Tip of the week # 625
12 October 2020

Quickly jump to what you want to do (Microsoft Office 2016) *

Have you noticed that Microsoft introduced a new Tell me what you want to do box?

If - like me - you have been ignoring it up to now, you might want to fall in love with it. (Thanks for the nudge, Jo!) No, it isn't like the old Microsoft Help where you had to know what it was you were after ... in Office 2016 you can type the sort of thing you would normally "Google". And there is obviously a rather intuitive keyboard shortcut to ask your question.

Here's how:

  1. Press ALT + Q.
  2. Type the option you're looking for. (You don't even have to know what the feature is called.)
  3. Press ENTER or click on Best Action to open the functionality.

For example, in Excel you can simply type dropdown list or dropdown. There is no need for you to know it's called data validation. Or type case or upper in Word to open the Change Case functionality.

Sometimes, what you're after is listed underneath Best Action so might want to keep an eye on the list of options. For example, type recall in Outlook to find information about how to recall an email message. Or type animation in PowerPoint and click on Add Animation under Actions to quickly select your preferred animation. (To prevent Death by PowerPoint I'd recommend keeping it simple and using Appear.)

If it doesn't come up with a Best Action or you would simply like to read up a bit more about the functionality, click on Get Help on or use your arrows and press ENTER. Even in the explanatory text you will get Take me there or Show me buttons. ALT + Q can even be used to find recent files, but (spoiler alert) let me write a separate tip about that.

I obviously hope you still feel that - given so much free help - yours truly has value to add ... After all, you don't know what you don't know!

* Unless stated otherwise, these tips were written for Microsoft Office 2010.