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Tips and Tricks
Tips and Tricks

Getting around Microsoft Office without a mouse – Using Key Tips

  by Deborah Zotian  

My friend Jenn is an editor. She is on her computer all day, fixing and formatting text for various publications. The one thing she hates more than anything is having to use her mouse. She says it wastes time – having to pick her hands up off the keyboard to use the mouse, then back to the keyboard. She uses keyboard shortcuts for just about everything. I was finally able to show her some new tricks she could use – Key Tips.

What are Key Tips? If you’re in a Microsoft product (Office 2007 and later), hit the Alt key. You will see little flags in the ribbon. These are shortcuts for those items – numbers for any of your Quick Access Tool (QAT) items; F for the File Tab, H for the Home tab, etc. If the tip is grayed out, it’s unavailable at the present time.

key tips

Want to insert a Table? Hit the Alt key, and select the letter N for the Insert Tab. Hit T, then I. You’ll get the familiar dialogue box asking how many columns and rows. Tab through, fill it in and hit enter. Voila – you have a table and you didn’t use your mouse!

insert a table

Watch out for the QAT though. If you’re like me, you have a bunch of items up there. After nine, it starts putting a 0 in front of the number. So on my QAT, changing from the touch screen size to the mouse size is 09, while 9 is my print key.

more key tips

It’s not just my friend who uses Key Tips. I know there are times when I’m working at a frantic pace and the Key Tips are faster. It also helped quite a bit when I was on a tight deadline, and the batteries in my wireless mouse decided now would be a good time to fade. I didn’t have time to go to the other end of the office to get more batteries, so I just used the Key Tips and got through the rest of the editing. (Then I did get batteries. Unlike Jenn, I really like my mouse.)

Of course, the best shortcut keys, in my opinion, are still Ctrl – Z and Ctrl – Y (Undo, redo). How did we function before them?