How to document Word keyboard commands

Document this time-saving feature by generating a comprehensive list of commands and their keystroke combinations.

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Image: frender, Getty Images/iStockphoto

Time-saving features such as keyboard commands, AutoText, and AutoCorrect help us work more efficiently by reducing keystrokes. All of these features allow multiple entries, and if you create lots of them, you might want to document them. Why document? Most likely, you'll memorize the ones you use frequently; but you might forget a few—a list that you can quickly peruse will be a big help. In addition, it's a good reference for knowing what you have and what you might need. Fortunately, generating this list is easy.

In this article, I'll show you how to quickly generate a list for keyboard commands—built-in and custom. In a future article, I'll show you how to generate a list for AutoText and AutoCorrect entries.

I'm using Office 365 Word on a Window 10 64-bit system, but you can use earlier versions of Word. There's no demonstration file, you won't need one. The settings used aren't available in the browser edition.

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Print custom keyboard commands

Word has a number of built-in keyboard commands; most of us take frequent advantage of them, especially if you're a keyboard enthusiast. Many users find it easier to press Ctrl+F to open the Navigation pane than to click Find in the Editing group on the Home tab. For many, it's what we've done for years and thanks to keyboard commands, learning new tricks isn't necessary. Memorizing a few keyboard combinations is one thing—knowing all that's available is like treasure.

To generate a list of Word's built-in commands do the following:

  1. Open a blank Word document.
  2. Click the view tab and then click Macros in the Macros group. If you see a drop-down list, dismiss it, and try again—click the icon instead of the drop-down arrow.
  3. In the resulting dialog, choose Word commands from the Macros in the dropdown (at the bottom).
  4. In the Macro name list, scroll down and highlight ListCommands (Figure A).
  5. Click Run, choose between current commands and all commands in the next dialog and then click OK. Word will generate a list in the current document. You can save and print.
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Figure A: List all commands.

But there's more: You can create your own keyboard commands. It's fairly easy and will improve efficiency and productivity if you can utilize several custom commands. Once you have more than a few, you might want to document them for the same reasons you document the built-in commands.

You can print a list of custom keyboard commands as follows:

  1. Open the template that contains the key assignments you want to print—for most of us, that's Word's Normal template. If that's the case, simply open a blank document.
  2. Click the File tab and then click Print in the left pane.
  3. From the Settings dropdown, choose Key Assignments. Scroll down to find it, as shown in Figure B.
  4. Choose a printer if necessary, and then click Print.
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Figure B: Print custom keyboard commands, also known as key assignments.

Word will send a list of your custom keyboard commands to your printer, but you don't have an electronic copy. Fortunately, Word can handle that too. Instead of choosing a printer and clicking Print in Step 4, choose Microsoft Print to PDF from the Printer dropdown, as shown in Figure C, and then click Print. Doing so will save a pdf file that contains the commands instead of sending the list to the printer.

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Figure C: Create a pdf copy of the list.

Stay tuned

It doesn't matter how often you use keyboard commands or how many key assignments you create to work more productively. Having a list to document them will come in handy. In a future article, I'll show you how to generate a list of AutoText and AutoCorrect entries.

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