Browse All Articles

Or filter by News, Views or Tips.

Make Your Heading Styles Fantastically Efficient

Have you ever looked enviously at a colleague or, worse, a competitors' document and marvelled at the high quality look and feel?

More often than not, a great document is not about the attention to detail of the author, but the setup of the template it sits on. There are many areas where Microsoft Word can make your life much easier, but often there's never enough time to learn about them.

Today's tip is about Heading Styles... these are already provided in Word, but are rarely used. So here’s a quick helping hand on how you can make your life much easier.

Setting Default Heading Styles

For most versions of Word, default Heading styles ‘Heading 1’ ‘Heading 2’ already exist and they provide a quick way to structure a document. The shortcut keys used to apply these styles have existed for a long time:

  • Heading 1 - Ctrl + Alt + 1
  • Heading 2 - Ctrl + Alt + 2
  • Heading 3 - Ctrl + Alt + 3
  • Heading 4 - No Shortcut
  • Heading 5 - No Shortcut
  • Heading 6 - No Shortcut

You would have thought that the developers, being logical people, would just continue the sequence. However, for some unknown reason, these shortcuts also only cover the first three heading styles.

To Change the Heading Style Shortcuts

[Note that we're using Word 2007 in these screen grabs, so what you see on the screen may be slightly different to what you see in your version.]

To add the missing shortcuts, make sure you are in, or have selected, the Home menu at the top of the page.

In this menu, look right and locate the heading menu towards the end of the menu bar. It will have different formatted fonts in it with a description of the font type below ('Heading 1', 'Normal', 'Strong' and so on).

Open the full range of headings by clicking the down arrow in the bottom right hand corner of this region, and find the Heading Style you want to amend.

Right-click on the heading style you want to edit. So, in this example, we select Modify in order to edit Heading 4, opening up the Modify Style box.

In the Modify Style box choose the Format button and select the Shortcut Key option.

Then, use your mouse to click the Press new shortcut key field and make sure that your cursor is blinking in this field. Then press the shortcut you want to use.

Don't try to type in full the shortcut, merely press in the shortcut you want on your keyboard and it will auto-fill the field with your selection.

For ease of use, it is recommended that you be consistent. So we suggest continuing the ‘Alt + Ctrl +[number] sequence. For example:

  • Heading 4 Ctrl + Alt + 4
  • Heading 5 Ctrl + Alt + 5
  • Heading 6 Ctrl + Alt + 6

And, you're done. You've set your shortcuts for Heading Styles so when you're laying out your next report, just highlight text, or place your cursor in a line, choose your shortcut and all the formatting is done.

Now you've done this, you can also return to the styles themselves, change font, size, leading and trailing paragraphs. Whatever you need to make your report look outstanding.

One Final Tip... 

If three button presses are too much for you, then you can limit it to two if you prefer. Alt + 4 will work just as well and is easier to type. Not forgetting, of course, that if you do decide to change this, make sure you change the others for consistency.

← Go back to Articles


Post new comment

Your email address will be kept private.

It’s Easy to Follow Us