Use a keyboard shortcut to quickly apply any Word style

Bypass Word's busy Styles gallery by using this easy-to-implement keyboard trick to apply styles.

Thanks to the Styles quick gallery (in the Styles group on the Home tab), the styles you use in Microsoft Word most are easy to apply. You select the text and click. There's no shortcut for that - the method is as short as it can get!

Unfortunately, the quick gallery displays only a few styles. To get the most out of this gallery, you'll want to make sure it displays the styles you use most. However, when you need a style that's further down in the gallery, or worse, not in the gallery at all, what do you do?

Most likely, you click the Styles group's dialog launcher and browse through the list until you find the style you want - if it's listed at all. That doesn't sound too bad, but it can lead to frustration if the list contains dozens of styles or you can't find the style you are looking for.  In these cases, there's an easier way, if you know the style's name (which you probably do or you wouldn't be looking for it in the list). You can bypass the above route by using a simple keystroke shortcut and then entering the style's name. For instance, let's apply a hard-to-find style this way:

  1. Enter some text and then select it.
  2. Press [Shift]+[Ctrl]+s to display the Apply Styles pane. By default, the Style Name control displays the style of the currently selected text.
  3. You can change the default by simply typing the name of a new style. For instance, type HTML Code. The control uses AutoComplete to try to match your keystrokes, so be careful.
  4. Click Apply or press Enter when the entry in the control matches the one you want to apply to the selected text.

It's a simple change that will save you a bit of time and frustration when applying seldom-used or hard-to-find styles.


Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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