Learn more ways to do things

quick tip - microsoft 365

It seems like there are at least 5 ways of doing most things in the Microsoft Office programs. Since most Windows programs follow their lead, these should work in other applications as well. We all have preferences, some more conscious than others. If you learn alternative ways of doing things, you can find the way that is most efficient for you. Some options are:

1) Ribbons – using your mouse, click through the Ribbons. I’m sure you’ll stumble on several interesting features.

2) Right-click – this is one of my favorite things. Tricia’s Rule #2 is “When in doubt, right-click.” This will bring up a context-sensitive menu. That means it will show you the options you have based on where you right-click. I know you want to say “well, duh,” but resist and try it in new places.

3) Ctrl shortcut keys – hold the Ctrl key and press the letter to do that action. For example, Ctrl+S will save your file. Most of these keys work in all of the applications (even other Windows applications). Some icons will show a pop-up tip with what the Ctrl+key combination is for that feature. You can also search in Help and you’ll get a list of them. Remember what is most useful to you. Personally, I couldn’t function without Ctrl+C to copy and Ctrl+V to paste.

4) Alt shortcut keys – if you press the Alt key, letters will appear next to the items in your Quick Access Toolbar and on Ribbon names. That is a shortcut key. It means you can press that key and it will do whatever it would have done had you clicked on it with your mouse. While I rarely use this, there have been times when my mouse stopped working and I needed to get to my menus. One time I even had my menus disappear but by clicking Alt+F, I was able to bring up the File menu.

5) F1-F12 keys. It’s been so long since I’ve used these, I don’t know how they work anymore! Feel free to explore. Actually…there is one I remember and use: F1 for Help! Search on shortcut keys and you’ll see more than you ever wanted to know. There is another one I do use when I remember it exists…F4. It will repeat your last action. Experiment with this on a non-critical file (it should work in any Office application). If you have an F Lock key, you may need that to switch to the function keys (and now you know what that key is for!).

Keyboard with Function Keys identified.

Tricia Santos

After 18 years of providing computer consulting, training and speaking, I fell into a "real" job (managing a dental specialist practice). So, I gave up my business in 2007. However, I still love learning about computers and sharing what I know. This really is my favorite hobby. Hope you find it useful.

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