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Excel 2007 Cheat Sheet

By Preston Gralla and Richard Ericson
August 2, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Six tips for working with Excel 2007

If you're a longtime Excel user, you no doubt have accumulated a set of shortcuts and customizations. Many of those have gone away under Excel 2007. But fear not, because there are plenty of ways for you to bend Excel 2007 to your will. Here are some tips to get you started.

1. Turn off the Ribbon.
hiding the Ribbon
It's easy to make the Ribbon disappear and reappear.
Click to view larger image.

Here's what may be the best tip you'll ever come across for Excel 2007 -- how to turn off the Ribbon. Doing this will get you back plenty of screen real estate, as you can see in the screenshot.

The Ribbon will still be available when you want it -- all you need to do is click on the appropriate menu (Home, Insert, Page Layout and so on) and it appears. It then discreetly goes away when you are no longer using it.

There are several ways to turn off the Ribbon:

  • Click the Down arrow to the right of the Quick Access toolbar button and select Minimize the Ribbon.
  • Press Ctrl-F1. (Press Ctrl-F1 to make it appear again.)
  • Double-click the current tab above the Ribbon.

2. Get your old Excel 2003 toolbars back.

Say you've given the Ribbon a fair shake and you just can't stand it. Although Microsoft doesn't provide a way to get the old Excel 2003 interface back, a couple of third-party tools, Classic Menu and ToolbarToggle, do. See Hands on: Show Office 2007 who's the boss for details.

3. Customize the Ribbon.

Maybe you mostly like the Ribbon, but some of the commands aren't located where you'd like them to be. Another third-party program called RibbonCustomizer Pro lets you create new Ribbon tabs or customize existing ones the way you like them.

It's a powerful way to take advantage of the Ribbon's interface while asserting control over what commands appear where. Again, see Hands on: Show Office 2007 who's the boss for more information.

4. Use keyboard shortcuts.

If you're a fan of Excel 2003's keyboard shortcuts, take heart -- most of them still work in 2007. So keep using them.

You can also use a clever set of keyboard shortcuts for working with the Ribbon. Press the Alt key and a tiny letter or number icon appears on the menu for each tab -- for example, the letter H for the Home tab.

hiding the Ribbon
Using the Alt key helps you master the Ribbon.

Now press that letter on your keyboard, and you'll display that tab or menu item. When the tab appears, there will be letters and numbers for most options on the tab as well.

Excel 2007 Alt key combinations
Key combination
Function
Alt-F Office button
Alt-H Home tab
Alt-N Insert tab
Alt-P Page Layout tab
Alt-M Formulas tab
Alt-A Data tab
Alt-R Review tab
Alt-W View tab
Alt-L Developer tab

Once you've started to learn these shortcuts, you'll naturally begin using key combinations. So instead of pressing Alt then H to display the home tab, you can press Alt-H together.

The table to the right shows the most useful Alt key combinations in Excel 2007.




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