Clever Clogs tip # 675
7 October 2021

Ten useful keyboard shortcuts you can do with your spacebar *

Earlier this week I rediscovered a keyboard shortcut using the spacebar that I had totally forgotten ... CTRL + spacebar to select a column in an Excel table, no matter where your cursor is in that column. OK, it was a long time ago that I wrote about it (coming up to four years, to be precise) but it goes to show that if you don't use it you'll lose it.

Over the years I've found out lots of things you can do with your spacebar other than obviously entering a space between words during typing.

So here are a few of my favourite things. (Apologies to anyone who finds themselves humming this Sound of Music song for the rest of the day!)

  1. Excel: CTRL + SPACEBAR: Select the data in a column of a table - tip_525.php
  2. Excel: SHIFT + SPACEBAR: Select the data in a row of a table
  3. Word and Outlook: * + SPACEBAR: Start a bulleted list - tip_506.php
  4. Word and Outlook: Number + dot + SPACEBAR: Start a numbered list - tip_506.php
  5. Word and Outlook: CTRL + SPACEBAR: Remove character formatting such as fonts, italics/bold, font size. (Paragraph formatting such as indents and line spacing is kept.) - tip_622.php
  6. Word and Outlook: CTRL + SHIFT + SPACEBAR: Insert non-breaking space (I know - very obscure, but I once got a question about it.) - tip_567.php
  7. PDF, Firefox, Chrome: SPACEBAR: Scroll down the page - tip_409.php
  8. PDF, Firefox, Chrome: SHIFT + SPACEBAR: Scroll up - tip_409.php
  9. Windows: SPACEBAR: Select or clear the check box if the active option is a check box - tip_242.php
  10. Windows: ALT + SPACEBAR: Open the shortcut menu for the active window

Do you use any of these? Or after today, do you think you'll use any of them?

By the way, back in March 2013 I decided to drip-feed one shortcut per week on my home page. All 207 (!) can be found in the ever-growing free PDF with a link to one of my more detailed tips that I've been cranking out since 2003. And no, there's obviously nothing wrong with using the mouse, but many people find that keyboard shortcuts help them to work faster. And for users with mobility or vision disabilities it can be a very important alternative.

* Unless stated otherwise this tip is written for Microsoft 365 desktop apps and Windows 10 users, but might also be useful in Office 2010, 2013 and 2016.