Boldly Go Where the Keyboard Shortcuts Really Are


I corocketme from the Flintstone age; I learned to type on an IBM Selectric typewriter. When I moved to computers, mice were obnoxious to me because I was used to doing everything without ever having to take my hands off the keyboard. Nowadays, shortcuts are built into every program you use. However, they often still take several keys or steps to reach a goal.

I learned how to reassign some tasks to keys I wasn’t using; like the ‘F’ Keys. Reassigning keys is easy, however, it only applies to the application you reassign keys in – in this case Word. It is not the same as remapping keys. For common things like bolding text though, it works for me in a pinch. And when I’m writing a lot of user documentation, I’m bolding a lot. Even though Windows 7 offers the shadow editing box when you highlight text, I found an even faster way to bold multiple items and you don’t need to highlight the text, you just have to be on it.

  1. Open Word.  Click the Office button and select Word Options.

Windows Button_Word Options

  1. Click Customize on the left column, go to the bottom of the window next to Keyboard Shortcuts and click Customize

.Customize_Kbrd Shortucts Customize

  1. In the next window you will be locating the shortcut you want to assign to a key on your keyboard.  Under Categories find the corresponding tab in Word and then find the command (such as Bold) that you would like to assign to a key.

Home Tab_Bold

  1. Under Press New Shortcut Key – press the key you would like to use.  I chose F12. NOTE: If Windows can’t assign that key, it won’t show up in the box. Don’t use keys that are normally assigned to something you use for other things – it will lead to problems later. Use those lonely F Keys.
  1. Click Assign>Close>OK. The handy thing about using the F12 Key for Bold is that you no longer have to double click to highlight the word you want to bold. You just click once inside the word and then hit the shortcut key. Bam. Bingo. Bold.

NOTE: You can use this process for other things besides Bold.

About the Author

Karen Homan

Karen is a 14 year veteran at an upstate New York college where she writes and edits end-user documentation to educate faculty and staff in computer software. She has been involved with software training for over 17 years, is experienced in producing training videos, blogs about technology, and creates instructional material for her day job. One of her passions is figuring things out. Her favorite motto is IBM’s old one word slogan: THINK.

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