Shortcuts in SDL Trados Studio: the basics

computer mouseShortcuts in Trados Studio speed up the translation process by keeping your hands on the keyboard, so you only resort to your mouse when it’s unavoidable. If you’re a new Studio user you’ll want to become familiar with certain shortcuts as soon as possible, but in no time you’ll discover there are scores of them. So which ones are essential?

Here is my personal list of five shortcuts you should be using the very first time you open Studio. Note that they apply to the default user profile, so they may differ if you’ve selected the Trados or SDLX user profile.

  1. Shift+F12 – This brings up the “Save target as” dialog to save your translation in its native format. In addition to using it to produce the finished translation, I always click Shift+F12 as soon as I open a document to translate, just to check that the file is going to save OK.
  2. Ctrl+Enter – When you’ve finished translating a segment, confirm it by clicking Ctrl+Enter. This will add the translation unit to your translation memory (TM) and move the cursor to the next unconfirmed segment.
  3. Ctrl+Comma – This produces a drop-down list of placeables (numbers, abbreviations, etc.) and tags from the source segment, which you can insert by selecting the right one with the arrow keys and clicking enter.
  4. Alt+number – [Ctrl+number in Studio 2014/15] Apply TM look-up results from the translation results window using Alt+1, Alt+2, etc.
  5. F3 – Concordance shortcut. Highlight the term (in source or target) that you want to search for in your TM, click F3 and the concordance results window will appear with the term highlighted.

When you’ve got those under your belt, here are the next five that I think you’ll need to learn very soon:

  1. Ctrl+Shift+G – When tags are paired (to mark the start and end of formatting) the closing tag looks like a ghost if the first one has been added individually. To bring it back to life (and make sure your translated file saves OK), select the ghost tag and click Ctrl+Shift+G.
  2. Ctrl+L – Locking a segment is a quick, infallible way of making sure it won’t be touched by autopropagation or sent to your TM. You can also use it so that other translators or reviewers can’t change the segment. You can filter by locked segments too.
  3. Ctrl+G – In a long document, use Ctrl+G to go to a particular segment number, status or category.
  4. Ctrl+Ins – Copy the source segment into the target segment. Particularly useful if the segment is full of tags, to make sure you don’t miss any.
  5. F4 – If you’ve been using the Find dialog box and you’ve closed it or it’s no longer visible, simply click F4 to find the next instance of the word. (This works the same as shift+F4 in MS Word)

And talking of MS Word, don’t forget that many shortcuts you’re already familiar with also work in Studio:

  • Ctrl+S (save) – this saves the bilingual xliff file in Studio, not the target file.
  • Ctrl+C/V/X (copy/paste/cut)
  • Ctrl+B/U/I (bold/underline/italics)
  • Ctrl+F/H (find/replace)
  • Ctrl+A (select all)
  • Shift+F3 (toggle lowercase, uppercase and initial capitals in selected words)
  • Ctrl+Shift+8 (show whitespaces)
  • Ctrl+Start/End (go to start/end of file)
  • Ctrl+arrows (move one word left/right)
  • Ctrl+Z/Y (undo/redo last action)
  • F7 (spellcheck)
  • F1 (help)

If you already use the above shortcuts so much that you can do them blindfolded, then drop by soon to check out my upcoming post on “Shortcuts in SDL Trados Studio: beyond the basics”.

Image attribution: Pockafwye

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48 Responses to Shortcuts in SDL Trados Studio: the basics

  1. paulfilkin says:

    Great idea for the article Emma… just thought I’d add one alternative to your Ctrl+Shift+G. When you are working with tags and you add the first one of a pair you can also close the ghost tag off by using Ctrl+Fullstop (Ctrl+.) No need to highlight the tag either, just position the cursor at the start of the closing ghost tag, so after you type your text just press Ctrl+.

    • Thanks for your comment, Paul. The only problem with using “Ctrl+.” is that if there is more than one ghost tag in the segment, Studio picks the first even if you’re trying to add a later one. (There shouldn’t be more than one ghost tag at a time, but tag soups can make some people add and delete tags all over the place.) So it could be confusing for newbies.
      But you’re right, it’s certainly faster than the shortcut for selecting the ghost tag and then clicking Ctrl+Shift+G if you know what you’re doing.

