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: Inserting Text with a Shortcut Key.

Inserting Text with a Shortcut Key

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 19, 2020)

Brendan would like to know if there is a way to assign a shortcut of my choosing, say Ctrl+J, to a sentence. This would mean every time he hits Ctrl+J it would paste that sentence. Brendan knows about AutoText, but he can't see a way to assign a shortcut like Ctrl+J to a particular AutoText entry.

Actually, AutoText includes sort of a built-in shortcut key. Once you create the AutoText entry, you can type the mnemonic for the entry and press F3. Word expands the mnemonic to its longer form. If you want to have a special shortcut key for a particular AutoText entry, you can follow these steps:

  1. Define your AutoText entry as you normally would.
  2. Choose Customize from the Tools menu. Word displays the Customize dialog box.
  3. Click on the Keyboard button. Word displays the Customize Keyboard dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Customize Keyboard dialog box.

  5. Position the insertion point in the Press New Shortcut Key text box.
  6. Press the shortcut key you want to use. For instance, if you want to use Ctrl+J, then press Ctrl+J. Just below the Current Keys text box you should see the name of any commands currently using this shortcut. (In this case, Ctrl+J is used to justify a paragraph so you may want to use a different shortcut.)
  7. In the Categories list scroll down and select AutoText. The defined AutoText entries appear at the right side of the dialog box.
  8. In the list of AutoText entries, select the one you defined in step 1.
  9. Click the Assign button to assign the shortcut.
  10. Click on Close to dismiss the Customize Keyboard dialog box.
  11. Click on Close to dismiss the Customize dialog box.

There are other options besides using AutoText, however. You could, of course, record a macro of you typing the desired text. The macro could then be assigned to a shortcut key and would be replayed (again typing the text) anytime you invoke the shortcut key.

Perhaps the easiest alternative, however, is to create an AutoCorrect entry for your text. All you need to do is come up with a non-ambiguous series of keystrokes, such as cj, and then have Word replace that text with something else. In other words, the program can "correct" the characters cj, replacing them with the longer sentence. There is no shortcut key to remember in this instance, just the short text you want "corrected." (How you create Autocorrect entries has been discussed in other issues of WordTips.)

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6765) 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: Inserting Text with a Shortcut Key.

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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