Home > Articles > Home & Office Computing > Microsoft Applications

Microsoft Excel 2010 Keyboard Shortcuts

This chapter points out which of the old Excel keyboard shortcuts still work, shows you some new Excel 2010 shortcuts, and introduces you to the new keyboard accelerators.
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

If you do a lot of typing, being able to access commands from the keyboard is faster than moving your hand to the mouse. Excel 2010 introduces new keyboard accelerators accessed using the Alt key. In addition, many of the old Alt keyboard shortcuts still work and all the old Ctrl shortcut keys are still functional. For instance, Ctrl+C still copies a selection, Ctrl+X cuts a selection, and Ctrl+V pastes a selection.

This chapter points out which of the old keyboard shortcuts still work, shows you some new shortcuts, and introduces you to the new keyboard accelerators.

Using New Keyboard Accelerators

The goal of the new Excel 2010 keyboard accelerators is to allow you to access every command by using only the keyboard. In legacy versions of Excel, many popular commands had keyboard accelerators, but other commands did not. Excel 2010 tries to ensure that every command can be invoked from the keyboard.

To access the new accelerators, press and release the Alt key. Notice that Excel places a ToolTip above each command, with an associated accelerator key.

Note that an arcane command exists in the Excel Options dialog that can cause the new keyboard accelerators not to work for you. It is possible that you turned on this setting in Excel 1995 and each successive upgrade of Excel has inherited the setting. You should check the setting before proceeding. To do so, select the Office icon and then select Excel Options. In the Advanced category, scroll to near the bottom for Lotus Compatibility. If Transition Navigation Keys is selected, then the slash character shown in the Microsoft Office Menu Key will be used instead of Alt to invoke shortcuts. If you prefer using the Alt key, you should clear the Transition Navigation Keys check box. Keep in mind that if you prefer using the slash key, you must use / in place of Alt with new keyboard accelerators.

Tiny letter ToolTips appear over each tab of the ribbon. In addition, number ToolTips appear over each icon in the Quick Access toolbar. Figure 5.1 shows the ToolTips.

Figure 5.1

Figure 5.1 Type the letters in the ToolTips along the top to open various tabs. Type the numbers in the numeric keytips to access the Quick Access Toolbar.

It is possible to memorize the keytips for the ribbon tabs.

Pressing Alt+F always accesses the File menu in all Office 2010 applications.

Alt+H always accesses the Home tab in all Office 2010 applications. The accelerator definitions for each tab remain constant even if new ribbon tabs are displayed. When you activate a pivot table, the original keytip letters (F, H, N, P, M, A, R, W, L, and X) remain, and two new keytips appear for the two new tabs: JT for PivotTable Tools Options and JY for PivotTable Tools Design (see Figure 5.2).

Figure 5.2

Figure 5.2 New ribbon tabs get new letters, making sure the old letters remain constant.

Unfortunately, the keytips for the Quick Access toolbar change every time you add new buttons or rearrange buttons on the Quick Access toolbar. If you want to memorize those keytips, you need to make sure you do not add a new Quick Access toolbar icon at the beginning of the list.

Selecting Icons on the Ribbon

After you press the Alt key, you can press one of the keytip letters to bring up the appropriate tab. You now see that every icon on the ribbon has a keytip.

When you choose a ribbon tab, the keytips on the Quick Access toolbar disappear, so Microsoft is free to use the letters A through Z and the numbers 0 through 9.

On very busy Ribbon tabs, some commands require two keystrokes: for example, A+C for Align Center in the Alignments Group of the Home tab, as shown in Figure 5.3. Note that after you press Alt to display the accelerators in the ToolTips, you do not have to continue holding down the Alt key.

Figure 5.3

Figure 5.3 After pressing the letter to switch to the ribbon, type the letter or letters to invoke a particular command.

Some shortcut keys seem to make sense: AT for Align Top, AM for Align Middle, AB for Align Bottom, AL for Align Left, W for Wrap Text, and M for Merge. Other shortcut keys seem to be assigned at random. Some take a little pondering: FA for the dialog launcher in Figure 5.3 makes sense in that it opens the legacy Format dialog and moves to the Alignment tab. Others have a historical precedent. In Excel 2003, F was used for File so O was used for Format. Similarly, in the Home tab, O now opens the Format drop-down, although since Microsoft no longer underlines the accelerator key in the menu name, O will never make sense to someone new to Excel. There might be some arcane, logical reason why 5 and 6 are used for increase and decrease indent, but it is unknown by most people.

Selecting Options from a Gallery

Figure 5.4 shows the results of pressing Alt+H+T, which is the equivalent of selecting Home, Format Table. This opens the gallery of possible table styles. As you can see in Figure 5.4, you can invoke the New Table Style and New Pivot Style commands at the bottom of the gallery by pressing N and P, respectively. However, there are no letters on the table style choices in the gallery.

Figure 5.4

Figure 5.4 After opening a gallery, you use the arrow keys to navigate through the gallery and press Enter to select a style.

To select a table style using the keyboard, use the arrow keys to move through the gallery. Because this gallery is two-dimensional, you can use the up arrow, down arrow, right arrow, left arrow, Page Down, Page Up, Home, and End keys to navigate through the gallery. When you have the desired table style highlighted, press the Enter key to select it.

Navigating Within Drop-Down Lists

If you press Alt+H+F+S, which is the equivalent of selecting Home, Font Size, the font size in the drop-down is selected. You can either type a font size and press Enter or press the down-arrow key to open the drop-down list. You can then use the down arrow, up arrow, Page Down, Page Up, Home, and End keys to navigate to a choice in the list. When you have the desired item highlighted, press Enter to select that item.

Backing Up One Level Through a Menu

Suppose that you press Alt+H to access the Home tab and then realize you are in the wrong tab. You can press the Esc key to move back to display the ToolTips for the main menu choices.

If you want to clear the ToolTips completely, press Alt again.

Dealing with Keyboard Accelerator Confusion

If you want to select something on the Home tab in Figure 5.2, you may be frustrated because you can see the menu choices, but there are no ToolTips for most commands. For icons in the top of the ribbon, it appears that the main keytips apply to the menu items. For example, you may think that the H keytip applies to Cut. Even though you are already on the Home tab, you need to press the H key to force Excel to show the ToolTips for the individual menu items on the Home tab.

Selecting from Legacy Dialog Boxes

Some commands lead to legacy dialog boxes like the ones in previous editions of Excel. These dialog boxes do not display the Excel 2010 keytips. However, most of the dialog boxes do use the convention of having one letter of each command underlined, which is called a hotkey in Microsoft parlance. In this case, you can press the underlined letter to select the command.

For example, press Alt+H+V+S instead of selecting Home, Paste, Paste Special. You are then presented with the Paste Special dialog box, as shown in Figure 5.5. To select Values and Transpose in this dialog, press V for Values and E for Transpose, because those are the letters underlined in the dialog. You can then press Enter instead of clicking the default OK button.

Figure 5.5

Figure 5.5 In a legacy dialog box, type the underlined letters to select options.

To watch a video of Legacy Dialog boxes, search for Excel In Depth 5 at YouTube.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020