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
  • What is that down arrow where caps lock should be?
    – Clonkex
    Jun 27, 2018 at 1:13
  • 1
    @Clonkex: It's just a different pictogram for caps lock. It's the same thing.
    – Lernkurve
    Jul 1, 2018 at 19:08
  • The <kbd>Option</kbd> + <kbd>/</kbd> option worked. Jul 15, 2021 at 16:44

8 Answers 8


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

  • 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, 2015 at 8:42
  • Why would you use Ctrl + Alt + H and arrow down when you can just hit (Alt+/) and start typing? Feb 28, 2016 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, 2016 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. Feb 28, 2016 at 21:37
  • If you're programming BetterTouchTool as @Dennis suggested, you want to program: Create a new trigger, then for actions: Keyboard shortcut 'control-option-z', Type custom text 'cour' (no quotes), Insert text by typing, delay next action by .1 seconds, Type custom text '[enter key]' (no quotes, just hit enter) Insert text by typing.
    – Rob
    Apr 24, 2021 at 17:23

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.

  • 1
    "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, 2014 at 8:08
  • 1
    Is it not possible to define a keyboard shortcut that changes to a specific font that you want?
    – Michael
    Sep 8, 2018 at 16:02
  • 1
    These days, it works the first time too :-) Thank you for this tip - I didn't realize that unlike the format painter button, copying a format with the shortcut doesn't bring you into the "format pasting mode" where format pasting is the only thing you can do. Thus, the shortcut makes the painter perfect for my workflow: there is only one non-standard font that I frequently use (Courier New, for code snippets), so I can just copy it once when I start writing and always have it available for pasting. Sep 4, 2019 at 23:01
  • Works for me the first time (too) in Chrome, Safari, and Firefox on macOS 10.14.6; it thus appears to be browser-independent (on macOS, anyway). The cmd-opt-c was the "missing magic" for me (the cmd menus help shows cmd-opt-v but not cmd-opt-c... which seems like a bad miss for GDocs/google) and appears to be a separate clipboard buffer than cmd-c, which is super-duper handy when wanting to re-apply a particular format (eg: a "software code" format) many times in parallel with using the cmd-c buffer for other things. Mar 8, 2021 at 22:05

This answer is OFF-TOPIC.

For user interested to increase the font size:

● Option 1: Ctrl+Shift+, to decrease the font. Ctrl+Shift+; to increase.

● option 2: (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

● Option 3: (if you need high increase/decrease). Instead of pressing multiple time your shortcut you can use this ahk script (just change the mouse position according to your screen size).

● Option 4: use a Tampermonkey script like this (it sets custom shortcuts to change the font color and highlight). You can do whatever you want with tampermonkey such as creating shortcuts to change the font color, highlight it specific color etc. It can basically override anything in your browser using a javascript script (I did not yet manage to change the font size Cf. my attempts in the script ― help needed.)

  • 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, 2015 at 11:56
  • @see screenshot, my bad! I updated my Off Topic "answer". It might help some people, I struggled to find it.
    – JinSnow
    Oct 24, 2015 at 15:06

For Windows:

Using the information in other answers, I created an AutoHotkey script that can lets me apply my two most used fonts with a hotkey. If the following script exists named "AutoHotkey.ahk" in the Documents folder and AutoHotkey is running, Alt+c will change the font to Courier New (for mono-space) and Alt+a will change the font to Ariel (the standard font). Since this script relies on the Alt+/ hotkey to search through the menu item, it can probably be adapted to make any formatting change that uses the menu. Note: increase the delay milliseconds after Sleep if the script operation seems to get stuck in the middle, as the web page may not be ready for the next input yet.

#NoEnv  ; Recommended for performance and compatibility with future AutoHotkey releases.
#Warn  ; Enable warnings to assist with detecting common errors.
SendMode Input  ; Recommended for new scripts due to its superior speed and reliability.
SetWorkingDir %A_ScriptDir%  ; Ensures a consistent starting directory.

; Google docs font change shortcut: Courier New, for monospace
Send, !/
Sleep, 100
Send, Courier New
Sleep, 200
Send, {Enter}

; Google docs font change shortcut: Arial
Send, !/
Sleep, 100
Send, Arial
Sleep, 200
Send, {Enter}

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.

  • 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, 2013 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, 2015 at 8:56

If you have a certain font that you want to switch to. You can save that font to the Paragraph formatting (e.g. Normal text, Title, Subtitle, Heading 1, 2, 3..)

Do this by:

you can do this by selecting a text

  1. switching to heading 1
  2. writing something and then formatting it the way you want
  3. updating the heading

Then you can just press Ctrl+Alt+1 and it will change the font to the preset font.


I'm using Firefox on top of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS on top for Dell XPS 15

Shift + Ctrl + ,/. (or </>)


I've found this info by pressing Ctrl + ? (or /) which opens up the full list of shortcuts.


Hover on the button and you'll get the shortcut

enter image description here

  • 1
    Welcome to Web Applications! Post is 9 years old & your answer misses the issue which was how to change the font (e.g. Times Roman to Helvetica) via a keyboard shortcut. They also noted they were aware of the Mac shortcuts for Docs. I encourage you to continue contributing answers & would recommend you read How do I write a good answer? to hone your skills.
    – Blindspots
    Oct 11, 2022 at 10:12

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