Windows from the Keyboard Tips, Microsoft Word – Easy Way to Add Headings, October 7, 2020

Hello. This is Gerry Chevalier from the GTT Edmonton Chapter. This weekly blog provides tips that I find useful as a keyboard user of Windows. The information is for Windows10 and Office 365, although many tips still apply to older versions.  The tips do not require a screen reader unless specifically noted. Thus, the tips apply whether you are a keyboard user or low vision mouse user. Here is this week’s tip.

Microsoft Word – Easy Way to add Headings

It is very useful to use Microsoft Stylized headings in your document for organization. Headings make the document more visually appealing, allow for creation of a table of contents, and allow screen readers to navigate from heading to heading when in document scan mode. Full access to the heading styles of Microsoft Word can be found under Styles on the Home tab of the ribbon. However, there are easy keyboard shortcuts to also mark headings.

  • Type the text of your heading.
  • While positioned on the heading text, press Alt+Control+1 to make that text a level 1 heading.

Press Alt+Control+2 to make the text a level 2 subheading.

  • Press Alt+Control+3 to make the text a level 3 sub-subheading. Note that these shortcut keys only work for the first 3 levels of headings. If you need a level 4 or higher, you can press Control+Shift+S to open a drop down list of all the heading styles and select the one you want.
  • If you make a mistake such as marking text as a heading level 2 and you meant it to be at level 3 just reposition your cursor on the text and press Alt+Control+3 to change it to level 3.
  • If you mistakenly mark text as a heading and it should not be, then select the text and press Control+Shift+N to remove the heading and set the text to the normal document style.

That’s it for this tip. Until next Wednesday, happy computing.

5 thoughts on “Windows from the Keyboard Tips, Microsoft Word – Easy Way to Add Headings, October 7, 2020

  1. Gerry, thanks for this tip. I use these keystrokes nearly every time I write a document or email message. The one I do forget often and you reminded me hear, is the removal of a heading with Alt-Control N. How’s my old brain going to remember this for the next time I need it? Do you have a tip for that?


    1. Thanks for the comment Albert. Actually the shortcut to undo a heading is Control+Shift+N. I remember N for normal but like you my memory is no longer normal! No tips here to fix that.


  2. Hello, Gerry:

    This is the first time I have replied to one of the GTT keyboard tips from you. I love these tips! I attempted to add headings to a very long journal document I have been typing since the beginning of the pandemic. It is almost 100 pages long, so headings would definitely be helpful. I tried doing alt control number 1, but even though it now reads as a heading, when I press the letter H to navigate, I just get a letter H on my document? Can you help? Should I have selected first? I didn’t try this, because I’m not very adventuresome where computers are concerned. Thx

    Ruth Bieber M.Ed. Theatre Artist, Playwright, Author, Visual Artist.
    Creston, BC 778 478 9698


    1. Hi Ruth:
      Thanks for your comment. You didn’t say which screen reader you use but I will give instructions for JAWS. To use navigation keys like H for headings you need to toggle the virtual cursor on with JAWS key + Z. Then you can press H to jump to a heading, T to a table and so on. When you are ready to type then press JAWS key + Z again to toggle off the virtual cursor. Without toggling you may also press JAWS key +F6 to bring up a list of headings, arrow down to the heading you are interested in and press Enter to position your cursor at that heading.
      Cheers, Gerry


      1. Hello;
        I have also had issues sometimes navigating the characters within the F2 edit cell box. I think it’s a focus issue. Be sure your screen is maximized. Try using Alt+TAB to move away and then back to the window. Try pressing Escape and then F2 again. Try closing and reopening Excel and your screen reader.
        Best, Gerry


Comments are closed.