In Microsoft Word 2011 on Macintosh, you can insert cross-references within your document to hyperlink from one location to another within the document. Once a cross-reference is created, you can click the cross-reference to navigate to the referred to section of the document.

Once a cross-reference is clicked, what command name, keystroke, mouse action, or menu item will return me to my prior position in the document before traversing the cross-reference?

I'd expect Alt-LeftArrow to do the trick, but that moves back one word.


Adam mentions the WebGoBack command, and this seems to do the right thing. In Word 2011, WebGoBack is not listed in "All Commands" in Tools->Customize keyboard..., so you cannot assign a keystroke to it in there, but it does exist.

Whether it is missing from the "All Commands" list deliberately (e.g. because it's unreliable or unsupported) or accidentally, I cannot tell you. But you can create a macro in Normal.dotm that invokes it, and assign a keystroke to that:

Sub myWebGoBack
End Sub

or you can use a one-off piece of VBA to assign the command to a keystroke. e.g., this code assigns the command to the Option+Left Arrow key:

Sub AssignOptionLeftArrowToWebGoBack()
  CustomizationContext = NormalTemplate
  KeyBindings.Add KeyCode:=BuildKeyCode(37, wdKeyOption), _
    KeyCategory:=wdKeyCategoryCommand, _
End Sub

If you would rather use a different key, use a different Keycode - e.g. to assign Option+comma (on my keyboard the "<", which I can think of as a left arrow, is above the ",") you can use:

Sub AssignOptionCommaToWebGoBack()
  CustomizationContext = NormalTemplate
  KeyBindings.Add KeyCode:=BuildKeyCode(wdKeyComma, wdKeyOption), _
    KeyCategory:=wdKeyCategoryCommand, _
End Sub

To clear all the assignments to WebGoBack (so that Option-Left Arrow reverts to its "word left" function, you can use

Sub ClearWebGoBackKeyBindings()
Dim kb As KeyBinding
CustomizationContext = NormalTemplate
For Each kb In Application.KeyBindings
  If kb.Command = "WebGoBack" Then
    Debug.Print kb.KeyString
  End If
End Sub
  • The WebGoBack function in Word for Mac 2011 seems quite broken. I've tried shift+F5 and the above myWebGoBack subroutine, but both seem to randomly work sometimes and not others. Where you actually go back to might be some previous anchor or link, or the start of the document. Pressing it multiple times goes around in a sequence, but it's likely that none of the destinations is where you started. – RobG Aug 14 '14 at 6:00

Incredibly, the Go Back command in Word for Mac is named "GoBack." The default keyboard shortcut on a Mac is SHIFT F5. (SHIFT FN F5 if you don't have an extended keyboard).

To change the keyboard shortcut (I've changed it to COMMAND LEFT-ARROW):

  • View > Toolbars > Customize Toolbars and Menus..."
  • Press the "Keyboard" button in the lower right corner of the dialog box
  • From the "Category" list on the left, choose "All Commands"
  • From the "Commands" list on the right, choose "GoBack" (or click in the list on the right and start typing "GoBack"
  • Enter your new keyboard shortcut below.
  • Click "ASSIGN" This is not the "OKAY" button.
  • THEN click "OKAY."
  • Although the behavior is not clear, e.g. clicking a cross reference and doing GoBack does not return you to the reference you clicked and sometimes GoBack switches from one document to another, or goes to the end. Seems to be buggy or the intended behavior eludes me. – WilliamKF Apr 29 '14 at 15:03
  • GoBack description by Microsoft: Return to the previous insertion point || Too bad its insertion... – Srneczek Apr 29 '16 at 21:21

Use Alt+left or click on the green back arrow in the mini toolbar in the top left of your MS Word window.

screenshot of MS Word top left corner toolbar

Note: the toolbar seems to be context-sensitive. The icon won't show up until after you've clicked on a link.

  • Hmm, I'm on Macintosh and not seeing green back arrow, I also tried Option-Left on keyboard which moves backwards by one word. – WilliamKF Sep 9 '13 at 23:16
  • Maybe there is a way to add the green arrow in the configuration? – WilliamKF Sep 9 '13 at 23:17
  • What is the command's name? Closest I've found is 'previous edit'. – WilliamKF Sep 9 '13 at 23:22
  • @WilliamKF thanks for clarifying that you're using a Mac. Often the keyboard shortcuts are different; try some other modifier key + left arrow. The toolbar seems to be context-sensitive, so the icon doesn't show up until after you've clicked on a link. In older versions of Word, this was in the "web" toolbar. – rob Sep 10 '13 at 1:11

I believe that function is WebGoBack which disappeared from the later versions of Word for Mac. Try assigning a key combo to that command in the options menu.


Updating @Frances-Sherman answer for Word for Mac 16

Menubar: Tools->Customise Keyboard Select All Commands in the Categories window Then type goback into Commands Then assign your shortcut

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