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I have Google Docs open in the Google Chrome browser on a Mac. Now I select a piece of text and want to change it's font just with keyboard shortcuts -- without using the mouse.

Example before font change:

enter image description here

Example after font change to e.g. Courier New:

enter image description here

How do I do that?

What I have tried so far

I've read the Keyboard shortcuts for Google documents page, but haven't found anything useful.

There is the Ctrl+Shift+F keyboard shortcut to collaps the menu bar, which then displays the Search the menus (Alt+/) search box.

Menu before pressing Ctrl+Shift+F:

enter image description here

Menu after pressing Ctrl+Shift+F:

enter image description here

Now this search box is pretty awesome because I can just type "Courier New" and hit Enter. But! Alt+/ is not working! Why not? I can't get the focus into that search box.

At this point, I should perhaps note that the keyboard layout is set to German.

The US keyboard layout looks like this:

enter image description here

The German keyboard layout looks like this:

enter image description here

So the forward slash / is on the 7 key: Shift+7.

But when I press Alt+Shift+7, it opens the Mac OS X Help > Search menu:

enter image description here

I also switched to the US keyboard layout. But pressing Alt+Shift+7 (which is the key left of the right Shift key) produces the same effect.

I've also tried the forward slash key on the number block. No success.

Plus, I've tried Option+/ as documented on the Keyboard shortcuts for Google documents page (the Option key is the Alt key according to Wikipedia). No success either.

enter image description here

Is Mac OS X highjacking the keyboard shortcut?


  • Google Chrome 31.0.1650.63
  • Mac OS X 10.9.1
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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Update 28.02.2016

They seem to have updated the possible keyboard shortcuts. With the new keyboard shortcuts, it also works now on my keyboard with the German layout.

For Windows: enter image description here

For OS X: enter image description here

Source: https://support.google.com/docs/answer/179738?hl=en

Original answer

I found a workaround.

  1. Select a piece of text in the document.
  2. Ctrl+Alt+H opens the Help menu.
  3. Arrow down puts the focus in the Search all menus menu.
  4. Type "cour", hit Enter.

enter image description here

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If you happen to be on a Mac, you can even use BetterTouchTool to put these four steps on a single shortcut! That's pretty awesome. (Remember to put a short delay between steps 3 and 4). – Dennis May 14 '15 at 8:42
Why would you use Ctrl + Alt + H and arrow down when you can just hit (Alt+/) and start typing? – Eric B Feb 28 at 14:01
@EricB: Because Alt+/ does not work on my keyboard with a German layout. However, because of your question, I just did some more research and found the new keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Option+Z that works with my keyboard layout. Thank you! See updated answer above. – Lernkurve Feb 28 at 18:23
yep i was a bit off topic, i missed the part about it not working on your layout. I saw the updated answer. Thanks. – Eric B Feb 28 at 21:37

Works for me on windows - I would suggest that OS X is hijacking the shortcut. You could possibly try overriding the Keyboard system preferences (I think it's in: System Preferences | Keyboard | Keyboard Shortcuts).

This search had some useful links.

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Thank you for testing it on Windows and confirming that it works there. I tried your suggestion and disabled the shortcut in System Preferences, but unfortunately it didn't work. However, your suggestion inspired me to try a few more things which led to finding a workaround. Thank you! – Lernkurve Dec 27 '13 at 15:03
It works for me on Windows 8 using US keyboard layout, but using Czech layout it doesn't work (I have to pres alt+shift+[ to type "/", so maybe the shift key interferes with the shortcut) – lopisan Feb 4 '15 at 8:56

Not sure exactly what your use case is, but if your goal is to quickly apply a font repeatedly, the easiest way is to first select a block of text with the font you want, hit Command+Option+C to copy formatting, then each time you select the text you want to apply the font to, just hit Command+Option+V to paste formatting.

Note: Doesn't work the first time, but it'll work each subsequent time.

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"Doesn't work the first time, but it'll work each subsequent time" is strange, but correct. My use case is exactly what is described in the question. Which means your suggestion is not the best solution for me because I have to interrupt my workflow by looking for some other piece of text which is formatted the way I want to format the current piece of text. But thanks anyway! Your tip might come in handy in other situations. – Lernkurve Jun 14 '14 at 8:08

EDIT: this answer is OFF-TOPIC I did not carefully read the question since it was about font style.

For user interested to increase the font size: Ctrl+Shift+, to decrease the font. Ctrl+Shift+; to increase.

if that doesn't work: 1. select a text in google doc 2. press Ctrl+Shift 3. try each keyboard key to see which one will increase your font

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I was asking about how to change the font type. Your answer is about how to change the font size. That indeed works with Ctrl+Shift+Period to increase it and Ctrl+Shift+Comma to decrease it. See screenshot. – Lernkurve Oct 24 '15 at 11:56
@see screenshot, my bad! I updated my Off Topic "answer". It might help some people, I struggled to find it. – Guillaume Combot Oct 24 '15 at 15:06

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