What Your Function Keys Do in Microsoft Word

The function keys on keyboards don’t get the love they used to, but depending on the app you’re running, they can still be quite handy. Word, in particular, has some interesting features tucked away behind your function keys. Here’s what they do.

F1

  • F1: Get help. How this works depends on what you’re looking at in the Word window. Press F1 in the regular document window, for example, to open Word’s Help pane. Sometimes, though, pressing F1 takes you to Microsoft’s support site and shows you more targeted articles about the feature you’re looking at. This is the case most of the time when you press F1 while a dialog box is open.
  • Shift+F1: Open Word’s Reveal Formatting pane, where you can see the character and paragraph formatting of whatever text you have selected.
  • Alt+F1: Jump to the next field if you’ve got fields in your document.
  • Alt+Shift+F1: Jumps to the previous field in your document.

F2

  • F2: Move text or objects. Select the text or object you want to move and then hit F2. Place your insertion point where you’d like to move the item and then hit Enter.
  • Shift+F2: Copy selected text. It’s just like hitting Ctrl+C.
  • Ctrl+F2: Open the Print window, where you can preview and print your document.
  • Alt+Shift+F2: Save your document. If you haven’t saved your document previously, it opens the Save As window.
  • Alt+Ctrl+F2: Pop up the Open window so you can open a document.

F3

  • F3: Expand an AutoText entry. Type at least the first four letters in the name of your AutoText entry and then press F3 to expand it to the full text.
  • Alt+F3: Create an AutoText entry from selected text.
  • Shift+F3: Change the case of selected text. Pressing this combo repeatedly cycles through the following case styles: Initial Letter Case, ALL CAPS CASE, and lower case.
  • Ctrl+F3: Cut selected text to the Spike. You can cut as much text as you want this way and it all accumulates on the Spike.
  • Ctrl+Shift+F3: Insert the contents of the Spike. Performing this action also clears any text in the Spike.

F4

  • F4: Repeat your last action.
  • Shift+F4: Repeat the last Find action. This one’s handy because you can use it to browse search results without having the Find and Replace window or Navigation pane.
  • Ctrl+F4: Close the current document. You’ll be asked to save the document if you’ve made any changes.
  • Alt+F4: Quit Microsoft Word. This closes all open documents (giving you the chance to save changes first) and exits Word.

F5

  • F5: Open Go To tab on the Find and Replace window. You can use this to quickly jump to a page, section, bookmark, and so on.
  • Shift+F5: Jump the previous edit you made in your document. Press it again go one more edit back. Word remembers your last two edits. This works even after saving and closing a document, letting you return to where you left off when you open the document again.
  • Ctrl+Shift+F5: Open the Bookmark window so you can edit bookmarks. If your insertion point is in an existing bookmark, pressing this combo opens the Bookmark window and selects that bookmark.

F6

  • F6: Go to the next pane or frame in your Word window. You can use this to navigate the window without using your mouse.
  • Shift+F6: Go to the previous pane or frame.
  • Ctrl+F6: Go to the next open document window.
  • Ctrl+Shift+F6: Go to the previous open document window.

F7

  • F7: Open the Editor pane and start a spelling and grammar check.
  • Shift+F7: Open the thesaurus. If you have a word selected when you press this combo, Word opens the thesaurus and looks up the selected word.
  • Alt+F7: Find the next spelling or grammar error in your document.
  • Alt+Shift+F7: Open the Translation pane.

F8

  • F8: Enter Word’s selection mode and expand a selection. While in this mode, you can use the arrow keys to extend your selection. You can also press F8 up to five times to extend the selection outward. The first press enters selection mode, the second press selects the word next to the insertion point, the third selects the whole sentence, the fourth all the characters in the paragraph, and the fifth the whole document.
  • Shift+F8: Reduce a selection. This works the same way as expanding a selection, but backward.
  • Ctrl+Shift+F8: Selects a column. Once the column is selected, you can use the left and right arrow keys to extend the selection to other columns.

F9

  • F9: Update a field. This is the same as right-clicking a field and choosing the Update Field command.
  • Shift+F9: Reveal a field’s code.
  • Ctrl+F9: Insert new Empty Field {} braces.
  • Ctrl+Shift+F9: Unlink a field.
  • Alt+F9: Toggle the display of a field’s code.

F10

  • F10: Show key tips. Pressing this combo reveals single letter shortcuts you can use to access Word’s menu commands.
  • Shift+F10: Display a context menu. This works just like right-clicking.
  • Ctrl+F10: Maximize document window.
  • Alt+Shift+F10: Display a menu or window for an available selection.

F11

  • F11: Jump to the next field in your document.
  • Shift+F11: Jump to the previous field in your document.
  • Ctrl+F11: Lock a field so it cannot be edited.
  • Ctrl+Shift+F11: Unlock a field.
  • Alt+Shift+F11: Start the Microsoft Script Editor.

F12

  • F12: Open the Save As window.
  • Shift+F12: Save your document.
  • Ctrl+F12: Open the Open window.
  • Ctrl+Shift+F12: Open the Print window.

Microsoft Word has loads of great keyboard shortcuts, and its support for the function keys on your keyboard is no exception.