.
  12. Click OK to dismiss the Word Options dialog box.

Now, whenever you press Ctrl+F, you'll see the Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box, as you traditionally would.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11389) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365.

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

Selecting a Paper Size

Excel can print your worksheet on just about any paper size you can imagine. How you select the paper size you want used ...

Discover More

Median of Selected Numbers

Need to find a median value in a series of values? It's easy with the MEDIAN function. What isn't as easy is to derive ...

Discover More

Turning Off Line Numbering

Need to have line numbering turned off for a paragraph or two? You can accomplish the task by following these steps.

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)

Finding and Deleting Rows

Got a table that contains rows you want to delete? Deleting one or two rows in a table is easy; deleting a bunch of rows ...

Discover More

Changing the Formatting of All Instances of a Word

Need to find all the instances of a particular word and change the formatting of those instances? It's easy to do using ...

Discover More

Finding and Replacing Text Boxes

The Find and Replace capabilities of Word are very powerful, but they still come up a bit short when searching for some ...

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 eight less than 8?

2019-03-16 17:09:55

Annoyed with MSFT

Microsoft clearly deserves no more $ from me for ANY future version of this horrible product with its crappy product management. One would think they would have incorporated the concept of application "skins", and User configuration files that could be moved when the Application is upgraded, BACK in the early 2000's. They have been the single most important GUI concepts that help improve long term User Satisfaction with a software product of any type since ~2010 and MSFT is nearly a decade behind!

The Procedure to set the keyboard shortcut assignment for EditFind seems to be different than above on my pc based Word 2010 v14.0.7229.5000

This worked for me:
1. Get to the "Customize Keyboard" window by clicking File\Options\Customize Ribbon\Customize\
2. Select "All Commands" in the "Categories:" box list by clicking on it so it highlights
3. Scroll down to "EditFind" in the "Commands:" box and select it so it highlights
4. Click in the "Current Keys:" box and type in Ctrl-F by pressing the "Ctrl key" and "F key" on your keyboard at the same time. ("Ctrl-F" should appear in the box.)
5. Click on the "Assign" button which should be active now. (i did not get a warning that it was already assigned)

Exit out and Ctrl-F should now work.

Thank you Allen!
Booo to you MSFT!


2019-03-16 16:20:40

Annoyed with MSFT

Microsoft clearly deserves no more $ from me for this horrible product with its crappy product management. One would think they would have incorporated the concept of application "skins", and User configuration files that could be moved when the Application is upgraded, BACK in the early 2000's.

Thank you Allen!


2019-02-25 12:48:57

Randy

Really appreciate this!! And ya, why is MS so keen to remove a basic, yet powerful tool that is now second nature to most users?? ... they just can't seem to leave well enough alone!

Randy


2019-02-24 19:01:06

Devon

THANK YOU


2019-02-04 11:59:13

Jeremy Oosthuizen

Thanks, this was very helpful!


2019-01-22 01:55:07

Mr. P.

Thank you for perfect instructions on setting Ctrl +F to execute the Advance Find feature. I am using Office Pro Plus 2016. Love it! Jan. 18th, 2019


2018-12-03 15:51:24

Elvi Dalgaard

Hi! Thanks so much for this great workaround. It works well for me in the document I'm in when I make the change, but then the next time I open Word it has reverted. Any idea how to fix this? I have it set to save changes in Normal.dotm but somehow it always seems to go back to the NavPane setting.


2018-11-21 18:55:02

B.D.

Allen!

Thank you. Thank you.

You solve for me this useless irritating change in Microsoft Word (like many others, by the way). There are tears of joy in my eyes.

Now CRTL-F is finally back. THANK YOU!

Tell me Allen, why Microsoft is so stupid?

BD


2018-11-21 12:33:28

Tom Lenz

I should have done this a looooooonngg time ago. Thank you for posting these clear instructions to rid an often appearing annoyance.


2018-11-18 11:27:57

Steve Brudney

Please advise me if you have time.

For years, I have used Ctrl+F to find occurrences of a word or group of words in my manuscript in order to check whether i'm repeating myself. The occurrences would show in the panel on the left and, if all I did was click each entry to see the context in which each occurs in in the manuscript, as long as I don't click in the manuscript itself, then when I'm done and "x" out of the panel, I'm back on the page I was writing before I used Ctrl+F.

A few days ago, Ii stopped taking me back and leaves me, I think, on the last occurrence I clicked on.

Do you know what's wrong and how I can fix this?


2018-11-01 08:11:14

Fran

Thanks for the instructional. Followed your directions and now enjoying reverting back to this type of Find.


2018-10-27 11:02:55

Rosie

Thank you so much Allen, I can now work just like I used to.


2018-09-04 07:26:16

Karl

Thanks that was very helpful. I hate Microsoft and how they always "improve" things. Office 2003 was the best... why'd they screw it up.


2018-07-06 18:38:47

Leroy Sunset

Every time my machine at work gets wiped and Windows reinstalled, I have to redo this setting. And every time, this page is here to help.

Thanks a ton.


2018-07-03 05:41:11

TK

Thank you very much. Got lost many a times in the navigation panel, not anymore !


2018-05-22 11:08:16

Penny

That was exactly what I have wanted forever now. Thank you very much.


2018-05-16 17:46:39

Janice S.

Bless you! The new "find" feature (now Results is not even the default showing) was driving me nuts. This is the best explanation of how to fix something I have ever seen. Keep up the good work!


2018-05-09 08:59:18

MRM

Thank you, thank you, thank you!


2018-05-08 10:27:00

Bruce

Wow! I have lived for eight years with this hideous new feature to Word (and the Ctrl-H workaround) and still find myself hitting Ctrl-F instinctively and cursing the Navigation Pane. I can't believe with such a clever (but totally unobvious) solution you have totally made my week! Thank you very much.


2018-04-23 14:09:43

Caran

This is one of the first modifications I make whenever I have to work with a new installation of Word.


2018-04-19 10:26:23

Jones McFly

Worked perfectly. Your instructions and screenshots were bang-on. Best tech advice I have ever found on the web (in terms of clearly written and perfectly explained). THANK YOU.


2018-04-16 14:06:08

Margaret

Man, you are my new hero.


2018-04-14 18:15:08

Audrey M

Is there a step missing between steps 8 and 9 above? I am using Word for Mac, and when I followed the instructions as given, there was no change. I hit Ctrl F and still went to the Search pane (pain?). But then I went back into the Customize Keyboard dialogue box. This time, before I entered Command+F in the new keyboard shortcut, I selected EditFindDialog in the Commands list. Then entered Command+F and hit Assign, and now I've got my dialogue box back. Maybe this is just a quirk in Mac, and I realize this is mainly a PC site, but thought I'd pass on the information.
And thank you for showing me how to get the find and replace box back! I've missed it.
Audrey


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.