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: Stepping Through Head Formats.

Stepping Through Head Formats

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 27, 2014)


If you have a document that you want to format, you may not know exactly which type of heading you want to apply to your text. Word provides several different levels of headings, each defined by styles Heading 1 through Heading 9. You can quickly apply heading styles in your document by remembering a couple of helpful keystrokes:

  1. Position the insertion pointer in the paragraph you want to format as a heading.
  2. Press Shift+Alt+Left Arrow. The paragraph is formatted as Heading 1.
  3. Press Shift+Alt+Right Arrow. The paragraph is formatted as Heading 2.
  4. Continue pressing Shift+Alt+Right Arrow. The paragraph formatting steps through the rest of the headings, up through Heading 9.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13257) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Stepping Through Head Formats.

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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What is six more than 8?

2014-09-29 10:18:56


You can also right click on the heading in the navigation pane and promote, demote, move the section, delete the section, etc. If you promote a heading, all the ones below also promote. Very handy.

2014-09-29 01:43:22


Thanks for the tip.

I use alt-ctrl-1 for heading 1, alt-ctrl-2 for heading 2 and alt-ctrl-3 for heading 3. However, it doesn't work beyond heading 3.

2014-09-27 11:35:31


Once you have your heading styles set up, you can tab to next level or shift tab for previous level too.

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