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: Dictionary Shortcut Key.

Dictionary Shortcut Key

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 27, 2016)

Adam wonders if there is a shortcut key to open the dictionary or synonym box for a word directly after typing it. He is tired of using the mouse to display the tools (by right-clicking on a word).

Actually, there are several ways to use the keyboard to display this type of information. It boils down, mostly, to exactly what you want to do. These are the most common:

  • If you want to spell-check the word, just use the keyboard to select it and press F7. (If you press F7 without selecting the word first, you'll spell-check the entire document.)
  • If you want to display the thesaurus, then make sure the insertion point is within the word and press Shift+F7.

If you prefer, you can display the full Research task pane by pressing Ctrl+Shift+O. You can then use the controls in the task pane to access whatever tools or information you desire.

You can also simulate a right-click on a word. Make sure the insertion point is within the word, then press Shift+F10. This shortcut has the same effect as right-clicking, and you can then choose whatever you want from the resulting Context menu.

If you don't like the default shortcut keys that Word provides (as described in this tip), you can always use the customization capabilities of Word to change the shortcut key to whatever you prefer. How you customize the keyboard is covered 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 (8551) 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: Dictionary 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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