Use the keyboard to work with the ribbon

Do tasks quickly without using the mouse by pressing a few keys—no matter where you are in a Microsoft Office app. You can get to every command on the ribbon by using an access key—usually by pressing two to four keys.

Note: If the selected command is a split button (that is, a button that opens a menu of additional options), press Alt+Down arrow key to activate it. Then use the Tab key to move through the options. To select the current option, press Spacebar or Enter.

In this topic

Use KeyTips to access the ribbon

  1. Press the Alt key.

    You see the little boxes called KeyTips over each command available in the current view.

    KeyTips shown over each option in the ribbon in Word

    Tip: For a list of the keyboard shortcuts that represent the KeyTips, see Keyboard shortcuts for KeyTips.

  2. Press the letter shown in the KeyTip over the command you want to use.

    Depending on which letter you pressed, you might see additional KeyTips. For example, if the Home tab is active and you pressed N, the Insert tab is displayed, along with the KeyTips for the groups in that tab.

  3. Continue pressing letters until you press the letter of the specific command you want to use.

    Tip: To cancel the action you’re taking and hide the KeyTips, press the Alt key.

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Keyboard shortcuts for KeyTips

The keyboard shortcuts in the following table can be used to activate the KeyTips described in Use KeyTips to access the ribbon.

To do this


Open the File page.


Open the Home tab.


Open the Insert tab.


Open the Design tab.


Open the Transitions tab in PowerPoint.


Open the Animations tab in PowerPoint.


Open the Slide Show tab in PowerPoint.


Open the Review tab.


Open the View tab.


Open the Search box.

Depending on the version of Office you are using, the Search text field at the top of the app window might be called Tell Me instead. Both offer a largely similar experience, but some options and search results can vary.

Alt+Q, and then enter the search term

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Change the keyboard focus without using the mouse

Another way to use the keyboard to work with the ribbon is to move the focus among the tabs and commands until you find the feature you want to use. The following table shows some ways to move the keyboard focus without using the mouse.

To do this


Select the active tab and show the access keys.

Alt or F10. Press either of these keys again to move back to the Office file and cancel the access keys.

Move to another tab.

Alt or F10 to select the active tab, and then the Left or Right arrow key.

Move to another group on the active tab.

Alt or F10 to select the active tab, and then Ctrl+Right or Left arrow key to move between groups.

Minimize (collapse) or restore the ribbon.


Display the shortcut menu for the selected item.


Move the focus to select the active tab, your Office file, task pane, or status bar.


Move the focus to each command in the ribbon, forward or backward.

Alt or F10, and then the Tab key or Shift+Tab

Move down, up, left, or right among the items in the ribbon.

Down, Up, Left, or Right arrow key

Go to the selected command or control in the ribbon.

Spacebar or Enter

Open the selected menu or gallery in the ribbon.

Spacebar or Enter

Go to a command or option in the ribbon so you can change it.


Finish changing the value of a command or option in the ribbon, and move focus back to the Office file.


Get help on the selected command or control in the ribbon. (If no Help article is associated with the selected command, the Help table of contents for that app is shown instead.)


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See also

Use a keyboard to customize the Quick Access Toolbar

Keyboard shortcuts in Office

Microsoft Office Help & Training

Technical support for customers with disabilities

Microsoft wants to provide the best possible experience for all our customers. If you have a disability or questions related to accessibility, please contact the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk for technical assistance. The Disability Answer Desk support team is trained in using many popular assistive technologies and can offer assistance in English, Spanish, French, and American Sign Language. Please go to the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk site to find out the contact details for your region.

If you are a government, commercial, or enterprise user, please contact the enterprise Disability Answer Desk.

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