The Keyboard At Your Command

We’ve been working a lot lately on improving the Office 12 keyboard model, so
my mind is trapped in a keyboard shortcut frame of mind. I don’t have anything to share
on this subject yet (we’re still working on the design), and when I do I’ll certainly post here.
But thinking about this so much gave me the inspiration for today’s post.

Whenever I write about keyboard access in Office, people send comments along the
lines of "I wish it was easier to figure out what the keyboard shortcuts in
Office were."

There are, as you might expect, a lot of web resources on the
subject. But I recommend
the great
Office Online site, which has an
incredible stash of information to help you use Office. Click the Assistance
link on the left side to start digging in.

To save you time, I’ve compiled the list of guides to keyboard shortcuts for
all of the Office programs. Don’t miss the "Show All" link at the top of each
page which formats the page in a way suitable for printing.

The Office assistance team has also created a number of other useful
resources around using the keyboard with Office. Here are some of them:

These are just a few of the over 100 articles on using the keyboard in
Office. You can
view the
full list here
. And don’t worry, the keyboard shortcuts will continue to
work in Office 12.

Now you’re ready to impress friends, family and co-workers with your
mouseless command of Office.

Comments (24)

  1. ThomThom says:

    You wouldn’t happend to have a list of Windows shortcuts?

    I keep finding out about these shortcuts I never knew about. Like a few weeks ago I found out you could press Windowskey+Pause.

  2. Frederik Slijkerman says:

    Shouldn’t this list of shortcuts be in the help file?

  3. jensenh says:


    If you search for "Keyboard Shortcuts" in help for each of the Office 2003 programs, the right article will be returned.

    I thought it might be handy to have them in one place.

  4. Vincent says:

    The most annoying with keyboard shortcuts in Office is the localization of the Bold shortcut. In the English version of Word, Bold is triggered with Ctrl+B (B for Bold), but in the French version, it is triggered by Ctrl+G (G for Gras). It is quite annoying since in Canada we are using both French & English version of Office. I always make the mistake of typing Ctrl+B on a french Office and the big Go To dialog pop-up.

    Same thing goes for Excel functions, we have to learn two different set of functions because the names are localized.

  5. Martin J Steer says:

    I was just about to start griping about the localization of the Bold-shortcut which isn’t ctrl-b in a Swedish version of Office. I noticed that someone else had already posted about this, but that won’t stop me… 🙂

    This is highly annoying since I use an english version at work and the Swedish version at home. I don’t think it is possible to make the Swedish version use the English short cuts (please tell me how, if I’m wrong) and this gets me every time.

    I’d prefer if all localized versions of Office would use the same key bindings by default, but barring that it would be really, really helpful if I could easily change all key bindings to the bindings of another language.




  6. MS says:

    In almost all non-Microsoft programs CTRL+SHIFT+S means "Save As…", but in Office: "Apply a style" – very annoying difference…

  7. Neil Jimack says:

    A problem I constantly encounter is the inconsistency between Word and Excel with regards to Find/Replace.

    Both programs use Ctrl+F to bring up the Find/Replace dialogue.  In Excel, if you wish to replace every instance of a word, you hit Ctrl+F, type the original word, hit Alt+R, type your new word, then Alt+A.

    Now for the same process in Word: Ctrl+F, type your original word, Alt+P, TAB, type the new word, then Alt+A.

    Ok, so it’s not horrific, but it’s so very very frustrating!

  8. Frederik Slijkerman says:

    > If you search for "Keyboard Shortcuts" in help for each of the Office 2003 programs, the right article will be returned.

    <hanging head in shame> Sorry!

    The other responses remind me of an annoyance in the Dutch version of Access: all VB/SQL function names are localized as well. For example, Count() becomes Aantal(). Even for me, as a native Dutch speaker, this isn’t very useful, because any other programming language would use Count. This makes searching for the right function quite difficult.

    I haven’t tried it, but I can also imagine that this makes it impossible to share databases between, for example, English and Dutch versions of Access.

  9. Scott D. says:

    Is there a way to change the shortcut for Undo and Redo? I can’t seem to find them in the list.

