Zombie Excel Shortcuts? What the #*!!? Where?
Are you aware of the zombies lurking in Excel’s darkest recesses? I’m talking about things that were buried long ago, yet remain alive.
Don’t worry, they’re friendly. I’m talking about legacy Alt shortcuts (such as Alt-E-D for Delete). You see, after Excel 2003, Microsoft got rid of the menu bar and replaced it with the Ribbon. See below for the change:
After Excel 2003, with the Ribbon, if you hit the Alt key, you see a bunch of “key tips” appear, which guide you through keystroke sequences that allow you to execute Ribbon and Quick Access Toolbar tasks without using the mouse (by using the keyboard instead of the mouse). These keys are variously called “keyboard accelerators,” “access keys” and “hot keys.”
One great example is Alt-A-T to bring up the Filter. Alt brings up the key tips, then A brings up the Data tab, and then T selects Filter. I have a more in depth piece on Excel Alt Shortcuts here.
Unknown to many people is the fact that you can still access much of Excel’s legacy menu options using the same technique. However, when doing so, you will not have the benefit of any key tips. Instead, you get a faint and lifeless message from beyond the grave. A zombie callout, if you will. A bland message from Excel telling you, basically, that you’re on the right path and it understands what you’re doing – but it won’t give you any hints on how to proceed. It’s like a hidden passageway into a secret crypt. Like skeletons in Excel’s closet.
Tell Me More About These Beautiful Undead Excel Shortcuts
So, unlike with today’s Alt sequences, you actually do have to memorize the legacy sequences. These zombies are friendly, but since they’ve been buried for a while, they’re not quite as vigorous as their successors. Below is how you would start the Alt sequence for each of the legacy menu bar options:
|Legacy Menus||Legacy Alt Sequence Starter|
The only “menu option” that I really like to use is the Edit menu — for two reasons. First, it can be activated with the left hand. And second, the Edit menu has much of what today’s Home menu has. And the Home menu has lots of important items. But the Home menu requires pressing H, which is a right-handed key, so I prefer to avoid it. Thus my affinity for the Edit menu. Here are my favorites from the Edit menu (all left-handed):
|Edit Tab Tasks||Alt Sequence|
|Paste Special Pop-Up Menu||Alt-E-S|
For a more in-depth treatment of these legacy Alt shortcuts, read this great article by Bill Jelen (aka Mr. Excel): http://www.quepublishing.com/articles/article.aspx?p=1613798&seqNum=3
Thanks for reading, and as always, I welcome your thoughts.