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Microsoft Office productivity tips: mastering keyboard shortcuts

By Vlad Catrinescu    |    January 11, 2021

As information workers, we spend most of our time creating or collaborating on content. Whether it is crafting beautiful slides in Microsoft PowerPoint, creating documentation in Microsoft Word, or presenting in a Microsoft Teams meeting, chances are that you spend a lot of time during working hours in Microsoft’s Office suite (or Microsoft 365 apps for enterprise for those of you who keep up with Microsoft’s recent rename).   The advantage of always working in the same suite of tools is that the user interface is the same, allowing you to find your way a lot easier in the User Interface as you switch from one application to another. If you are an advanced user (or want to become one) the other advantage is that you can use the same keyboard shortcuts in all Office applications to take your productivity to the next level!

Basic Office keyboard shortcuts

Let us start off with the basics, here are the top 15 keyboard shortcuts that you can use across all of the different applications in the Office Suite.

·        CTRL + C - copy selection

·        CTRL + V - paste selection

·        CTRL + X - cut selection

·        CTRL + Z - undo action

·        CTRL + Y - repeat action

·        CTRL + B - bold text

·        CTRL + I - italicize text

·        CTRL + U - underline text

·        CTRL + HOME - navigate to beginning of the document/sheet

·        CTRL + END - navigate to end of the document/sheet

·        CTRL + F - find text

·        CTRL + H - find and replace text

·        CTRL + K - add hyperlink to selection

·        CTRL + P - print document/sheet

·        CTRL + S - save document/sheet

Remembering all of those by heart in one single read is almost impossible, however most keyboard shortcuts have some logic into the letter that is used. for example, Ctrl + S(ave) or Ctrl+P(rint).  As you use them more and more, they will really become second nature and you will not remember a time where you had to use the user interface for those functions.


Using the ribbon with your keyboard

Now that we know the basic 15 keyboard shortcuts, is it possible to really create content from A to Z without ever touching the mouse?  The Office Ribbon is now over 10 years old and most information workers are comfortable using it with the mouse, but did you know you can use it with your two hands on the keyboard? Open any Word document, or simply create one with Lorem Ipsum and press the Alt key. What you will notice is a bunch of different options appearing over the ribbon

Microsoft Office Shortcuts - press Alt


Press one of the keys, for example H will open the Home Tab further and a whole new set of options will appear, allowing you to select the exact option you want, without ever having to touch the mouse! 

Microsoft Office keyboard shortcuts continued


Another useful tip is how to select the text you want to apply styles or modifications to.  Using CTRL + End, navigate to the end of your document.  You can then hold the Shift key and press the left arrow.  You will notice text being selected, allowing you to then use all the awesome keyboard shortcuts we have learned previously to modify it as you wish. 

Microsoft Office shortcut to select text


Don’t forget that while we used Microsoft Word for those examples, you can use those exact skills in other Office Applications! 

Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Excel


Bonus: top 5 Microsoft Teams keyboard shortcuts

If you’re using Office to create content, chances are that your company is now also using Microsoft Teams for their collaboration and communication needs.   With over 200 million monthly active users and remote meetings part of our every day lives, chances are that Microsoft Teams is the tool you use the most nowadays from the Office suite.  

·        Ctrl + shift + M – Mute/unmute yourself during a meeting

·        Ctrl + shift + O – Turn on/off your camera during a meeting

·        Ctrl + N - Start a new chat 

·        Ctrl + O – Attach a file

·        Ctrl + E – Quick access to the search bar at the top of Teams.

Do You want to see all the Microsoft Teams shortcuts (30+)? While in the Teams client, simply use Ctrl + . and a popup will appear in which you can see all of the shortcuts and then remember your favourite ones. 

Microsoft Teams keyboard shortcuts



Microsoft Office is probably the most popular content creation tool in the enterprise, and with Microsoft Teams now being included, it’s also used for daily communication with your colleagues.  While you already get a productivity boost by using one suite for all of your needs and a very similar user interface, you can take your productivity to the next level by using the keyboard shortcuts in this blog post to keep your two hands on the keyboard and focus on a single thing at once.  If you are a beginner, remembering all of those shortcuts after one read of the blog might seem a bit difficult, but practice is what will make those shortcuts become second nature for you and by the time you realize it, you will Ctrl + like it’s second nature! 

About the author

Vlad Catrinescu is a SharePoint and Office 365 Consultant specializing in SharePoint and SharePoint Online deployments as well as hybrid scenarios. As a Pluralsight Author, Microsoft Certified Trainer, and recognized international speaker, Vlad has helped thousands of users and IT Pros across the globe to better understand and to get the most out of SharePoint. Vlad is also a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) in SharePoint since 2013 and has his own blog at and he often shares his knowledge by speaking at local conferences and community events. Vlad also blogs at CMSWire as well as Computerworld and is often featured in other Microsoft sites such as Redmond Channel Partner. In Addition, Vlad is the recipient of the "Top 25 Office 365 Influencers" award, showcasing him as one of the most influential Office 365 specialists in 2015 demonstrating his expertise and passion for Microsoft's shift towards the cloud in the past years.