First, because the Ribbon takes up quite a lot of space, you may want to collapse it when you don’t need it. On Windows, use Control + F1. On a Mac, use Command Alt R. Each time you use the shortcut, you’ll toggle the ribbon. The main attraction of the ribbon, from a shortcuts point of view, is accelerator keys.  Accelerator keys let you run most commands in Excel from the keyboard, which is especially handy for commands that don’t have a dedicated shortcut. Unfortunately, this is a Windows-only feature, so it’s not available on a Mac. To enable accelerators, press the Alt key. This will select the active tab on the Ribbon and display accelerators for navigation. Press the Alt key again to disable accelerators, and set focus to the worksheet. You can use accelerators to navigate tabs, and then run a command, all in one step. For example, to sort this list in ascending order, I can press Alt, then A for Data, then SA. To sort in descending order, I use Alt + A + SD. You can use the Esc key to move back up to the top level. For example, Alt + H goes to the home tab. Then, if I press Escape, I’ll move the top level letters again and can press A to go back to the Data tab. Note that once you have a tab selected, you can also use the arrow keys to navigate. As another example, I’ll use accelerators to apply Right, Left, and Center alignment. These commands don’t have dedicated shortcuts in the Windows version of Excel Once you have a tab on the ribbon selected, you can use tab key to select the first command. Then move through commands using tab and shift tab. With the Control key down + you can use the right an left arrow to move through groups. Once you have a command selected, you can use the space key to open menus and make selections. Remember that although accelerators are very handy, it’ll be faster to use dedicated shortcuts where they exist. For example, even though I can apply bold formatting using accelerator keys and the ribbon, the shortcut Control + B on Windows, or Command + B on a Mac, is faster.

Dave Bruns

Hi - I’m Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.