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Excel has been around, believe it or not, since 1987, and in the first version of Excel, in that timeframe, it was not always so clear that people would be using a mouse when using Office software. So every Excel feature was designed so that it could be accessible by way of the mouse or the keyboard. And that legacy is still with Excel. We can use the menu system from the keyboard. Well, that doesn't sound too exciting, and it doesn't exactly sound intuitive, but here's what might happen by accident one day.
You might hold down the Alt key just for more than a half second or so. What happens when we hold down Alt? We see the letters that appear in the menu. Now, at first it seems like, okay, F for File, H for Home, then N for Insert, P for Page Layout, M for Formulas and so on. We see them up there. It seems like first letters of sort of the rule but not quite. Why are they there and what does that mean? Well, we could get into the Data menu for example, by pressing A. We could get into the Formulas tab by pressing M. I'm going to press A right now and now we see letters on the Data tab associated with each little group there, and in some cases we'll press letters and see another subordinate set of letters.
So the question is, why are they here and how might we use them? I'm looking for the moment at the SA there. Presume that would mean Sort Ascending. I see it next to that button. Suppose I work with database data a lot. To get to the Data tab, I mean I'm probably going to be using the mouse. I'm not so subtle in this feature maybe. I'll probably use the Data tab, and I'll use the AZ button. But what if I have written down or I remember if I could press Alt+A and then SA, that's pretty fast perhaps, and I'm looking at my list of data here. I want to sort it by Employee Name, so I'm going to click over in column A and press Alt+A and then SA, and now I've sorted all the data that way, and I think I could be making a case here for saying hey, this is pretty cool.
This is pretty fast. I guess the question might be how many of these kinds of shortcuts do you want to figure out and then write down and hope to remember. And here and there I think you'll find some good ones. I don't think this is a shortcut that everybody needs, but here and there it does remind us that the keystroke approach to solving some command sequences is sometimes faster than the mouse. So give it a shot, and I just think you can see by the example here it has some merit.
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