Consider the following text, with the cursor placed at the end of the text (in place of where the vertical bar is):

Don't test me sunshine|

Pressing Ctrl+Backspace will yield the following in certain cases (e.g. when there is a space/more words after the cursor):

Don't test me|

I would much rather prefer the following result (with the space in place):

Don't test me |

Is there an option where I can force this behaviour?

  • Use the other keyboard shortcut for delete word, CTRL+Backspace and then Space. Apr 21, 2013 at 0:51
  • 3
    Out of all the programs I use, Microsoft Word is the only one I noticed that deletes the space with Ctrl + Backspace. Very strange and annoying - wish there was a better solution than the marked answer. Dec 23, 2015 at 13:25
  • Outlook also has this behaviour for me unfortunately. And I believe it hasn‘t been there always and only since 2010 (but maybe I remember this wrong)
    – bugybunny
    Nov 1, 2018 at 10:21

5 Answers 5


I believe this is considered a feature (as most users would also want the space removed). I don't know of anyway to configure the Ctrl + Backspace behavior.

One alternative would be to hold Ctrl + Shift and then Left Arrow to highlight the word. Then press the Spacebar.

  • Thanks, I guess I expected this. Though I wasn't aware of the word highlight shortcut, that might be useful. Apr 22, 2013 at 17:18
  • "as most users would also want the space removed" Why? This has always bugged me and I'm not sure about the rationale behind it. 99.99% of the times I use Ctrl+ Backspace, it's because I want to remove the previous word and type a new one. I use that shortcut everywhere and MS-Word is the only program where I encountered this behavior. May 28 at 12:34

After some hunting on the net, I found this feature is optional (kind of).

Word options->Advanced->Cut, Copy and Paste->Use smart cut and paste->Settings->Adjust sentence and word spacing automatically.

Source: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/msoffice/forum/msoffice_word-mso_windows8/control-backspace-deletes-previous-word-and-the/aa87aa3d-5928-4dd1-9266-b914f9c14620?auth=1

Note: This solves the problem when writing a new paragraph, but when deleting words with more words following it the same default behaviour occurs.

For example (if | represents the cursor/"insertion point"):

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet|

Then Ctrl + Backspace works as normal (with or without a space before the cursor):

Lorem ipsum dolor sit |

But in the case of:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit| amet

With the cursor directly after the word to be deleted, Ctrl + Backspace will result in Word's default behaviour:

Lorem ipsum dolor| amet

As far as I can tell this isn't in the settings, so bear in mind that there's a bit of inconsistent behaviour if Adjust sentence and word spacing automatically is turned off.

  • It's probably not as common as you might think and it's behavior is a matter of opinion. Your suggestion would mean that a user that wants to remove a work would have to hit Backspace and additional time after removing a word in order to avoid a double space. There are pros and cons to both behaviors.
    – Seth
    Oct 11, 2016 at 10:27
  • 1
    @Seth you're right, I can see why the inconsistent behaviour might be preferable for some. Personally, the reason I see this is as undesirable is because not removing the space is the default behaviour for all of the applications that I do a lot of typing in (browsers, text editors, IDEs, etc.). The typing style I've come to adopt involves a lot of Ctrl + Backspace to fix spelling errors or replace words, whether that's at the end of a paragraph or in the middle of one. It's frustrating for me to then go write in Word and have to interrupt myself to insert extra spaces.
    – Grimeh
    Oct 12, 2016 at 15:47
  • Not really a solution but maybe an acceptable workaround? Mark the word using Ctrl+Shift+Left Arrow and afterwards delete it using either Del or Backspace. Suggestion from the answers of that question: Microsoft Word deletes a space along with the word when pressing Ctrl+Backspace. How do I prevent it from removing the space?
    – Seth
    Oct 13, 2016 at 5:45

If Ctrl+Shift+Left Arrow and then Backspace is the desired behaviour:

  1. Create a macro of that behaviour, in Word press Alt+F11
  2. Under Normal, Right click on the Modules folder, then Insert > Module
  3. Paste the below macro Should look something like this
  4. Assign it to Ctrl+Backspace

    (File --> Options --> Customize Ribbon --> Keyboard Shortcuts: Customize...
    Categories: Macros Find your newly created macro


Sub CtrlBackspace()  
' CtrlBackspace Macro
    Selection.MoveLeft Unit:=wdWord, Count:=1, Extend:=wdExtend
End Sub

As of 2021, the Ctrl + Shift + Left Arrow and then Backspace also erases the space before the word. The best solution is already given; once the automatic word spacing is disabled, this functions as expected.


This behaviour ceases entirely if you disable smart cut and paste in Advanced settings. Edit: turns out that's only for cut and paste, delete displays the aforementioned incomplete functionality.

  • This information has already been given in a previous answer.
    – zx485
    Jul 10, 2021 at 1:27
  • Actually, I thought I had found an upgrade. Jul 16, 2021 at 10:17

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