15 Quick Keyboard Shortcuts to Supercharge Your Use of Microsoft Office

In late 2013 and early 2014, CMIT Solutions covered 10 tricks, tips, apps, and add-ins for Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. But the list of keyboard shortcuts and productivity boosters applicable to the Microsoft Office suite, which includes these two gold standards of word processing and spreadsheet databasing, along with slideshow software PowerPoint and email/calendar software Outlook, is long—and we’re excited to share some new tricks that we’ve recently discovered.

Some of these satisfy basic functions, while others allow you to dig deeper into your data or make the presentation of information more professional. Either way, all of the following tips are great to keep handy (note: many of these key combinations work best on PCs, not Macs). The more you utilize them, the easier they will be to remember—and the more refined your use of Microsoft Office will become.

Microsoft Word

1) Want to display a list of all your open documents? Press Alt + W then W by itself. Want to compare two documents side by side? Press Alt + W + B.

2) Unsure what a word means or how it’s being used? Right-click on any word in a document to show its definition, translate it into another language, or view its synonyms.

3) Need to quickly access the thesaurus? Press Shift + F7.

4) Want to rearrange items in a bulleted or numbered list? Press Alt + Shift, or right-click the bullets or numbers to reveal Restart Numbering and Continue Numbering options.

5) Use Track Changes to edit documents often? Rather than digging through Word’s extensive drop-down menus, press Ctrl + Shift + E to turn Track Changes on quickly.

6) Want to make a specific word, line, or phrase point to a specific Internet link? Copy the link you want to use, highlight your desired text, press Ctrl + K or Command + K, and then paste in the URL.

Microsoft Outlook

7) Want to link contacts to outside documents or databases so you can access them anywhere? Click on View > People Pane > Link Contacts so that your data can stay up to date with you.

8) Trying to figure out how to enable or disable message previewing? Click on View > Message Preview and then toggle this option on or off depending on your preferences. Many consider Preview Message as a handy way to scan for important emails (which makes the efficient composition of email subject lines and first paragraphs even more crucial).

9) Dying to turn off alerts, chimes, and pop-up reminders? Click on Options > Rules or Message > Rules and create a rule that only displays emails from select addresses.

Microsoft Excel

10) Want to create a bar chart within a set of data? Press F11 in any cell.

11) Need to format your data into currency? Press Ctrl + Shift + $ to do so with commas and two decimal places.

12) Need to format your data into percentages? Press Ctrl + Shift + %.

Microsoft PowerPoint

13) Want to spice up your presentation with background music? Click on the Playback tab to embed music using the Play in Background option.

14) Want to apply customized elements to a built-in theme? Click on the Variations box to individualize the fonts, effects, and color schemes of standardized PowerPoint themes.

15) Want to shift between overlapping text or images in a slide? This might be the simplest trick of all: just press Tab to bounce between different elements in a slide.

Whether you’re a seasoned Microsoft Office pro looking for the next big productivity boost, or a relative newbie still struggling with the software suite’s multitude of options, hopefully, these 15 tricks will help. Want to know more about improving efficiency in your office? Wondering how to relieve tech headaches and transform the day-to-day operations of your company? Contact CMIT Solutions today.


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