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  3. I was compelled to reblog this article, Emma. I guess you also “translate with your eyes closed” from time to time! There are a few shortcuts here that I did not know about. I shall be putting them into practice immediately. Thank you for sharing!

  4. May I take the opportunity to promote my Studio manual? There I have listed (in 10 annexes) all shortcuts used in Studio, sorted by functions (which means that you can see also those functions which by default lack shortcuts but can have them assigned) and function areas. There is also a list sorted by shortcuts, so that you can see which ones are used, and for what function. The lists cover not only the default profile but also the SDL Trados and SDLX profiles (there are some variations). I find these lists useful particularly since they make it possible to find functions you did not even know existed! (Of course you can find lists of all shortcuts in the program as well, but my lists are more handy.)

  5. Moira Monney says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Emma! I even learned some new Word shortcuts 🙂 I’ll be practising them all. Looking forward to the “beyond the basics” article!

    • I’m so glad you found it useful, Moira. It wasn’t my intention to teach people Word shortcuts, but if you’ve learnt something new, then that’s great!

  6. Thanks for listing these, Emma! I wondered about your use of locked segments – can you give us some examples of when you use this? In particular, in what circumstances do you use it to ensure that a segment isn’t sent to the TM?

    • Hi Jayne. A good example of segment locking is when an adjective and a noun are split into two different segments because of hard break (often the case in a PPt file or a table). For example, “montaña blanca” in Spanish would be “white mountain” in English. Since I don’t want a translation unit containing montaña / white in my TM, I translate this segment, press Ctrl+L and move down to the next segment with the arrow down key (without confirming) and then do the same for blanca / mountain.
      It’s a workaround for a poorly formatted source text that I expect you use without even thinking about it, but it’s just one of the ways that Ctrl+L comes in useful.

  7. Hi Emma, hi all,

    Do you happen to know if there is a keyboard shortcut that will allow me to select the segment I just was led to using Find ? I have been losing so much time switching to the mouse or touchpad just for this. I often can’t even read the translation because Find is happy with leaving the occurrence on the last line.

    Congratulations and thanks again Emma for you ongoing great help to those who must use that tool,


    • Hi Alexandre, As far as I know, there isn’t a shortcut to take the cursor to that segment (I think it’s the same in MS Word, isn’t it?). To solve your second issue where Find makes the segment disappear off the bottom of the window, try enabling “Centre Active Row” in Tools>Options>Editor. Maybe that helps?

  8. alxobr says:

    Thank you Emma for your answer, so quick compared to the time I have been enduring this Trados behavior (among a few others…).

    You wrote:
    ” I think it’s the same in MS Word, isn’t it?”
    Yes it seems that MS Word 2010 also loves to hinder the user’s productivity.

    Concerning the “Centre Active Row” option, I did not find it in my 2011 SP2 nor in its help system. I guess I need to upgrade? 😉


  9. alxobr says:

    Thanks Emma, this seems worth upgrading. The main issue however of making the segment current using the keyboard is unsolved.

    Let’s take this opportunity to say a few words about OmegaT BTW.
    Suppose you want to check or replace a term through the whole project in OmegaT.
    1. You make a search for this term: CTRL+F and can get all your occurrences at a glance in a Search window.
    2. You can go directly to any segment (making it ready to edit) from this Search window (also with the keyboard).
    3 When you confirm the segment, the TM and all occurrences of the edited segment are updated, except those you specified as having a particular and different context-dependent translation.

    Et voilà. It takes at most one minute for say 5 different segments. And the TM is UPDATED and CLEAN by the same token. Now do the same in Trados Studio and tell me how long it takes…

    The recent versions of OmegaT do translate sdlxliff files, though not always quite without issues yet.



    • Interesting explanation of how it works in OmegaT, Alexandre. I don’t use OmegaT, but am always interested in learning more about different tools.
      My comments on your points are:
      1. Studio does this too if you use the display filter “containing” box.
      2. That’s good, this is the shortcut that’s missing in Studio. Using F&R could be useful here though.
      3. Yes, in Studio you do this through autopropagation. The segments get updated and the TM does too.
      So I think your one minute timing would apply to Studio too. Maybe it’s a case of getting very familiar with your favourite CAT tool so that you can take advantage of all its features.

