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How To Use Strikethrough Text in Microsoft Word

Strikethrough text is a useful editing technique but you can also leverage it to highlight changes and infuse humour into your narrative.

Microsoft Word has a robust set of tools for proofing and editing documents with other people but what happens if you don’t want to use Track Changes or someone on your team isn’t using Word? You can use strikethrough text to highlight edits.

A strikethrough is a horizontal line drawn through text (like this) to indicate an error or highlight words that have been deleted. Strikethrough text is useful when more than one person is editing a document or you’re collaborating with someone using Google Docs or another word processor.

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Sometimes a strikethrough is used to emphasize a change. This is especially useful if you want to show a price reduction. Anyone reading a document containing strikethrough text is able to see the original text and the revision.

Here’s an example:

“Our complete car detailing packages start at $199 $149.”

Other times you’ll use strikethrough to make a point or infuse humour into your narrative:

“I find blog articles about Microsoft Word quite boring engaging.”

Applying Strikethrough

Strikethrough is a font attribute like bold, italic, or underline. Modifying a font attribute changes the appearance of text; it doesn’t change the text itself (or the words you’ve chosen).

Here is how you apply a strikethrough.

Step #1 – Drag to select the text you want to format.

Step #2 – Click the Strikethrough button in the Home > Font group.

Strikethrough button

To remove a strikethrough, verify that the text is still highlighted and click the Strikethrough button again or click Clear All Formatting. Both buttons are in the Home > Font group.

Clear All Formatting button

Strikethrough Shortcuts

If you use strikethrough a lot, it might be worthwhile to set up a shortcut to make the feature more accessible.

In this section, I’ll walk you through three shortcuts. You’ll likely use the one that’s easiest for you to remember and the shortcut you use most often will quickly become second nature.

Add Strikethrough to the Quick Access Toolbar

The Quick Access Toolbar is a customizable toolbar which displays commands that are accessible, regardless of which tab is selected on the Ribbon in Microsoft Word. To add the Strikethrough command to the Quick Access Toolbar, simply right-click the Strikethrough button in the Home > Font group and select Add to Quick Access Toolbar.

Add to Quick Access Toolbar command

Now you can apply the strikethrough attribute to selected text by clicking the Strikethrough button next to the other commands on the Quick Access Toolbar.

In the screen capture (below), you can see the shortcut for Strikethrough that was added to the Quick Access Toolbar, along with the original button in the Home > Font group. While this might seem redundant, remember that commands on the Quick Access Toolbar are accessible regardless of which tab has focus on the Ribbon.

Strikethrough button on Quick Access Toolbar

Apply Strikethrough Formatting using Keyboard Shortcuts

Many font attributes can be applied using standard keyboard shortcuts. Ctrl + B applies bold formatting, Ctrl + I will italicize text, and Ctrl + U adds an underline.

The following sequence will result in strikethrough being applied to any text you select.

Step #1 – Drag to select the text you want to format.

Step #2 – Press Ctrl + D to display the Font dialog box.

Step #3 – Press Alt + K to specify Strikethrough (the letter k is underlined).

Step #4 – Press Enter to close the Font dialog box and apply the strikethrough formatting.

Font dialog box

Create a Custom Keyboard Shortcut to Format Strikethrough Text

Microsoft Word allows you to easily associate custom keyboard shortcuts for commands you use often and, since Strikethrough doesn’t have a keyboard shortcut by default, assigning a custom keyboard shortcut makes sense.

Here is how you create a custom keyboard shortcut for Strikethrough:

Step #1 – Select the File tab then click Options.

Step #2 – In the Word Options dialog box, select the Customize Ribbon category and click the Customize… button next to Keyboard shortcuts.

Step #3 – In the Customize Keyboard dialog box, select Home Tab in the Categories: box, select Strikethrough under Commands:, then click in the Press new shortcut key: box and type Alt + K. Click Assign then Close.

Step #4 – Click OK to close the Word Options dialog box.

I chose Alt + K as the custom keyboard shortcut to be consistent with the keyboard shortcut we used in the Font dialog box from the previous section.

At this point, we can highlight text and press Alt + K to toggle strikethrough on and off.

By Michael Belfry

Working as a full-time training consultant, Michael provides Microsoft Office courses to government and private sector clients throughout North America.