How to do anything with paragraph format with keyboard

Word 2013 2010 2007 2003
No matter what you are writing, a fictional book, a story for kids, a user manual, or a technical report, jumping between the text and ribbon buttons for formatting distracts from the work. Shortcut Keys or Hotkeys for changing the paragraph alignment, style, etc. without mouse movements come to rescue.

Aligning Paragraphs

To align paragraphs, follow these steps:

   1.   Position the insertion point into the paragraph or select the paragraphs that you want to align.

   2.   Do one of the following:

  • Click the alignment button on the Home tab, in the Paragraph group to align left/right, center, or justify the paragraph text or press one of the shortcut keys:
    Paragraph in Word 2016
    Align Left Paragraph in Word 2016 Ctrl+L   Align Left    - aligns text to the left margin, and the right margin is ragged. This is the default setting.
    Center Paragraph in Word 2016 Ctrl+E   Center    - centers text between margins.
    Align Right Paragraph in Word 2016 Ctrl+R   Align Right    – aligns text to the right margin, and the left margin is ragged.
    Justify Paragraph in Word 2016 Ctrl+J   Justify    - aligns text to both the left and right margins by adding extra spaces between words.
  • Choose Paragraph... from the shortcut menu (right-click or press Shift+F10), to display the Paragraph dialog box:
    Paragraph in popup menu in Word 2016

    On the Indents and Spacing tab, choose the alignment option from the Alignment list and then click OK:

    Paragraph in Word 2016

Adjusting line spacing

To adjust spacing between lines, follow these steps:

   1.   Position the insertion point in the paragraph or select the paragraphs that you want to adjust.

   2.   Do one of the following:

  • On the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, click Line Spacing Options...:
    Line Spacing in Word 2016
  • Choose Paragraph... from the shortcut menu to open the Paragraph dialog box. On the Indentation and Spacing tab, in the Line Spacing list box, choose one of the options:
    • Single - Single-line spacing. (Line height automatically adjusts to accommodate the size of the font and any graphics or formulas in a line.)
    • 1.5 Lines - Line-and-one-half spacing (an extra half-line of space between lines).
    • Double - Double-spacing (an extra full line of space between lines).
    • At Least - At least the spacing that you specify in the At box-the line won't be smaller than you specify, but it may be higher because Word will add extra spacing for tall characters, big graphics, and superscript or subscript text.
    • Exactly - The exact spacing that you specify in the At box. All lines have the exact same height, regardless of the size of the characters in the line; Word doesn't add extra spacing. Note that some text may be cut off if not enough space is available.
    • Multiple - Multiples of single-line spacing, such as triple (3) or quadruple (4), as specified in the At box.

    To specify a custom line spacing, type the spacing amount that you want in the At box. For example, enter 1.25 for an extra quarter line of space between lines, or click the up or down arrow to increase or decrease the amount in half-line increments. When you finish, click OK.

  • Press one of the shortcut key combinations:
    • Ctrl+l - Single-spacing
    • Ctrl+5 - 1.5-line spacing
    • Ctrl+2 - Double-spacing
    • Ctrl+0 (zero) - Add or remove 12 points of space before a paragraph.

Apply paragraph styles

To change paragraph styles, follow these steps:

   1.   Position the insertion point into the paragraph or select the paragraphs that you want to change.

   2.   Do one of the following:

  • Choose the style in the in the Styles group, on the Home tab:
    Paragraph Styles in Word 2016
  • Press one of the shortcut key combinations:
    • Alt+Ctrl+1 - Apply the Heading 1 style
    • Alt+Ctrl+2 - Apply the Heading 2 style
    • Alt+Ctrl+3 - Apply the Heading 3 style
    • Ctrl+Shift+N - Apply the Normal style
    • Ctrl+Shift+L - Apply the List style

Remove paragraph formatting by pressing Ctrl+Q to revert the text format to the current style's default settings or Ctrl+Shift+N to apply the Normal style to the paragraph.

See also this tip in French: Comment changer le format de paragraphe avec les raccourcis claviers.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to ask OfficeToolTips team.