Updated: 03/06/2020 by Computer Hope

Alternatively referred to as Control B and C-b, Ctrl+B is a shortcut key most often used to bold and un-bold text.


On Apple computers, the shortcut to bold is the Command key+B or Command key+Shift+B keys.

How to use the Ctrl+B shortcut key

To use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+B, press and hold either Ctrl key on the keyboard and while continuing to hold, press the "B" key with either hand.

With this keyboard shortcut, if no text is highlighted and the program you're using uses this key to bold text pressing the shortcut key turns on and off the bold feature. If text is highlighted, the highlighted text becomes bold or un-bold if already bolded.


On Apple computer keyboards, the Ctrl key is labeled as "control."

Ctrl+B in an Internet browser

With Internet browsers, the Ctrl+B keyboard shortcut can have a different functions depending on the browser. With Firefox and Netscape, Ctrl+B displays the bookmarks. With Internet Explorer, Ctrl+B displays the favorites.

Ctrl+B in Excel and other spreadsheet programs

In Microsoft Excel and all other spreadsheet programs, pressing Ctrl+B when one or more cells is selected will bold or un-bold the selected cells. If editing the contents of a cell with no selected text, Ctrl+B turns on and off bold.

Ctrl+B in Microsoft PowerPoint

Pressing Ctrl+B in Microsoft PowerPoint bolds the highlighted text.

Ctrl+B in Word and other word processors

In Microsoft Word and other word processor programs, highlighting text and pressing Ctrl+B makes the text bold. If the text is already bold, highlighting the bold text and pressing Ctrl+B un-bolds the text.

Below are links to related keyboard key and keyboard shortcut pages.

B, Bold, Ctrl, Keyboard terms, Shortcut key