Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Defining a Shortcut for a Macro.

Defining a Shortcut for a Macro

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 12, 2015)


Word allows you to assign macros or commands to specific key combinations. These key combinations are referred to as shortcut keys, and when used they result in the macro or command being executed.

When you first create a macro by recording it, Word gives you to opportunity to assign the macro to a specific key combination. If you later want to change the key combination, you can follow these steps:

  1. Select Customize from the Tools menu. You will see the Customize dialog box.
  2. Click on the Keyboard button. Word displays the Customize Keyboard dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Customize Keyboard dialog box.

  4. Scroll through the Categories list and select the Macros category. The list at the right side of the dialog box changes to show the currently available macros.
  5. In the Macros list, select the macro you want assigned to the shortcut key.
  6. With the insertion pointer in the Press New Shortcut Key box, press the shortcut key you want to use. For instance, if you want to use Ctrl+Alt+J, press that.
  7. Just below the Press New Shortcut Key box you can see whether the shortcut key is already assigned to a different function.
  8. Click on Assign.
  9. Repeat steps 4 through 7 for each change you want to make.
  10. Close all the open dialog boxes.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (209) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Defining a Shortcut for a Macro.

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 four less than 8?

2016-12-14 09:39:39


Even if I have assigned a shortcut key and it works to run my macro I do not see this shortcut key in Current keys in the customize keyboard windows. I see it only when I make the macro, but closing and opening word and the shortcut key is not displayed anymore (even if it works perfectly)

2016-11-17 09:12:46

Alan Elston

I think a small Typo at 6. – it should read “..Just to the left of....”

It might be worth emphasising at 5. That you must use the actual Key Ctrl and a letter or the Keys Ctrl and Alt and a letter. You cannot type in a string such as “Ctrl+Alt+B”. You also cannot paste in a string of a valid combination.


2016-04-21 06:37:19


Allen, you're so helpful! I think these Sharon Parq people should include your name in the company name. Sharon Parq Allen—has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

2014-09-09 04:14:32

Trey Ryder

I want to create a macro that will delete highlighting on the text. I have created other macros without a problem, but this one won't work. What is the secret to creating a macro that will delete highlighting on text?
Thanks very much.

2012-10-29 14:00:59


How do you find the shortcut key once it has been established? I made a macro but I can't see what the shortcut key is that I assigned to it.

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