KeyTips are your way to faster Microsoft Office

Wanna be a better, faster Office user?  Impress your friends? Be the envy of women and men for miles around?  Try out Office KeyTips – the keyboard shortcuts you don’t have to memorize because they are on the screen.

Simply press a few keys to accomplish tasks quickly regardless of where you are in an Office program. A shortcut key will allow you to access every command on the ribbon.  

Keytips are in all versions of Office for Windows from Office 2007 onwards. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access and Publisher, basically any Office app with a ribbon interface. There are no Keytips in Office for Mac.

Start by tapping (press and release) the Alt key.  Keytips will appear showing the next key to press.

Basically, KeyTips are little boxes acting as shortcuts, which are over each command available. It’ll take some practice, but you will likely find in the end that you’ll out speed using the mouse.  

How to use KeyTips

Starting KeyTips is quick and easy, just press the Alt key and release to bring up the little boxes in your ribbon.

Or in Excel

Now you can press the letter shown in the KeyTip over the command that you want to use next, for example we’ve pressed the letter ‘F’ for the File Tab.  

Now, depending on the letter you have pressed, you may find additional KeyTips to continue you on to the next commands.

For example in the File Tab, you can now choose between a whole bunch of different selections.

Say we select the key ‘A’ for Save As, we’ll be brought to another lot of KeyTips to chosen from.

Basically you continue to press letters until you’ve reached the specific command you want to action.

Despite the all caps Keytip labels, the keypresses can be lower or upper case.

Want to hide the KeyTips? Simply press the Alt Key again and they’ll disappear or do some other action with the mouse or keyboard.

Go back

If you’ve made a mistake during your sequence of KeyTips, press the Esc key and you’ll go back one level.

Don’t wait

There’s no need to wait for the little boxes to appear (sometimes there’s a little delay). If you know the next letter/key to press, just press it and Office will react quickly.

If you start using Keytip shortcuts, it’s surprising how quickly you’ll learn common feature keystrokes.

Keytips labelling or syntax

There’s no official way to describe a keytip sequence but there are two common methods; comma or spaces.

In Excel, change formatting to Percentage is listed as either:

Alt, H, P   or  Alt H P

The comma or space marks that the key is pressed and released, compared to the plus + sign which means to hold both keys down at the same time  (e.g. Ctrl + B  for Bold).

With Keytips, the first step to choose a ribbon tab can be either to tap Alt then a letter (Alt, H)  or combined ( Alt + H ).

Fast First Step

Which KeyTips should you attempt to remember? Well, you don’t exactly need to have good memory to execute KeyTips as the little boxes will prompt you each time. But the more you do it – the more it’ll become second nature to you.

It’s handy to remember the first keypresses which take you to a ribbon tab or the File menu.

Here’s some common commands that you’ll find reflects across all Office programs, such as PowerPoint, Excel, and Word.  Use the key combinations together (hold down Alt while tapping F key) or one after another (tap and release the Alt key, then tap F ).

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