Keyboard shortcuts reassign themselves

Word's built-in keyboard shortcuts sometimes reassign themselves. 

For example, if I edit a table, such as copying and pasting cells, and return to working on the rest of the document, command-c no longer becomes available, command-v turns into "cut" and command-] becomes paste. Those functions listed in the pulldown menus no longer include those keyboard shortcuts. However, if I use the contextual menu, the cut/copy/paste functions work (and also the contextual menu lists the no longer functioning command-c/x/v shortcuts). Similar things seem to happen after I import a photo into the file. 

It doesn't matter if I am working in a .doc or .docx document.

If I quit and restart the program, everything goes back to normal until I edit a table again.

This has been happening since I installed Word 2011, on my MacBook Pro and Air, and on various versions of OSX (now running 10.9.1).

Does this happen to anyone else out there?
Madeline
 

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Last updated February 23, 2020 Views 2,046 Applies to:

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Hi Madeline

 

 

You can try:

 

  •  removing some word plist in this location ~/Library/Preferences >remove the com.microsoft.word.plist.
  • remove normal.dotm from this location  ~/Library/Aplication Support/Microsoft/Office/User Templates
  • But if the problem still persist then your last resort would be uninstall/reinstall office.

 

regards,

Mark

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Before you start ripping anything out :-)...

When did you last actually Restart your Mac?... Not just 'close the lid' or allow it to 'sleep'. It's quite possible that a restart will eliminate the issue.

What is your present version update level? 14.3.9 is current for Office 2011. If Word> About Word indicates anything lower use Help> Check for Updates to get the software up to date.

Have you run Disk Utility to repair disk permissions? It might help to do so followed by a restart, especially if you do apply any updates.

Have you installed any software that claims to 'enhance' OS X (especially Clipboard) functionality or provide other 'conveniences'? Utilities such as CopyPaste Pro have been known to cause exactly that type of behavior.

Have you tried creating a new User Account to see if you experience the same issue when logged in as that user?

Cut/Copy/Paste are operating system functions & the keyboard shortcuts are reserved by OS X. Office apps support those keyboard shortcuts but they aren't assigned by the programs. They're basically a pass-through from the OS. OTOH, the contextual menus are constructs of the program in which they are being used. It's interesting that the contextual menus work but the keyboard shortcuts don't -- What about the Edit menu itself, or the C/C/P buttons on the Standard Toolbar?


AI: Artificial Intelligence or Automated Idiocy???
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Regards,
Bob J.

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Thanks, Bob and Mark

1. I've restarted my computer several hundred times, I'm guessing, since this has been happening for a long time. I can't remember if it started when I first upgraded to Word 2011 or with one of the OSX upgrades. It happens on my Air and used to happen on my MBP.

2. This problem exists only in Word. Even after those keyboard shortcuts begin misbehaving in Word, they function normally in the other programs I use (Outlook, Excel, InDesign, etc.). At that point, the pulldown edit menu gets mangled. (Next time it happens, I'll take a screenshot!)

3. I do keep my programs and operating system up to date so I have whatever the latest versions are.

4. I have no add-ons for Word.

5. I will repair permissions but -- see #1 -- I doubt that has anything to do with it.

6. If I create a new user identity for Outlook does that also create a new identity for all Office programs? (I just did that about a week ago, actually, but it did not fix an equally irritating recurring problem!)

7. If I create a new normal template, how do I carry over all my customized keyboard shortcuts? They've been created using Word's macro feature.

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Thanks, Bob and Mark

1. I've restarted my computer several hundred times, I'm guessing, since this has been happening for a long time. I can't remember if it started when I first upgraded to Word 2011 or with one of the OSX upgrades. It happens on my Air and used to happen on my MBP.

2. This problem exists only in Word. Even after those keyboard shortcuts begin misbehaving in Word, they function normally in the other programs I use (Outlook, Excel, InDesign, etc.). At that point, the pulldown edit menu gets mangled. (Next time it happens, I'll take a screenshot!)

