Creating Your Own Keyboard Shortcuts in WordPerfect (recent versions)

February 21, 2010 at 1:51 pm 1 comment

In WordPerfect, you can set up your own customized keyboard shortcuts. Click Tools, Settings, Customize, and click the Keyboards tab. Select the keyboard you wish to edit (if it isn’t selected already), and click the Edit button. The Keyboard Shortcuts dialog will open.

On the right-hand side of the dialog, you will see a drop-down list of Feature categories that corresponds roughly to the existing menus in WP. Below that is a list of specific features in the category that is displayed in the “Feature categories” drop-down. Note that when you click on a feature, WordPerfect provides a short description of that feature below the “Assign Feature to Key” box.

Assigning a Key Combination

To assign a keyboard shortcut to a feature, first select the appropriate Feature category from the drop-down list, then scroll to find the feature you wish to use. For instance, if you want to assign your own keyboard shortcut to Paste Special – Unformatted Text, click the drop-down and select the Edit category (because the Paste Special – Unformatted Text is on the Edit menu), then scroll down until you find the Paste Unformatted Text command in the feature list.

Highlight that command, then navigate to the “Choose a shortcut key” list on the left-hand side of the dialog and scroll until you find a key combination you like. (If that combination already belongs to another feature, you can click the “Remove Assignment” button, but be sure to give that some thought before proceeding. Sometimes removing an assignment can have unexpected consequences.) Select the combination and click the “Assign Feature to Key” button, then OK out of the dialog.

It’s always a good idea to test to make sure your custom keyboard shortcut works as expected. Also, be sure to create at least one backup copy of the underlying template (usually your default template; see the next section of this article and footnote 1) — and, preferably, store one of the copies on a CD or an external drive — in case the template becomes corrupted or something untoward happens to your computer.[1] (And yes, that’s the voice of experience talking.)

Copying Keyboard Assignments to a Different Template

Keyboard assignments are stored in your default template (each user has his or her own), but you can copy a customized keyboard to a different template if you wish. To do so, click Tools, Settings, Customize, Keyboards tab, then click Copy.

When the Copy Keyboard(s) dialog appears, click to select the keyboard you wish to copy, and the Copy button will become active. Then use the “Template to copy to” list to locate the template to which you want to copy your custom keyboard settings.

If you don’t see the appropriate template in the list, use Windows Explorer to locate the template and copy it into your default template folder. (To determine your default template folder, click Tools, Settings, Files, then click the Template tab. Your default template folder will be shown in the box at the top of that tab. To see the full path more clearly, click the “View All” button, which displays all of your default file locations.)

Adding Keyboard Shortcuts for Symbols

The above steps work great for assigning keyboard shortcuts to features and functions, but how do you add a keyboard shortcut for a symbol, such as a paragraph sign (pilcrow) (¶) or section sign (§)?

It’s not difficult. Click Tools, Settings, Customize, and click the Keyboards tab as before, but when the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog opens, select the Keystrokes tab on the right-hand side of the dialog instead of the Features tab.

You will need to insert the symbol to which you wish to assign a keystroke into the “Type the text…” box. For the paragraph symbol, turn on the Num Lock key on your keyboard, then hold down the Alt key and, using the numeric keypad, press and release the number 2, then the number 1, and finally release the Alt key.[2] (Alternatively, you can click Insert, Symbol orpress Ctrl W and insert the paragraph symbol directly from the Symbols dialog.) Once you have inserted the symbol into the box, you can proceed to assign a keystroke as described in the previous section.

Printing a List of Key Assignments (Keyboard Shortcuts)

Click Tools, Settings, Customize, Keyboards Tab. Make sure the keyboard you use is highlighted / selected, and click the Edit button. On the lower left-hand side of the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog, there is a button labeled “Print Report.” Click that button to print a list of built-in keyboard shortcuts and custom shortcuts that you (or other users of your computer) have created.

Note that the list will print single-spaced, bunched up, and without formatting. However, you can export the list as a CSV (comma separated values) document, then insert it into WP and format it.

In the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog above the “Print Report” button, you’ll see an “Export to File” button. Click the button and save the file to any folder you like. Next, from a blank screen, click Insert, File, locate the file in your computer, select it, and click Insert. When the file opens, you can change the line spacing and use Find and Replace to substitute Hard Left Tab codes for the commas. (First, however, click Format, Line, Tabs, clear all tabs, then set a single left tab at, say, 3″. That way, when you replace all the commas with Hard Left Tab codes, all of the commands will be aligned at that one tab stop.)

[1] For instructions on backing up your default template and other important WordPerfect files, see this FAQ post on the WordPerfect Universe web site.

[2] If you are using a laptop, you might need to use the Function key with the Numeric Keypad.

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