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Function Keys in Word 97-2019(365)

General Discussion of Function Keys

In the early days of word processing on computers, the function or F- keys were often the primary way of telling the computer what you wanted done. (An exception was WordStar which predated DOS.) There were originally ten function keys and they were grouped on the left side of the keyboard. Their current assignments spring from this history.

86-key keyboard with 10 function keys

Early programs would come with a template that would fit around them to describe their functions or with stickers that would go on top of the keys. These are still available for many programs. Because the original keyboard came with ten rather than twelve function keys the functions assigned to the F11 and F12 keys are also assigned to (more complex) variations on other keys. Some modern computers have a special Fn key to allow the function keys to be used or to give them additional functions. See below if this is your situation. twenty key combinations are unassigned.

The function keys, in some cases, predate the existence of menus. There are function keys on the Macintosh version of Word as well. There are slight differences.

With this history in mind, let's take a look at the function keys for Word. Each function key can be modified (as can ordinary keys) with the Shift, Ctrl & Alt keys (and combinations of these). Many function keys have keyboard equivalents with the ordinary letter keys in combination with the Ctrl key.

 

F1

(modifiers)

Get Help or visit Office.com

F2

(modifiers)

Move text or graphic. Use the arrow keys to place the cursor where you want to move the text or graphic, and then press Enter to move, or press Esc to cancel
Shift Reveal Formatting (or context-sensitive help) toggle Shift Copies the selected text or graphic. Use the arrow keys to place the cursor where you want to copy the text or graphic, and then press Enter to copy, or press Esc to cancel.
Ctrl 2007-2013 - Collapse/Expand Ribbon

97-2003 - Hide/show helper pane

Ctrl Print Preview
Ctrl+Shift   Ctrl+Shift  
Alt Go to Next Field (F11) Alt  
Alt+Shift Go to Previous Field (Shift+F11) Alt+Shift Save document (Ctrl+S) (Shift+F12)
Ctrl+Alt Display Microsoft System Information Ctrl+Alt Open document (Ctrl+O) (Ctrl+F12)

 

F3

(modifiers)

Insert Building Block / AutoText

F4

(modifiers)

Repeat the last action (Ctrl+Y)
Shift Change text Case (cycles through choices) Shift Repeat last Find or GoTo action (similar to arrows on browse object)
Ctrl Cut to the Spike Ctrl Close the window (document) (Ctrl+W)
Ctrl+Shift Insert Contents of Spike Ctrl+Shift  
Alt Create an AutoText entry / Building Block Alt Quit Microsoft Word (Quit application)
Ctrl+Alt   Ctrl+Alt  

 

F5

(modifiers)

Go To (page, table, line, bookmark, section, comment, footnote, endnote, field, graphic, equation, object, heading) (Ctrl+G)

F6

(modifiers)

Next open frame or pane: switch between the document, task pane, status bar, and ribbon. In a document that has been split, F6 includes the split panes when switching between panes and the task pane.
Shift Move to last change in document Shift Previous open frame or pane
Ctrl Restore document window size (i.e. after resizing it) Ctrl Go to next document window
Ctrl+Shift Edit a bookmark Ctrl+Shift Go to previous document window
Alt   Alt Go to next document window
Alt+Shift   Alt+Shift Go to previous document window
Ctrl+Alt   Ctrl+Alt  

 

F7

(modifiers)

Check Spelling and Grammar

F8

(modifiers)

Extend a selection - Select Column
Shift Thesaurus Shift Reduce size of a selection
Ctrl Choose the Move window command (title bar shortcut menu) Ctrl Choose the Size window command (title bar shortcut menu)
Ctrl+Shift Update linked information in a Microsoft Word source document. Ctrl+Shift Extend a selection or block (then press an arrow key)
Alt Next questioned spelling Alt List and Run Macros
Alt+Shift Translation Pane Alt+Shift  
Ctrl+Alt   Ctrl+Alt  

 

F9

(modifiers)

Update Field (Ctrl+Shift+U)

F10

(modifiers)

Show Key Tips - Word 97-2003 menu bar (Alt key alone 2007 and later)
Shift Reveal Field Code (one level) Shift Display a Shortcut Menu
Ctrl Insert new Empty Field braces { } Ctrl Maximize document window
Ctrl+Shift Unlink a Field (change to text) (Ctrl+6) Ctrl+Shift  
Alt Toggle Field Code Display (all) this is for all fields in all documents and stays like this until toggled again Alt Maximize the program window.
Alt+Shift Do Field Click - Run GOTOBUTTON or MACROBUTTON from the field that displays the field results. (same as double-click?) Alt+Shift Display the menu or message for a smart tag. If more than one smart tag is present, switch to the next smart tag and display its menu or message.
Ctrl+Alt   Ctrl+Alt  

