Quick selection of paragraph formats in Microsoft Word



One (1) of the features that Microsoft has completely missed the boat on in
all of its releases of Microsoft Word is the quick selection of paragraph
formats. For real time documentations where format is important (e.g.,
meeting summaries), the only way for the user to keep up with the real time
action without his/her attention being diverted for extensive format control
either in real time or in post-processing after the fact is to allow the Word
user a method for rapid selection of paragraph formats from a list of at
least 10 options (e.g., normal or default, bullet 1, bullet 1 body, bullet 2,
bullet 2 body, etc.).

I serve as the Secretary of two (2) Technical Specification Groups of a
major industry partnership to development specifications for 3G wireless
telecommunication systems. Word Processor support for me to focus on
documenting the proceedings and to do quick selection of pre-set paragraph
formats is ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL to my ability to complete a report of these
meetings in real time. I simply cannot keep up when I need to use forward
and reverse tabs, cursor selection of styles, or the like to control format.

Lotus WordPro is the one (1) word processor that actually got it right
because they allow the paragraph formats to be mapped into function keys
(e.g., F1 = normal or default, F2 = Bullet 1, F3 = Bullet 1 body, etc.).
This feature is the sole reason that I am forced to continue to use WordPro
years after distribution and support have been discontinue. There are a lot
of things that Word does better but I cannot do documentation of events in
real time with Word. My WordPro documents then just need a standard read
through to make sure I am fully satisfied with my documentation and typing
ability. This process is the same review I would use on any other document I
produce even when real time documentation is not important and is an area
when the real time spell and grammar checker in Microsoft Word would greatly
benefit the process.

The preferred mechanism for this quick format selection feature is that same
way it is done in Lotus WordPro - paragraph formats to be mapped into
function keys. Using this mechanism, you can activate a new format with one
(1) hand and you can see a list of those mappings upon request. Obviously,
since F7 is used to activate the spell check capability in Word, this would
be an illegal format selection key but the user should be able to use at
least 10 of the 12 function keys for this purpose.

An alternate mechanism would be to map ALT-#, CNTRL-#, or FN-# where # can
be any unshifted or shifted numberic key. This would provide support for 20
options but it would require the user to take both hands off the keyboard
and, therefore, be a greater diversion to the documentation effort.

This feature is critical for allowing the user to use the Microsoft Word
tool for the purpose he acquired it for, the documentation effort, and
minimizing the distraction from his primary focus to control this tool. This
support is long overdue and NEEDED IMMEDIATELY.

Clifton J. Barber
CJ Barber Consutling Services

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suggestions with the most votes. To vote for this suggestion, click the "I
Agree" button in the message pane. If you do not see the button, follow this
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Jay Freedman

You rant misses the fact that this capability _is_ present in Word,
and has been since at least Word 97.

Go to Tools > Customize > Keyboard. Scroll to the bottom of the
Categories list and choose Style. Select a style from the Styles list
and assign a keyboard shortcut to it. Repeat for as many styles as you

In Word 2007 the path to the dialog is a little different: Office
button > Word Options > Customize > Keyboard shortcuts.

Jay Freedman
Microsoft Word MVP
Email cannot be acknowledged; please post all follow-ups to the
newsgroup so all may benefit.


JAY: Thank you very much for your prompt response. I have tried to
determine if this capability exists on a number of occasions through
Microsoft customer service contacts without satisfaction. I guess I had just
tried the wrong contacts.

In trying this option as you suggested, I only have one (1) remaining
question: Is it possible to establish a function key as the shortcut key?
From my cursory inspection, it would not accept my input of a function key.

Please advise.

Jay Freedman

Hi Clif,

It will accept any function key except F1, which is permanently
assigned to Help. You can also combine F2 through F12 with any
combination of Ctrl, Alt, and Shift.

Most of the function keys and their shifted combinations are already
assigned to various commands. When you press the prospective shortcut
while the cursor is in the "Press new shortcut" box, the current
assignment will be shown below -- for example, putting in F2 results
in "Currently assigned to: MoveText". If you decide you don't want to
reassign that key, press the Backspace key to remove the contents of
the "Press new shortcut" box so you can try another shortcut. When
you're satisfied, click the Assign button (just clicking Close doesn't
do it).

Jay Freedman
Microsoft Word MVP
Email cannot be acknowledged; please post all follow-ups to the
newsgroup so all may benefit.


Thank you very much. While I do take offense that my original request for
support, after trying unsuccessfully on previous attempts, was classified as
a "rant", you comments have been very helpful and I will try to incorporate
them into a new template for my words.

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