Excel Keyboard and Mouse Combos Part 3 (Accelerator Keys)

 In Excel Tips

Right click then use underlined keyboard acceleratorIn part 2 of this series we looked at how you can use the keyboard and mouse together to move, copy and insert the cells you selected. In this third article I am going to show you how to use the right mouse button together with keyboard accelerator keys to speed up your workflow.

Series: Excel Keyboard and Mouse Combos

Part 1 – Using the CTRL, SHIFT and ALT keys with the mouse
Part 2 – Dragging the selection border to move or copy or insert your selection
Part 3 – Right click then hit the underlined accelerator key

Right Click then hit the Underlined Accelerator Key

Here are the basic steps:

  1. Right click on a cell, row or column – this brings up the context menu
  2. Look for the command you want to activate
  3. Look for the letter that is underlined (this is the keyboard accelerator key)
  4. Press the underlined letter on your keyboard to activate that command

I like using this method because it gives a visual prompt of the shortcut, and it’s often an intuitive one. It applies to all Windows applications that use underlined shortcut accelerator keys.

Example 1: Insert New Row above Existing Row

Here is a step-by-step example to show you this in practice. Let’s say you want to insert a new row above an existing row. Here we want to insert a row between rows 14 and 15:

Right click to Insert row

  • Find the existing row that you want to insert a new row above
  • Right click the row number (row 15 in picture above)
  • Look for the “Insert” command – the ‘I’ of Insert is underlined
  • Press ‘I’ on your keyboard to activate the “Insert” command instead of clicking on the “Insert” command with your mouse

Now that you know how to insert a new row, you can experiment with selecting multiple rows and checking what happens when you right click and press ‘I’. Excel will insert as many rows as you have highlighted.

Example 2: Filter data on current value (Excel 2010)

Sometimes you have a data table with headers at the top, and you want to filter one column on the currently selected value. In this example I am filtering a list of city names to show all rows that say ‘London’.

Right click then filter on cell value

  • Right click on a cell containing ‘London’
  • Look for the “Filter” menu – the ‘E’ of Filter is underlined
  • Press ‘E’ on your keyboard to activate the “Filter” menu
  • Look for the “Filter on selected cell’s value” commend – the ‘V’ of Value is underlined
  • Press ‘V’ on your keyboard to activate the command “Filter on selected cell’s value”

Note: Keyboard shortcut for right-click
If you are a keyboard aficionado and want to stick to the keyboard, you can access these combos using the right-click button which is usually located between the right Alt and Ctrl keys. For keyboards that don’t have a right-click button you can use Shift + F10.

Summary

Remember this mouse and keyboard combo applies to all Windows applications that feature underlined accelerator keys, so it’s not just an Excel tip. In Excel you right click on a cell, row or column then press the underlined accelerator key to activate the command with the underlined key. In other applications you right click on some part of the document or application and look for the underlined accelerator keys. Simple and slick!

Well that’s the end of this series, I hope you found it useful. As ever, it’s important for you to try these mouse and keyboard combinations out in Excel. Focus on the 20% that you use most often and commit them to memory – this will help you to get faster in Excel.

Series: Excel Keyboard and Mouse Combos

Part 1 – Using the CTRL, SHIFT and ALT keys with the mouse
Part 2 – Dragging the selection border to move or copy or insert your selection
Part 3 – Right click then hit the underlined accelerator key

Victor Chan
Victor has been using Excel intensively since 2002. He is a Chartered Accountant (Fellow of the ICAEW) and has an MEng in Manufacturing Engineering from the University of Cambridge. He is on a mission to help you learn Excel and VBA with practical video tutorials and awesome online courses.
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