 

F11

(modifiers)

Go to Next Field

F12

(modifiers)

Save As
Shift Go to Previous Field Shift Save (Ctrl+S)
Ctrl Lock Field (Ctrl+3) Ctrl Open (Ctrl+O)
Ctrl+Shift Unlock Field (Ctrl+4) Ctrl+Shift Print Preview and Print (Ctrl+P)
Alt Display Visual Basic Editor - show macro code Alt  
Alt+Shift   Alt+Shift  
Ctrl+Alt   Ctrl+Alt  

Some of these keys (like Alt+F4 to close an application) are intended to be universal among Windows programs. Others are peculiar to Word and its functions. These keys are powerful tools.

Troubleshooting Function Keys

Some computers (especially laptops) assign their own functions to the function keys in their BIOS. If the function keys on your keyboard have little symbols on them in addition to the number, chances are good this is the case with your computer. The computer this is being typed on is an HP Envy which does this. It also has an additional special shift key (fn) which lets the user use the original assignments. So, for instance where the Word function key is Ctrl+F9 to insert a field, it would be, instead, Fn+Ctrl+F9 or Fn, followed by Ctrl+F9. It may also be possible to edit the BIOS so that the fn key is used for the special functions assigned by the computer manufacturer, and the ones showing above work without pressing this extra key.

Also, many Windows utilities hijack (appropriate) certain function keys for their own use. One I use is SnagIt, a screen capture utility. SnagIt lets the user control this. I don't know that all such programs do.

Macintosh

Often (not always) on the Mac the Option key fills the function of the Alt key; the Cmd key fills the function of the Ctrl key.
Not all keyboard shortcuts in Windows exist on the Mac, but most do. Some Mac keyboards also have a Ctrl key.

Keyboard shortcuts in Word for Mac - Microsoft Support

Here is a link to my chart showing keyboard shortcuts that manipulate fields on both Windows and the Mac.

The chart below shows what is shown on the documentation page. I suspect there may be more. I recommend referring to the Windows chart above and experimenting with the different shift keys.

F1

(modifiers)

Undo (Cmd+Z)

F2

(modifiers)

Cut text or graphics (Cmd+X)
Shift   Shift Copies the selected text or graphic. Use the arrow keys to place the cursor where you want to copy the text or graphic, and then press Return to copy, or press Esc to cancel.
Cmd   Cmd  
Ctrl   Ctrl  
Ctrl+Shift   Ctrl+Shift  
Opt   Opt  
Opt+Shift   Opt+Shift  
Ctrl+Opt   Ctrl+Opt  

 

F3

(modifiers)

Copy text to Clipboard (Cmd+C)

F4

(modifiers)

Paste text from Clipboard (Cmd+V)
Shift Change text Case (cycles through choices) Shift Repeats the last Find or GoTo action
Ctrl   Ctrl  
Cmd Cuts selection to the Spike Cmd Close Current Document
Cmd+Shift Pastes contents of the Spike Cmd+Shift Repeats the last Find or GoTo action
Opt Create AutoText Entry Opt  
Cmd+Opt   Cmd+Opt  

 

F5

(modifiers)

Go To (page, table, line, bookmark, section, comment, footnote, endnote, field, graphic, equation, object, heading) (Cmd+Opt+G)

F6

(modifiers)

Switch between the document, task pane, status bar, and ribbon. In a document that has been split, F6 includes the split panes when switching between panes and the task pane.
Shift Move to last change in document Shift Previous open frame or pane
Ctrl   Cmd Go to next document window
Cmd+Shift Edit a bookmark Cmd+Shift Go to previous document window
Opt   Opt  
Opt+Shift   Opt+Shift  
Ctrl+Opt   Ctrl+Opt  

 

F7

(modifiers)

Check Spelling and Grammar (Cmd+Opt+L)

F8

(modifiers)

Extend a selection - Select Column
Shift Thesaurus Shift Reduce size of a selection
Ctrl   Ctrl  
Cmd+Shift Update linked information in a Microsoft Word source document. Cmd+Shift Turn Extend a selection mode on or off
Opt Next questioned spelling Opt Display macro dialog box
Opt+Shift Open Dictionary Opt+Shift  
Ctrl+Opt   Ctrl+Opt  

