Top 10 Secret Key Commands in Microsoft Office

Whenever I mention one of these shortcuts in a session, I see people taking out their pencils to write them down. Most of us know some commonly used keyboard commands in Microsoft Office; Ctrl + Z to undo, Ctrl + C to copy, and so on… but I have some lesser-known favorites to share with you today. Also, take a moment to check out this article, which contains some more general shortcuts.

Header by pressing alt + ctrl + 1

 

F12 = Save As

If you have taken any of my Essentials sessions, you know this one, one of my absolute favorites. Remember in the old days when you used to be able to select Save As from the menu, and you would be taken directly to a dialog box with everything you wanted in one place? If you are like me, you found that box to be way faster than clicking through the options one by one in the new File/Backstage menu.

So just press F12. It does everything you want, and works in all your favorite Microsoft Office programs.

Save As screen

F7 = Spell Check

Want a quick spell check? No need to visit the ribbon, just press F7.

Word Spell Check

Especially useful in Excel, where we don’t get the red squiggly lines underneath misspelled words like we do in Word.

Excel Spell Check

F7 will also work in PowerPoint

PowerPoint Spell Check

Alt + Q = Find Features

This is a big one. Sometimes you know that a feature exists in Microsoft Office, but you are just not sure where to find it. Press Alt + Q to search for it.

Forget how to get to the Accessibility Checker? Press Alt + Q and search for it…

Find Features

While I still think it is a good idea to know where features live in the ribbon, this is an excellent tool to find what you are looking for in a hurry.

Ctrl + YΒ  =Β  Redo

Companion to the famous Ctrl + Z (undo), Ctrl + Y gets a lot less fanfare, and I have no idea why. It is a great cheat if you don’t know a key command for something. Ctrl +Y will simply recreate the last action.

Let’s say you want to insert a row into Excel in a variety of different places. Maybe you don’t know the key command (Shift Ctrl + +), so you insert one row… with the old-fashioned right click , Insert.

Right click menu, insert

To insert another row,Β  go to the new location, and hit Ctrl +Y. Click on the next location, Ctrl +Y, and so on. This will be much faster than performing the old “Right click, Insert” method 20 or so times.

New row with Ctrl + Y

It also works for formatting. A couple weeks ago, I was editing a Word document with quite a few pictures that I wanted to have identical style formatting. I selected one picture, applied a style format, then selected the remaining pictures, pressed Ctrl + Y and voila! All the same formatting was applied.

picture formatting. Ctrl + Y to reapply

Note: Ctrl + Y will only apply the last action, so if you were making several format changes to an item, you might be better off copying formatting with the Format Painter. Please attend an Excel, Word, or OneNote Essentials session to learn more about this amazing feature!

Ctrl + Home/Ctrl +End = Go to the Beginning or End

Need to get back to the top of a document, or conversely, need to find the end? Try Ctrl + Home or Ctrl + End to navigate.

Ctrl + Home will take you back to the top of your document, and Ctrl + End will take you to the bottom.

End of a row

Note: this will require that you are using a full keyboard… sometimes the Home and End buttons are not present on smaller keyboards or laptops.

Ctrl + Shift+ (arrow) = select an entire column or row

If you have attended Excel Advanced Formulas you know this one. Ctrl + Shift + Down Arrow will select all the data in a column. This also works with a right arrow to select all the data in a row. And in Word, it will select an entire row of data at a time.

All data selected in column with ctrl + shift + down arrow

Outlook: Ctrl + Shift + M = Create Email

I mentioned in a previous article that Outlook has some amazing time saving shortcuts. This one and the next one are my two favorites.

Regardless of the Outlook module you are working in, Ctrl + Shift + M will create a new email message. No need to return to the mail module.

Below I was in my Calendar module, and started an email with this command.

Create Email

Outlook: Alt + S = Send Email

Once you are done typing your email, don’t touch that mouse… Alt + S will send the email.

There have been occasions where someone was standing behind me as I used this command and the last in Outlook, and they exclaim, “How did you do that??” The wizardry of key commands!

Word: Alt + Ctrl + 1 (or 2, or 3) = Format as Heading

We are all utilizing headers after attending Word Essentials, right? Well, here is a quick way to set a line to Heading 1, 2 or 3: Alt + Ctrl + 1 (or 2, or 3).

Header by pressing alt + ctrl + 1

Excel: Ctrl + T = Convert Range to Table

After you attended Excel Essentials, you ran back to your computer to convert all your ranges to tables, right? The functionality we see for tables goes even beyond what we see in Essentials and Pivot Tables sessions. It is just a good practice to start utilizing them.

Instead of using the Table feature from the Home tab of the ribbon, place your cursor in the middle of your data and press: Ctrl + T.

Ctrl + T converts to Table

Of course, you can still make adjustments via the contextual Table Tool tab.

Table Tools Tab

Thoughts?

What do you think, are any of these one of your favorite shortcuts? Or do you have a different favorite secret shortcut to share?

Congratulations, Power Users!

Congratulations to our newest Power Users! For the full gallery, and more information about the WSU Microsoft Office Power User Program, please visit: wichita.edu/poweruser

  • Kaleb Basham
  • Joan Wilson

2 thoughts on “Top 10 Secret Key Commands in Microsoft Office”

  1. You just blew my mind with the Redo function. I use Ctrl + Y all the time when I Ctrl + Z too fast and need to redo what I just undid. I had no idea Redo had a function not tied to Undo!!!

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