Adding Shortcut Keys to Word AutoText Entries

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Auto Text entries are bits of text that you can insert into different Word docs, but did you know that with keyboard shortcuts, you can insert Auto Text entries even faster?

With a keyboard shortcut, inserting Auto Text entries into a Word doc just takes a simple push of a button, rather than typing in the entry’s name. This can end up being a huge time saver, especially if you use a lot of Auto Text entries.

Creating an Auto Text Entry

The first thing you need to do is create an Auto Text entry. There are also quite a few default Auto Text entries that come preinstalled and configured with MS Word. Your default Auto Text entries can also have shortcuts applied to them. If you don't know how to insert an auto text entry, refer to the steps below. 

Word 2003

  1. Click Insert in the top menu.

  2. Position your mouse pointer over AutoText. In the secondary menu, click AutoText. This opens the AutoCorrect dialog box, on the AutoText tab.

  3. Enter the text you want to use as AutoText in the field labeled "Enter AutoText entries here."Click Add.

  4. Click OK.

Word 2007

  1. Select the text you want to add to your AutoText gallery.

  2. Click the AutoText button you added to the Quick Access Toolbar (see instructions above).

  3. Click Save Selection to AutoText Gallery at the bottom of the AutoText menu.

  4. Complete the fields* in the Create New Building Block dialog box.

  5. Click OK.

Word 2010 and Later Versions

AutoText entries are referred to as building blocks in Word 2010 and later versions. Follow these steps to create an AutoText entry:

  1. Select the text you want to add to your AutoText gallery.

  2. Click the Insert tab.

  3. In the Text group, click the Quick Parts button.

  4. Position your mouse pointer over AutoText. In the secondary menu that opens, click Save Selection to AutoText Gallery at the bottom of the menu.

  5. Complete the fields in the Create New Building Block dialog box (see below).

  6. Click OK.

The fields in the Create New Building Block dialog box are:

  • The Name field will be the text you have selected.
  • Gallery should be set to AutoText.
  • Category is General by default, though you can create your own.
  • Description is where you can add text to identify the entry.
  • Save it in the template you want to save the entry in. Default is Normal.
  • Options lets you choose to have the AutoText inserted normally, in its own paragraph, or between page breaks, giving it its own page.

Applying a Shortcut to the Auto Text Entry

In our tutorial, we’ll add a shortcut to an “Address” Auto Text entry we created ourselves. We will start by opening a brand-new Word doc (you can also open an already existing one.)

Then we will go to “File” then click on “Options” then click on “Word Options.” A pop-up box will appear. Click on the “Customize Ribbon” option and then choose the “Customize” button next to keyboard shortcuts.

The Customize Keyboard menu will appear. In the Categories menu, scroll down to Building Blocks and select it. To the right, you will see all the Building Blocks options available to you. Scroll through and choose the Auto Text entry you are going to apply a shortcut to (in our case, that would be “Address.”)

Click “Address” and go to the Press new shortcut key box underneath the Auto Text entry list. This is where we will type the keyboard shortcut we want to apply to “Address.” If the keyboard shortcut is already in use by another Auto Text entry, it will show up underneath the Current Keys box to the left, next to “Currently assigned to.” (If you want, you can reassign keyboard shortcuts at this time.)

We used the keyboard shortcut “Alt + Ctrl + A” for our “Address” Auto Text entry. Next, all we need to do is click Assign and Close. This takes us back to the Word Options menu box, which we can now close.

That’s it! Now when we click “Alt + Ctrl + A,” the “Address” Auto Text entry will appear in our Word doc.

Assign a Shortcut

If you decide to assign a new keyboard shortcut to your Auto Text entry, all you have to do is click on the currently assigned to option and in the resulting popup window, you will assign your shortcut by pressing the keys you want.