 

F9

(modifiers)

Update Field

F10

(modifiers)

 
Shift Reveal Field Code (one level) Shift Display a Shortcut Menu
Cmd Insert new Empty Field braces { } Ctrl  
Cmd+Shift Unlink a Field (change to text) Ctrl+Shift  
Opt Toggle Field Code Display (all) this is for all fields in all documents and stays like this until toggled again Opt  
Opt+Shift Do Field Click - Run GOTOBUTTON or MACROBUTTON from the field that displays the field results. (same as double-click?) Opt+Shift  
Cmd+Opt   Cmd+Opt  

 

F11

(modifiers)

Go to Next Field

F12

(modifiers)

 
Shift Go to Previous Field Shift  
Cmd Lock Field Ctrl  
Cmd+Shift Unlock Field Ctrl+Shift  
Opt Display Visual Basic Editor - show macro code Opt  
Opt+Shift   Opt+Shift  
Ctrl+Opt   Ctrl+Opt  

 

More Keyboard Shortcuts than Function Keys

There are far more shortcut keys built into Word than the function keys. You can find them in help, but it is a long list. You can make a written list if you want. See this article for directions. Here is one such list in a web format.

A number of key combinations have no assigned function and could be easily assigned to call macros, AutoText or other Word functions. This is not difficult to do. No function key has the combination of Ctrl+Alt+Shift assigned. The Ctrl+Alt combination is not assigned for the any of the function keys other than F1 and F2.

bullet Keyboard shortcuts in Word for Mac - Microsoft Support
bullet Keyboard shortcuts in Word for Windows - Microsoft Support

Adding / Changing Keyboard Shortcuts in Word

You want to get to the customize keyboard shortcuts dialog.
See also: Assigning Keyboard Shortcuts in Microsoft Word 2007-2019 (365)

 

There are a number of ways to get there. They differ depending on whether you have Word 97-2003 or Word 2007-2013.

Word 97-2003

You can reach this by choosing Customize under the Tools menu (or by right clicking on any toolbar). Then Options > Keyboard.

See How to assign a macro or command to a hot-key

Word 2007

You can reach the Customize Keyboard dialog by right-clicking on the Ribbon and selecting "Customize the Quick Action Toolbar." Then click on the keyboard button at the bottom of the dialog that pops up.

Word 2010-2019 / 365

You can reach the Customize Keyboard dialog by right-clicking on the Ribbon and selecting "Customize the Ribbon." Then click on the customize keyboard button at the bottom of the dialog that pops up.

Unassigned Function Keys

There are twenty unassigned function key keyboard shortcuts available for assignment without overwriting an existing assignment. There appear to be even more unassigned in the Mac version.

F1

Ctrl+Shift

F2

Ctrl+Shift

F3

Ctrl+Alt

F4

Ctrl+Shift
Alt

F5

 

Alt
Alt+Shift
Ctrl+Alt

F6

Ctrl+Alt

F7

Ctrl+Alt

F8

Alt+Shift
Ctrl+Alt

F9

Ctrl+Alt

F10

Ctrl+Shift
Ctrl+Alt

F11

Alt+Shift
Ctrl+Alt

F12

Alt
Alt+Shift
Ctrl+Alt

 

Function Key Toolbar in Word 2000-2003

You can get the function keys to display in a special toolbar at the bottom of the screen if you want (something like pressing F3 twice in WP 5.1). The following macro will do this.

Sub ShowMeFunctionKeys()
    Commandbars("Function Key Display").Visible = True
End Sub

The following macro would toggle this display:

Sub ToggleFunctionKeysDisplay()
    With Commandbars("Function Key Display")
        .Visible = Not .Visible
    End With
End Sub

See Macros and VBA for instructions on inserting this macro into your Normal.dot or other template.

In versions 2007 and later there is no equivalent display, but the help system will show function key use, as will a web search: 2007-2016. These show up in a Google search for "keyboard shortcuts Microsoft Word" or "function keys Microsoft Word."

Last updated 01 Jan 2021

Many people visit this site and use the information it contains.
It costs money to keep on line and effort to update.
If you have received assistance here
please consider making a donation if you can.

 
Thank you. ckk

Copyright 2000-2021 Charles Kyle Kenyon

FAQ provided as an adjunct / hobby as a part of my web site as a criminal defense lawyer.

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