In Word 2013, I can use Alt+= to open a new equation-editing textbox.  As I have the Swiss keyboard layout, I actually press Alt+Shift+0 (zero) to achieve that.  This is a bit more complicated to press, but at least it works.

When I hover over the "Insert->Formula" button in OneNote, it tells me that the shortcut is Alt+Entf:

"Entf" is short for "Entfernen" which is German for "remove" or "delete".  Unfortunately, Alt+Delete does nothing at all in OneNote (and Alt+Shift+0 doesn't do anything either).

So I Googled. For Word, there are many tutorials how to change keyboard shortcuts: File -> Options -> Customize Ribbon -> some button

In OneNote, the settings are exactly the same – except for the fact that that button is not there...

I now need a way to add or edit the shortcuts of OneNote. I wouldn't mind if it is a hacky solution like a registry edit.

EDIT: Simulating Alt+= using AutoHotkey does not help.

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    (1) You probably shouldn’t be surprised that that Word keyboard shortcuts don’t work in OneNote.  (I admit, if 95% of them work, then shame on Microsoft for not making it 100%, but still, they are two different programs.)  (2) Your question is unclear: does your keyboard have a “Del” (or “Delete”) or an “Entf” key?  And, if it does, what happens when you press (Alt)+(Delete) or (Alt)+(Entf) in OneNote?  Nothing at all?  (3) You say, “In OneNote, the settings are exactly the same - except for the fact, that that button is not there...”  What button are you talking about here? Oct 5, 2015 at 19:52
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    (Cont’d) …  (4) Your screen shot shows your “real name”.  If you don’t want that to be publicly associated with your Super User identity, you might want to sanitize the image. Oct 5, 2015 at 19:52
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    (1) You're right. I was just pointing out that i tried this so it doesn't have to be suggested. (2) It is called Delete key but it is exactly the same as an Entf key - afaik. Pressing ALT+Del does nothing at all and the equation is not the only place where ALT+Entf is mentioned as keyboard shortcut (3) A button to edit the keybindings. Or so I believe. But anyways, my question got answered. Thank you very much for your comments though, especially for (4)
    – lucidbrot
    Oct 6, 2015 at 8:45

4 Answers 4


I’m a U.S. English user, and I don’t have OneNote (and I’ve never used it), so my contribution may not be valuable to you.  But many programs — including most Microsoft programs, or at least most Microsoft Office programs, or at least most Microsoft programs that have a ribbon — have a way of navigating the ribbon to get to the functions quickly using the keyboard.  This capability implies a set of keyboard shortcuts that are hidden in plain sight.

For example, in Word, if I press Alt (and either release it, or hold it for a second), I get this:

Note that the ribbon tabs are labeled with letters:

  • F = File
  • H = Home
  • N = Insert
  • G = Design
  • P = Page Layout
  •    ⋮

and the buttons on the Quick Access Toolbar (Save, Undo, Redo, …) are labeled with numerals.

If I press N, for INSERT, I get this

Note this detail from the right end:


So, in U.S. English Microsoft Word, Alt, N, E is a hidden keyboard shortcut for Insert Equation.  You can type this any of the following ways:

  • Press and release Alt, press and release N, press and release E
  • Press and hold Alt, press and release N, release Alt, press and release E, or
  • Press and hold Alt, press and release N, press and release E, release Alt

and, once you have released the Alt key, you can use Shift, or not, as you prefer.  So you can

  • Press and release Alt, then type n and e
  • Press and release Alt, then type n and E
  • Press and release Alt, then type N and e
  • Press and release Alt, then type N and E
  • etc.

So experiment with Alt in your version of OneNote and see what you find.  (As noted, OneNote is different from Word, and these shortcuts may be language-dependent.)

Another approach is to add Insert Equation to the Quick Access Toolbar.  Then you will be able to use Alt+4, or whatever, depending on how many other items you have in your Quick Access Toolbar.

  • Thank you very much. Adding the "New Equation" to the Ribbon did the trick. i had already added the "insert Equation" button didn't realize that you can add the "add new equation that is empty" button. Alt + 1 now does it for me :)
    – lucidbrot
    Oct 6, 2015 at 8:28

I found a good suggestion on https://getonetastic.com/blog-shortcuts-for-macros for creating new keyboard shortcuts in OneNote:

The trick is to use the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT). The nice thing about QAT is that all the buttons in there get an automatic keyboard shortcut in the form of Alt + n where n is the button number. So the fifth button in the QAT has Alt + 5 as its shortcut.

So how do we get buttons to the QAT? You can normally right click on any button on the ribbon and click "Add to Quick Access Toolbar" and have it added to QAT.


For completeness, another way to add a shortcut in OneNote is to use AutoHotkey to send the keystrokes to access it via the default shortcut.


Have you tried CTRL + K to add shortcuts? (I'm assuming by shortcut you mean links). Here's a list of commands that might help, not sure however how it translates to your keyboard style:


  • No, I don't mean links. I want to press a combination of keys to add a new equation without anything inside it yet.
    – lucidbrot
    Oct 6, 2015 at 8:20

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