      • Kos Ivantsov says:

        2. That’s good, this is the shortcut that’s missing in Studio. Using F&R could be useful here though.

        Search and Replace is available in OmegaT by using a script that comes with the program. Even though it doesn’t have a GUI, and the user has to insert search and replace terms inside the text of the script, it’s quite powerful as it can use Regular Experessions. There’s also a custom batch search and replace script that is capable of not only replacing strings of text but doing unit conversions and other data manipulations.

        • Hi all,
          I’ll be blocking further comments about OmegaT from now on as we’re getting too off-topic for this post. However, if anyone wants to publish a guest post on Studio / Omega side by side, please contact me.

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  12. alxobr says:

    Hi all,

    Emma wrote:
    “If you’ve been using the Find dialog box and you’ve closed it …”.
    Well I can close the Find dialog by typing ESC, which is just fantastic. I also noticed that the Find dialog does not close automatically any more as it did in TS 2009, which is really encouraging 😉

    Now why can’t I similarly close the “Go To” box using escape ? There is not even a shortcut for the close button.

    Isn’t keeping a software product in an eternally unfinished state a great way to make captive customers upgrade, when real and practical innovation is cruelly lacking? They can provide patches which themselves bring holes bigger than the ones they fill, and so the customer is kept yearning forever…



    • Hi Alexandre, Default shortcuts in most Windows applications is Alt plus a relevant letter for that action. So in Studio the shortcut for “close” is Alt+C.
      This works for Find, Replace, GoTo, etc.

  13. alxobr says:

    The “Replace” box does not close with the keyboard either BTW 😉

  14. Maria Trepp says:

    Thank you so much. Extremely useful.

  15. You may find some issues with shortcuts not functioning very well, i.e. when trying to add terms in the Editor.

    • Yes, good point. As you mention in the ProZ thread, adding terms to your termbase from Studio Editor isn’t at all fast. It’s not just the Java issue, but also not being in the right place at the right time, so some shortcuts don’t respond properly. Definitely room for improvement here, I agree.

  16. Daniel says:

    Hi Emma! Is there a way to confirm a segment without committing it to the TM?

    • Hi, Daniel. Yes, right click the segment, select “change segment status” and then “translated”. That way the segment won’t be saved to the TM. You can also select several segments or even all of them and change their status all in one go.

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  18. Tony says:

    Hello, there.
    Sorry I do not have much time to search for the answer, so I’ll just post my question:
    Please tell me, what is Bold/Italic/Under TURN OFF shortcut? coz in TS 2011 ctrl + B,I,U works only to turn it on. And if I nee to turn off only this part of formatting I have to use ctrl+Space to kill all the format. But I don’t want to kill all format. Imagine I might have there colour or something else. Please help. Thanks in advance.

  19. Thanks Emma, just converting from Deja Vu to Trados. How can I bookmark a segment (like I can in Deja Vu) if I want to highlight a segment that needs to be looked at later?

  20. mike rodent says:

    Hello Emma,

    Thanks for your useful tips and explanations.

    Do you know if there is a macro language at all in SDL Trados Studio 2014? First attempts to find it not that promising.
    The sort of thing I want to do is to apply all-caps, or leading caps, to one or more words once I have dictated them (using DNS). A macro to do this is pretty easy in Word… but can it be done in SDL-TS 2014? The only solution I see so far is to select the words (manually … boo!) and then apply Shift-F3, possible clicking more than once (boo!).

    Please let me know if there is a more productive and efficient way of messing with the caps/no caps state. With legal documents the French love putting words like “beneficiary” in all-caps or leading caps. Gets tiresome unless you have a speedy way of manipulating the case …


    • Sorry, I missed your comment earlier, Mike. If you’re using Dragon, I think you say “All-caps” or something similar before the word. Another solution might be to use autohotkey to automate tasks in Studio. I don’t use it myself, but I know some people love it.

  21. Lianne says:

    I am looking for keyboard navigation from the target to the source of a segment, so I can then highlight some words (ctrl-shft-arrows) and then F3 for a concordance search – all with my keyboard. Any hopes? WordFast Pro allows this when in “text view” (compares to classic) but not in the “table view”.

  22. Hi everyone,

    Comments on this post are now closed. If you need help with Studio issues, the place to go is the SDL Community Forum.

    If you’d like my advice about solving specific Studio issues or personal guidance as you start out with Studio, please click the contact tab above to arrange a consultancy session.


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