Although we might use keyboard shortcuts here and there, most of us rely on our mouse to navigate Word’s ribbon and select the tools we need. Something many Word users don’t know is that every command on the ribbon has a corresponding keyboard shortcut.
There is some nuance to using keyboard shortcuts for the ribbon, so let’s discuss that first! To move up to the ribbon, first press the Alt or F10 key. You’ll notice that letters – called KeyTips – appear above every tab on the ribbon, as well as the Quick Access Toolbar buttons. To go directly to a tab, press the corresponding KeyTip letter on your keyboard after pressing Alt.
If the ribbon is already open at the tab you need, press ALT and then the down arrow (note: not at the same time) to go into that tab. Say the Home tab is open – if you press Alt + Down Arrow, the cursor lands on the Paste button in the Clipboard section. From there, you can move between commands with the Tab key or the arrow keys. There’s even a shortcut for jumping from section to section, CTRL + Right/Left Arrow.
So once you’ve landed on the tool you need, how do you select it? That depends on the type of command. If it’s a button, like the Paste command we mention earlier, select it by pressing the spacebar. If it’s a “split button” – or a button that opens a context menu – press ALT + Down Arrow to select it. Navigate through options using the Tab key, and select one by pressing either the spacebar or Enter key.
Another tricky one is the Font list on the Home tab. Press the Down Arrow key to open the Font list, and navigate through options using the Up and Down Arrow keys.
To select galleries, such as Styles or Themes, both the spacebar and the Enter key work. Like context menus, navigate through gallery options using the Tab key.
Now we’ve got that out of the way, here’s a simple table showing keyboard shortcuts for each tab on Word’s ribbon:
Check back next week, when we’ll discuss how keyboard shortcuts can speed up document formatting!