If you want to switch it up a bit in 2014 by using less mouse clicks and more keyboard shortcuts, I have a great trick for you.
Keyboard shortcuts are fast but speed is not everyone’s main objective, so for many of us memorizing keyboard shortcuts is not a priority. On the other end of the spectrum, there are keyboard shortcut wizards, with their fingers flying across the keyboard performing tasks at the speed of light.
[Alt]-ernative to memorizing shortcuts
If you are a Microsoft Office shortcut whiz, you may have noticed that some shortcuts are no longer available in the latest versions. This change has caused many users frustration because their super human speeds have been slowed to the pace of an old mouse with a limp. Both levels of users – those of us who are slow paced and mouse dependent, as well as the keyboard shortcut wizards can benefit from a valuable trick to use the keyboard more and the mouse less – an [Alt]-ernative to memorizing shortcuts.
“It’s like The Clapper™”
While using Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Visio…) simply tap the [Alt] key on either side of your keyboard to access the Ribbon menu. To turn the Ribbon off tap [Alt] again. It’s like The Clapper™
[Alt] On. [Alt] Off.
Once you turn on the Ribbon with [Alt], you will see magic labels appear next to each Ribbon tab. These labels are the “Key” to the secret shortcuts.
Now all you have to do is follow the labels to the command you need. For instance: if you want to access spell check in Word you would hit [Alt], then an [R] (Review Tab) then an [S] (Spelling and Grammar) and like magic, you’re at the spell check window! Sometimes though, there are too many commands on the ribbon, so Microsoft had to pair up the key strokes to access your desired command. The alignment buttons on the Home tab, for example, would be accessed with [Alt] then [H] for Home. Now you will notice the alignment tools are labeled with [AL], [AC], [AR] which are the buttons for align left, align center and align right respectively. Simply use [A] for align, then [C] for center.
Ok, I agree, these are not exactly shortcuts. In fact it may require three or more keystrokes to access a Ribbon command, but these long cuts are a helpful [Alt]-ernative trick which unlocks your secret ability to use the keyboard instead of the mouse. And IF you want to take it one step further, you could memorize some of these keystrokes, giving you quicker access to commonly used commands making you almost as fast as that brainiac wizard in the finance department.
Tom Vorves has been in the software training business for 25 years and was named Learn iT!’s Instructor of the Year 12 times! He is ranked #1 instructor for SharePoint Site Administrator classes in California and is the lead instructor for local, national and worldwide Microsoft Office migrations. Tom is ITIL Foundation Certified.