Increase efficiency by using or CREATING keyboard shortcuts

This is a digression from the Copy Paste series – but it is an extension of the previous post about the Paste Special shortcut (CTRL ALT V).

Problem: We don’t actively try to be more efficient

Here is an example. Try this exercise for two hours when you are working on your PC next time. Start observing which buttons you click on most often. I am sure you already know some of these. But start observing it consciously. I am sure you will find many such buttons across Office tools.

Everyone knows that using a keyboard shortcut is faster and healthier than taking your hand all the way to the mouse and moving and clicking the buttons.

Anyway, now that you have noticed the commonly clicked buttons, the next thought is… can I prevent these mouse clicks by using a keyboard shortcut?

The next question is … does the button have a keyboard shortcut? How do you find the answer to this question?

NO NO. NOT by going to Help and searching for the
Keyboard Shortcuts topic!

The answer is much simpler.

Next time you are about to click on a familiar button –


Wait for ONE SECOND – hover the mouse there.
A tooltip will appear and display the shortcut – if available.


How often have you used format painter? Did you know these shortcuts?

Now that you know about CTRL ALT V and the ergonomics behind it, it is no surprise that this one uses SHIFT key along with CTRL!

Homework: Notice shortcuts and use them

Try this for the next few days and see how convenient this method is. If you find it useful, do post some feedback. That way, I will also gather some live proof of the effectiveness of my simple method of improving efficiency.

What if there is no keyboard shortcut available?

Do you give up? Absolutely not. Right click on the button and choose Add to Quick Access Toolbar.


Now it will be added next to the Save, Undo and Redo buttons.


So what did we achieve? As of now, that button is available to you ALL THE TIME. You don’t have to worry about thinking which menu (Tab) it belongs to. Fine – but you still have to click that button using the mouse. Where is the keyboard shortcut?

Well – here is what you do next. Press and release the ALT button


Notice what happens now. All these buttons and the menu tabs show some shortcut keys.



From now onwards


means Format Painter

Homework: Create your custom toolbar

Which buttons should you add to Quick Access Toolbar?

Those which you click on often and those which do NOT have a built-in keyboard shortcut.

Over next few days create your custom toolbar.

Post your feedback to let me know if you find it useful.

Also notice that there is a small drop down next to the last button on QAT. Open it and see .. it has something you always wanted!

Warning: You will soon run into various problems

Although this method is very good for creating a custom toolbar and a set of custom keyboard shortcuts, you will have issues soon.

I will cover those in the next article.