2. Creating Shortcuts with Macros

Subtitles Enabled

Sign up for a free trial to access more free content.

Free trial


Learn how to create macros in the form of custom Quick Access toolbar or keyboard shortcuts.


Lesson Goal

Use Macros to create custom keyboard shortcuts and commands.

How do macros work?

A macro is basically a recorded set of actions. To start creating the macro we click the Record Macro command, then we perform the action we want the macro to do, then we click the Stop Recording command.

These actions are then stored as Visual Basic code, which is a type of coding language for Microsoft Office. Knowledge of Visual Basic is not needed to record macros.

When we click record macro, before the recording starts, we need to set up a few things. We need to add a name and a description if necessary. We also need to choose the type of macro, button or keyboard shortcut.

Button macros

By selecting the button, we’re brought to the Quick Access settings in Word options. Our macro will be on the left pane and we can move it to the right pane to make it visible on the Quick Access toolbar.

We can click Modify to change the icon to one that’s most appropriate to our macro.

Keyboard shortcut macros

By selecting keyboard, we’re brought to a window where we can type a keyboard shortcut for our macro. If we use a shortcut that’s already assigned to another action, Word will let us know what action this is. Otherwise, the command will be identified as unassigned.

If we use an existing shortcut, our macro will take precedence. Changing the macro’s keyboard shortcut or deleting the macro entirely will restore the original assignment.


In the previous lesson we learned about the purpose of Macros and how to enable the Developer tab. In this lesson we'll use macros to create custom keyboard shortcuts and commands. We can create macros by recording our actions in Word.

These recorded actions are then assigned to a keyboard shortcut or a quick access command. We can use these to instantly reproduce the actions we performed while recording the macro.

We'll start by creating a macro to quickly insert the signature details for Fetch Cuisine employee Kaya Miyazawa.

We'll select the Record Macro command to open the Open Record Macro window and type the word, signature, as the name. Below we'll add a short description.

We can choose to store the macro in all documents or just this document.

Kaya wants to use this for multiple different documents so we'll leave it set to All Documents.

We can now choose what type of macro we want to record.

A button or command will appear as an icon in the Quick Access Toolbar at the very top of the interface next to the Quick Save, Undo, and Redo commands. A keyboard shortcut is assigned a combination of keys that we can choose. We'll use a button.

This will open the Word Options for the Quick Access Toolbar. Our macro is on the left, and we'll click Add to move it to the right to make it visible in the Quick Access Toolbar. We can now change the icon by clicking the Modify button.

We'll scroll down a little, choose the pen on paper icon, and click OK.

We'll then click OK again to start recording the macro.

From now on, any action we perform will be recorded to the macro.

Let's move the cursor to the button of the page and type out Kaya's signature.

We'll start with her name.

Underneath we'll add her title.

Below that we'll add her contact number followed by a vertical bar, and her email address.

We'll click Stop Recording to finish.

Note that the Quick Access Toolbar above contains the icon for our macro. We'll check to see if this works by deleting the texts we just wrote and then clicking on the macro command.

As expected the text was inserted instantaneously. Let's look at another example and assign a macro to a keyboard shortcut.

The new product info is currently displayed in bullet points but a table would be much better. This information is also likely to appear in other documents so it's worth storing in a macro.

As before, we'll start by selecting the Record Macro command.

We'll call this New Product Table and click Keyboard.

We now need to assign a keyboard shortcut. Let's try Control+Shift+N.

The letter N might be a useful reminder that this is for a new product.

Unfortunately, this is taken by a shortcut that changes the style of the selected text to normal.

We can see this in the Currently assigned to section below the Current keys box.

If we assign our macro to this keyboard shortcut it will take precedence over the existing assignment. We can avert to this original assignment by deleting the macro.

Instead, we'll use an unassigned shortcut, Control+? We'll then click Assign and Close to start recording the macro. On the next page, we'll create a four by four table and type the information from the bullet list inside. I'll finish this off camera.

Next, we'll choose a table style. We'll complete this by stopping the recording.

As before, we'll test to see if this macro works.

We'll delete the table and the bullet points and then enter the keyboard shortcut Control+? As expected, the table is instantly inserted.

We'll quickly make some adjustments to improve the look of the letter. We'll resize the columns and center the table.

If we want to review any macros we've created we can click the Macros command to open the Macros window. Here, we can manage our macros. We won't make any changes so we'll click Cancel. With that, we've completed our lessons on macros. As we've seen in these lessons, macros can greatly increase your efficiency by automating repetitive actions.