Most computer users can’t imagine working without a mouse. Think about the time you spend:
- Removing your hand from the keyboard, placing it on the mouse
- Refocusing on the screen and navigating where you want to position the mouse to click it
- Removing your hand from the mouse, replacing it on the keyboard
- Refocusing on the screen and performing the action.
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Instead, let’s take a look at the time you can save with Alt key shortcuts.
Press the Alt key in Office 2003 and earlier versions and notice that a box appears around the word File. Do you also notice the underline under the letter F in File? All you have to do to drop down the menu is type the letter F. So, press the Alt key and then type F to drop down the File (or W to drop down Window or O for Format). Then, without the Alt key, type any letter in the menu. So, when you type Alt, F, O you get the Open dialog box. Switch files easily by typing Alt W and then 1, 2 or 3 to select the open file you want.
Don’t the menus disappear in 2007/2010? Yes, they do. But here is the great part about the Alt key shortcuts: Almost all of them will still work in the newer versions. For example, if you learn the Alt, E, S, V (Edit, Paste Special, Values) keyboard shortcuts in 2003, the same Alt key sequence works in 2007 and 2010, too.
Here’s one more Alt key shortcut to try: Just tap the Alt key and notice what happens to the Ribbon. You’ll see a letter pop up over each tab and over each button in your Quick Access Toolbar. Now, tap one of the letter keys indicated over a tab, like the W over the View tab. Notice that now all buttons in the View tab have letters, as well. Just type the letter to perform this function.
If you’re thinking that you could drive the whole program with these Alt key shortcuts, you’re right. While most users, even the royal of keyboard shortcut kings and queens, still use the mouse for some operations, you will find that incorporating keyboard shortcuts will make you faster and more accurate over time.
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