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: Canceling a Command.

Canceling a Command

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 3, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


If you start to perform a command or action within Word, you may want to cancel it before it finishes. To do this, the general rule is to simply press the Esc key. This should cancel any command or action that Word is processing. It is also interesting to note that you can press Esc to close most every dialog box that may pop up in Word.

Note that the Esc key will cancel any command that either hasn't started executing yet or most commands that have started executing. If the command has completed (it is finished), then Esc won't have any effect. Instead, you'll need to undo the command, which can typically be done by pressing Ctrl+Z.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13062) 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: Canceling a Command.

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

Cannot Open Multiple Word Documents

What are you to do if you try to open a document and Word automatically closes your previous document? Word is not ...

Discover More

Placing WordArt Over Graphics

WordArt is a program that allows you to insert fancily formatted text, as a graphic, in your document. If you want your ...

Discover More

Jumping to the Ends of Table Rows

Need to jump from one end of a table row to another? Word provides a couple of handy shortcuts that can make this type of ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Viewing Document Statistics

As you develop a document, Word keeps track of certain statistics about the document itself. Here is how you can review ...

Discover More

A Shortcut for Switching Focus

Word provides keyboard shortcuts for lots of things, but it doesn't provide one for switching to the desktop and back to ...

Discover More

Understanding Default Insert Date Formatting

Insert a date into Word, and you are presented with a variety of formats you can choose from for that date. The default ...

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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 two minus 1?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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.

Videos
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.