3. I do keep my programs and operating system up to date so I have whatever the latest versions are.

4. I have no add-ons for Word.

5. I will repair permissions but -- see #1 -- I doubt that has anything to do with it.

6. If I create a new user identity for Outlook does that also create a new identity for all Office programs? (I just did that about a week ago, actually, but it did not fix an equally irritating recurring problem!)

7. If I create a new normal template, how do I carry over all my customized keyboard shortcuts? They've been created using Word's macro feature.

Sorry about the quality: I couldn't figure out how to take a screen capture with the menus pulled down so I took pix with my phone. 

The evidence below was not the result of insert a photo or working with a table, so my clues to what causes this may be misleading. It's hard to know, because I don't know anything has happened until I go to copy and paste something -- the transformation might have happened some time earlier! No other programs are affected.

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Re your #4: Not just "add-ons for Word", but any OS X utilities/apps

Re your #6: Not a new Office Identity, a new User Account on your Mac. Testing in a new User Account is a standard OS X troubleshooting practice which helps identify possible sources of issues.

Re your #7: Do not delete your present Normal.dotm, just rename it & move it to a different folder or to the Desktop. [I wouldn't do that just yet, but note that no Office programs should be running when you do.] Do you mean that you've assigned keyboard shortcuts to Macros you've recorded? If so, macros can be copied from one template to another using Word's Organizer feature. Kybd shortcuts assigned to macros remain assigned. Other kybd customization cannot be retained.

It might be helpful to know more about this... especially if you had other versions of Office (2008? 2004?) installed on the same Mac.
AI: Artificial Intelligence or Automated Idiocy???
Please mark Yes/No as to whether a Reply answers your question.

Regards,
Bob J.

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Having the exact same problem as Madeline.

It's frustrating.  One can go into Customize Keyboard… and the keyboard shortcuts are correct.  But on the menu they are not.  They've moved down a notch!  

If one deletes and reassigns the keyboard shortcuts within Word, they will show up correctly on the menu for a while… and work fine from the keyboard.  Then, at a certain point, they   again shift position!

One discovers it because in the midst of writing something, one does the command-x to cut the highlighted text-- and nothing happens!  Instead, it's copied and the menu item shortcuts have changed.

I'll try some of the tips suggested here, although clearly something's gone awry as it's the first time anything like this has ever happened to me with Word and I've been using it for several decades (can anyone remember Word 3?).  

As with Madeline, Word is the only program on the Mac this happens to.

I wondered if it had to do with my having customized the menus, but it looks as if hers are the original out of the box ones.  Why it would shift is the issue!

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Sorry to reply to my own post, but as I started down the road of trouble-shooting this, I suddenly realized that I would be facing hours and hours of testing with no assurance of getting an answer!

I.e., I've set up a separate account; however, even if I work with it for several hours and nothing changes, that doesn't necessarily help!

"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

(I also need to go through the process of figuring out how to use the out-of-the-box Word!  And, how to access documents that are under my original user name!)

Plus, even if we conclude that the fresh out-of-the-box Word works OK (until it doesn't! :-)), the multitude of variables-- add-ons, extra programs, menu tweaks, customizations of Word, etc.--that one would have to turn off/turn on and the hours of use in between that it would take to discover the complication--strikes me as overwhelming!  (And I do have a day job! :-) )

Can we not approach this another way?  Which utilities or add-ons are known to interfere with Word's menu structure?  What other instances of Word's menu--keyboard shortcut shifts exist and what were their solutions?  Does customization itself produce the problem?  

----> What has been the fix for this for other users?

I'm a veteran Word user and know its ins and outs pretty well, but have never encountered menu-keyboard shift before.  Has anyone else?  Even with prior versions?

--------------------------------------------------------------

Intriguingly, just now, after having looked at the Keyboard Customize for Edit Cut, but not doing anything, I quit Word and relaunched it--and the keyboard shortcuts went back to where they belonged.

