Click Open the Alpahnumeric Code to Locate Vista's Office Functions

BY STANLEY ZAROWIN


I am struggling to wade through the collection of hard-to-find application functions in Office 2007. I concede that, once I locate them, some are more powerful than those in the prior version of Office, but first you’ve got to find them in that cluttered ribbon. Any thoughts?

I’ve been asked this question by many readers, and I’m surprised that Microsoft hasn’t more actively promoted its builtin menu function to first-time users. That function does a good job of revealing their locations.

To access it, press the Alt key in any Office 2007 application, and an alphanumeric menu that includes many of that app’s functions is displayed, providing quick keyboard ways to open them.

If you’re in Word, for example, and you tap your Alt key, here’s what happens…

…and here’s what the Excel ribbon looks like.

All those little numbers and letters are called KeyTips. If you press Alt plus the appropriate letter on your keyboard, all the related functions of that letter will be displayed. For example, if you’re in Word and you press Alt+R (for Review), all the functions related to reviewing text will be displayed (see screenshot below).

The numbers and letters below the ribbon (that’s the Quick Access Toolbar) provide the keyboard shortcuts that open specific functions. For example, Alt-OE opens a Normal Word Document.

KeyTips may not be as artfully designed as the rest of Office, but it works and it’s simple—two attributes that trump artful design. I suspect that many users would complain less about Office 2007 if KeyTips were better known.

But the real advantage of KeyTips is that they provide a speed advantage over mousing because they let you keep your hands on the keyboard instead of moving to the mouse, searching the ribbon, and then returning to the keyboard.

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