  10. timkin says:

    What about mentioning the new (at least for Word and WOrdMail/Outlook) ALT-key feature, whereby pressing Alt (alone) reveals the available shortcut combos for Alt?  Suddenly there are little white boxes with letters in them, visually showing what the Alt+key combo does.

  11. jensenh says:


    I’ve written an article about that already, see the Keyboard category off to the left.

    We are improving the design, though, so it is no longer totally accurate.  Once I have more information to share, I’ll write about it again.

  12. Ian Murphy says:

    The above mentioned problem of inconsistency in key shortcuts is something which drives everyone mad outside of the english speaking world.

    English versions of most programs are fairly consistent but once you have a non-english pc the situation decends into chaos.

    I find myself constantly hitting the wrong combination to save (ctrl-s in english ctrl-g in spanish), to search (ctrl-f in english, ctrl-b in spanish) etc etc. Office is well translated but then visual studio isn’t translated at all. Acrobat uses english keys. Half the useful apps out there are ‘key-translated’, the other half not.

    To make matters worse the many of the alt-letter shortcuts on dialogs don’t work because they are doubled up on the form. This still occurs in various places within office 2003 (in spanish).

    Isn’t it time windows adopted the ‘keyboard grammer’ concept which used to exist on some of the old workstation windowing systems? A key was defined a function by the OS, the applications recieved a function rather than a keypress.

    On the translation front, we find outselves regularly having to work out what an excel function is called in spanish (something on altogether obvious) when we know what its called in english. Often the people who have to create complex excel sheets are programmers. They know the function name in english but cannot find it in the spanish version.

    Can anything be done to help us?

  13. mr consistency says:

    AFAIK, applications on Mac OSX are NOT allowed to have different shortcut keys depending on localization. Changing shortcut keys based on language _greatly_ impairs accessibility and should as such be frowned upon.

    I think the behavior of Windows apps such as Adobe’s are the way to go. Microsoft has been down the bad localization road way too many times. (Just think Swedish version of VBA and you’ll get the point… But hey, it appears it’s still there in the Dutch version of Access.)

    And what about automation and macros? Will they work? No, they won’t.

    But the /one thing/ that annoys me the most with the Office applications is the inconsistency both between Windows de-facto keyboard shortcuts and between Office apps.

    Ctrl+F *is* find, with F3 for "Find Next".

    In Word – Ctrl+F is find (good), but find next…? That’s Ctrl+Alt+Y (!).

    And Outlook – Ctrl+F is Forward Email(!). Find is Ctrl+E.

    I’m out of words.

  14. Martin J Steer says:

    It would be really, really interesting to hear Jensen’s thoughts about localization of keyboard shortcuts!

    Most people who have commented seems to agree that it is a (very) bad thing. I think so too.

    I didn’t even mention the VBA-localization in my original comment, but SUM(a1:a92) in english and SUMMA(a1:a92) in Swedish is just a disaster.

    Why not localize C# to be consistent? 🙂

    Love the blog!



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  16. Jacob_66 says:

    I love shortcuts – anything that prevent using the mouse is graet. But I have to agree with all of you who have difficulty understanding the difference between languages. We use a danish version where CTRL+F = Bold and CTRL+B = Find ?!? :-S

    But a thing is wondering me, in Office 11 you can actual use the mouse to close a document or you can use the shortcut CTRL+W. But in Office 12 the button for closing the document is gone . There is only one way close a document without closing the app. CTRL+W – why?

  17. Juergen says:

    german, chinese, english, shortcuts all all different with each keyboard language. i hate that, whenever i switch the keyboard I have hard times to adjust.

    i dislike the microsoft shortcut lists mentioned above. i need a simple overview list of ALL shortcuts and not groups that i have to click to view them!

    you could create a shortcut training tool, somethign like tool tips …

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  19. Jeff says:

    Mr. Consistency wrote:

    > Ctrl+F *is* find, with F3

    > for "Find Next".

    > … [In] Outlook – Ctrl+F

    > is Forward Email(!). Find is Ctrl+E.

    Ugh, this annoys me every time I want to search inside an email or a contact and end up forwarding it instead.  I do this at least 5 times a week.  So very inconsistent!  I can’t wait to switch our email from outlook to request tracker (RT), which is web-based and where CTRL-F actually works.

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