AFAIR, in the past, when I've just quit and relaunchedWord when I'm having the problem, it doesn't change the mis-assigned shortcuts.  However, this action of checking the shortcut seemed to work.  Given how fast Word relaunches from an SSD (I'm on a MacBook Air), that's the "fix" for me--for now.  Of course, it's not clear that it will work the next time.  It's just so frustrating as, invariably, it'll happen again--command-x doing nothing!

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Aha! There is someone out there with the same experience! I have not yet gone through all the steps above (new account, reinstalling, moving normal.dotm). I wouldn't say I'm using Word out of the box, though: I have over the years assigned keyboard shortcuts to menus. I too have been using the program for hundreds of years, and no longer know what are the default built-in shortcuts and what are my own (a problem when I'm trying to help others!). I think that moving my customized normal template out of the templates folder will make the program revert to its original **** state, right? Interesting that relaunching the program doesn't fix anything for JThurber. That's the only way I've found to make it work. A PITA when you've got multiple windows open. (I often have the same program open in two windows, for example.)

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Appreciate your reply!

If restarting works consistently, I'll live with it!

Oh, yes!  I'm another customizer from way back.  

To try to trouble-shoot all this, I set up the other account as suggested here, launched Word, and, of course, was greeted with a confusing onslaught of ribbons, open rulers, etc. with which Word begins with out of the box!  It's a mess!  How anyone ever learns the program these days is beyond me.

In any event, I'm wondering if our problem isn't related to our customization and Word's inability to keep track of it all.  Like you, I've done so much customization that it can be hard helping others because their items are in all sorts of oddball places--and in all sorts of oddball nonsensical order.  Over the phone is especially hard.

Yes, proceed cautiously.  I had a problem with Word 2011 at one point in which the template/menus got messed up.  When I deleted the messed up one and replaced it with a backed up template, things did NOT end up exactly as they were!  It's ended up requiring lots of extra work to restore things.

One thing that can help-- take snapshots of each and every menu so that you can get them back again.  The best way I've found to do that so that you just photograph the menu is this:

1.  Click once to display the menu.

2.  Hit command-shift-4  for taking a snapshot of user-settable area of the screen.

3.  Make sure that the mouse pointer is somewhere inside the menu.

4.  Press the space bar.  It'll light up the menu!

5.  Click to take the picture.

Do it for each menu so that you'll always be able to reconstruct what you had.

I'd also recommend making back ups of the following from time to time so that you can recover (or try to) an earlier customization.

Normal.dotm   
com.microsoft.Word.plist   
Proofing Tools Preferences  [Update:  Can't find this one anymore!  Anyone know where the file is in Word 2011?]
com.microsoft.office.plist
com.microsoft.Word.savedState 

The last probably doesn't matter.

Oh, one other question for you.  Have you had a lot of crashes with Word 2011?  

I've probably had more crashes with Word 2011 in just a few months than I've had in TWO DECADES+ with earlier versions of Word (if I don't count Word 2008's crashing frequently on Excel chart pastes).

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I crash far less frequently when I save files in docx, I've found.

Thanks for the tip on how to take screenshots of menus! 

As for backups, I'm well covered on that front, having both Time Capsule and a wonderful off-site backup system called Carbonite copying everything, all the time. Another thing I would hate to lose is my decades' worth of autocorrections, which I've been carrying forward from one generation to the next.

I've stopped working on the file that had lots of tables and figures in it and am not likely to have the reassigning problem for a little while. However, I've decided to create a new Normal.dotm template. I did the following:

1. Quit Word

2. Rename Normal.dotm

3. Move it out of the Templates folder

4. Launch Word

5. Figure out how to open the Organizer without my old keyboard shortcuts

6. Copy over my custom toolbars and macros and save them in the Normal template.

7. Quit Word, clicking on "yes, save changes to Normal.dotm"

When I relaunch Word, my keyboard shortcuts have not carried over, although the two gizmos show up in the organizer, and one customized menu does not show up. If I go to Tools > Macro > Macros, my macros are all there intact.

Any idea what magic incantation I need to mutter? 

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