The Alt key in Windows is sticky: pressing Alt, then X (where X is any typing key) is equivalent to pressing Alt+X. Given the Alt key's frequent use and its awkward place on standard keyboard, this is a very good thing.

Every Word application I've ever used seems to respect this convention except Office 2010, Word 2010 in particular.

In Word 2010 the Alt key is usually sticky, but sometimes it isn't. I've been trying to figure out when it isn't since I migrated from Office 2003 to Office 2010. So far, no luck.

The result is that command keystrokes enter my text and have to be taken out again... over and over... usually under time pressure, as when I'm trying to type down something I'm hearing on the phone.

Can anyone tell me what rule determines when Word will ignore the sticky Alt key convention? If I understood this quirk, I'd have some hope of developing habits that compensate for it.