It's mostly what you don't know ...

Microsoft Office has hundreds of shortcuts, some well known, other a little obscure and others arise accidentally!

Here I have gathered a selection that I use frequently from Word, Excel and Outlook. Some you might know (or perhaps forgotten), others a little less well known  but certainly useful!

 10 Hints for Word

Select whilst you navigate

Word has many navigation shortcuts; HOME and END for beginning and end of line for instance.  Whatever navigation shortcut you use, holding down the SHIFT key whilst moving the cursor causes the text to be highlighted.

Insert the current date

Try Alt + Shift + D to enter the current date.  Beware thought that this updates by itself as it inserts a date field.

Reset the text to its default font

If you are copying and pasting text from one document to another, you may well get differing fonts, sizes and effects.  To reset the font to its default state, highlight it and press CTRL + Spacebar

Return to the last edit point

If you move the cursor through a document by accident, and want to return to the point where you last edited text, press SHIFT + F5

Repeat the last command

If you want to repeat the last command, say putting some text in bold, select the next block and press F4.

Size a table column or row with more precision

When dragging a table column or row to re-size it, hold the ALT key to smooth the movement and adjust in fine increments.

Change the case of text

If you TYPE A LINE OF text all in CAPITALS or in a mixture by mistake, highlight the text and press SHIFT + F3 once or twice.

Moving paragraphs with no cut and paste

Most people use cut and paste to move paragraphs around.  Try highlighting a paragraph or two and use ALT + SHIFT + UP ARROW to move the text up the document or ALT + SHIFT + DOWN ARROW to move the text downwards.

Add line spacing when using bullets or numbers

If you use Word's built in line numbering or bullet facility, you;ll know that each time you press enter you get a new number/bullet.  If you just want to have a new line, try SHIFT + ENTER.

Adding tab stops to tables

Pressing the TAB key in a table takes you to the next cell, but if you have tab stops and you need to use them within the table, hold CTRL then press the TAB key.  In case you're wondering why, tabs can have decimal stops so all the decimal points line up exactly, and this was where I needed to use them.

 10 Hints for Excel

Moving a Column

If you want to move a column in its entirety, without having to delete the blank it leaves behind using copy and paste, click the column letter to highlight it, then place the mouse pointer on the black line of the column edge.  Hold the SHIFT key down and drag the mouse to the location of the new column.

Right Drag the Auto Fill Handle

Most people drag the autofill handle (small black handle on the lower right of the cell cursor square) using the left button.  Try using the right button.  If you are copying properly entered dates (such as 1//10/2013) right dragging gives a pop up menu where you can fill by days, or months, or years.

Create a Chart with one key

Simply highlight your data and press F11.

Select Rows and Columns

Whilst you can use the mouse to select rows or columns, try CTRL + SPACEBAR to select columns or SHIFT + SPACEBAR to select rows.  See what happens with one after another.

AutoFill the power way!

Next time you have to fill data or formulae downwards, instead of dragging the Autofill handle, try double clicking it.

Display formulas at a keystroke

The quickest way of displaying formulae is to use a keyboard shortcut.  Use CTRL + ¬ (the key below the ESC key).

Excel's Secret Menu

Highlight a block of cells, then position the mouse pointer over the black border and drag to a new location using the right hand mouse button.  Check out the menu you get!

Convert formulas to values in a flash

Highlight the cell(s) with the formulae then move your mouse pointer over the border; when the mouse pointer becomes an arrow, right drag to another cell, and release.  One of the menu options should be "Copy here as values only".  Have a look at "Link here" as well.

Wrap text in a cell

Excel 2007 and upwards have a wrap text icon on the Home tab.  Earlier versions have this buried away on the "Format cells" dialog which can be accessed by using CTRL + 1.  If you want to force a line break, press ALT + ENTER whilst typing the entry.

 10 Hints for Outlook

Quickly adding contacts or calendar items from emails

If you receive an email and you want to add the address to your contacts quickly and easily, just drag the email from the Inbox to the Contacts icon.  If you drag an email to the Calendar, then you create an appointment for today, with the content of the email!

Date Navigator Hints

You can use a keyboard shortcut to modify the number of days visible in your Date Navigator (mini calendar). Just press ALT and any number between one and 10, using the main number keys. The number determines how many days will be displayed, starting from the current date.

Change the Calendar display further!

You can use the mouse to display two days at a time, or 20 or 10! To change your Calendar display, drag to select the dates you want to display over the Date Navigator.  Also, try holding CTRL when clicking dates on the Navigator.

Resend an Email

Forgot to add someone to an email or to CC it to them?.   In Outlook 2010, rather than forwarding it, open the email from your Sent Items, then look for the Actions icon on the ribbon; click this and select "Resend this message...".

Yet another way to add an attachment!

Try highlighing one or more documents from your chosen folder.  Next switch to Outlook and click on any email in the Inbox.  Now press CTRL + V as if pasting.  A new mail is created with your documents attached. One attachment will display the file's name in the subject line, whilst multiple documents will leave the subject blank.

A Few Nifty Keyboard Shortcuts!

  • To reply to an email try CTRL + R
  • To forward use CTRL + F
  • F9 to force a send receive of messages
  • CTRL + SHIFT + m to create a new email from where ever you are in Outlook
  • CTRL + G sets up as recurrence for an appointment or for a task
  • INSERT to add a flag to remind you to follow up an email today
  • CTRL + SHIFT + G to add a custom follow up flag

Quick Steps (Outlook 2010)

Have you discovered Quick Steps yet?  They are a set of one-click short cuts to move emails, categorize emails or create ones to specific people.  Quick Steps are on the Home tab.  Look for the custom option to create your own shortcuts!

Outlook's date abbreviations

If you need to set an appointment say 30 days from now, rather than flicking through to find the date, create an appointment for today, and in the Start time field, enter 30d then click out of the field.  The current date is replaced by one 30 days hence.

Expand a Mailing Group (aka Distribution List)

If you use Mailing Groups did you know that you can expand them to pick and chose whom you want?  Enter a mailing group name into either the TO, CC or BCC fields.  Note the small + at the beginning; clicking this will expand the group into its membership, which does not affect the original group.

Displaying Week Numbers on the Calendar

Do you need the week numbers displayed on your Calendar and Date Navigator?  In Outlook 2010, click the File tab then Options.  Now click the Calendar icon on the left hand side and on the right look for Display Options and tick the "Show Week numbers ..." option.