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While the Ribbon makes it easy to access most of PowerPoint's commands, many people would rather perform them without constantly taking the time to reach for the mouse. Here's how to access common techniques using your keyboard. First, let's talk about how to do a keyboard shortcut. Ctrl is the most common modifier key. Hold down the modifiers then tap lightly on the letter. Don't push too hard or hold too long, or you'll perform the command several times. Sometimes you'll add in or use additional keys like Shift or Alt. Shift will frequently do the opposite, for example, if I go down to Slide 5 and click in my table, when I press my Tab key I'll go from cell to cell, but if I hold down my Shift key with my thumb and then press Tab, I'll go backwards.
Many of the basic functions are standardized across Microsoft Office. So many of these commands will work in Word and Excel as well. Ctrl+S and Ctrl+Z are great to get into your muscle memory to save your file or to undo a mistake. Ctrl+X, Ctrl+C, and Ctrl+V cut, copy and paste your content. Ctrl+A is one of my most used. If you're inside a placeholder, pressing Ctrl+A will select all the text; if you've clicked on a placeholder, Ctrl+A will select all the placeholders on the slide. Ctrl+B, Ctrl+I, and Ctrl+U will format your text in bold, italic, and underline. Ctrl+Left Bracket and Right Bracket will decrease and increase your font size.
To quickly erase content I love Ctrl+Delete to delete an entire word in front of the cursor or Ctrl+Backspace to delete an entire word behind the cursor. Now Ctrl+Enter does something interesting in PowerPoint. So I'll go to the Slide 2 and click in my title, pressing Ctrl+Enter scrolls me through the placeholders on my slide. When I get to the last placeholder and press Ctrl+Enter again, it creates a new slide in the same layout as my previous slide. When I'm creating a slide show from scratch, using Ctrl+Enter to move through my slide placeholders allows me to quickly enter my content and add the next slide on-the-fly.
There are also hundreds more shortcuts than the ones I've covered here. To find out more keyboard shortcuts, you can either use PowerPoint's Help or go to Microsoft's website. At microsoft.com the keyboard shortcuts are categorized by topic, when you click on the Plus (+) signs, it will expand out to show you all of the commands under that category. At the top of the page you can click on Show All and it will show you all of the keyboard commands, all at once. I keep this page bookmarked in my browser so I can look up keyboard commands anytime.
Function keys, also known as F keys, are the row of keys at the top of your keyboard. PowerPoint assigns them practical tasks and more are available by using the Ctrl, Shift and Alt modifier keys. Here are just a few of my favorite useful F keys: F1 opens the help; F4 will repeat your last action over and over again; F7 opens up the spelling and grammar checker; Shift+F9 and Alt+F9, like we saw in a previous video, will toggle on and off the grid & guidelines; F12 does a Save As; and Shift+F3 will change the capitalization of your text.
There are also a separate set of keyboard commands for when you're giving a presentation that are only available in Slide Show mode. There are several different keys you can press to move through your slide show. If you press a number and Enter, you can jump to a specific slide number, press B or W to instantly call up a black or white screen. Ctrl+P will change your pointer to a pen, so you can actually write on your slides, and Ctrl+A will change the pointer to an arrow. By learning common keyboard shortcuts, you can get a lot of work done faster than you can by using your mouse.
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