Alt + Q – the Cheat Code for Microsoft Applications

Hands on a keyboard below the title "Alt + Q Shortcut"

by Joe Lonergan

The Alt + Q keystroke is otherwise known as the “Search” or “Tell me what you want to do” feature.

This feature is designed to help you find specific commands or actions within a Microsoft application quickly. Instead of navigating through menus, you can simply type what you’re looking for, and relevant options will be suggested to you, for example for users of Microsoft Word, if you have an important list of items, you may want to add bullets to them, but at this time you do not remember the keystroke for adding bullets or you might have never done it before, simply press Alt + Q.

Now type in the word bullets, and then the down arrow. Best action will pop up in the list = Bullets. Now press enter and bullets will be added to your text.

In some cases, suggested keystrokes will appear in the menu for the action you request.

Alt + Q in Excel

Alt + Q is especially useful in Excel as it works as a tell-me-what-to-do feature, which is particularly useful if you are not a regular user of Excel.

If you are looking for a formula such as the “IF” function, press Alt + Q. The search box will pop up, type in “if”. Now best action will pop up = If.

Now press enter. You will land in the If function and you will be prompted to enter the arguments you would like to appear in the function.

In summary, whether you’re looking for mathematical functions, text functions, or any other type, typing keywords related to the function you need will prompt the “Tell me what you want to do” box to suggest relevant Excel functions.

Other suggestions to try in Excel include changing column width or row height. Again, press Alt + Q, type in Width or Height and Best actions will be suggested to you.

Change column width or change column Height. Enter the one you want, and you will be brought straight into the menu.

By now you should be getting the idea. This keystroke is especially good if you are lost and can not think of a keystroke for an action situated deep in the ribbon.

Alt+ Q enhances productivity in Microsoft Applications by streamlining the process of finding and executing commands. It improves efficiency for beginners and experienced users and, in my opinion, it is probably one of the handiest features built into Microsoft applications.

So, if you are using Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or Outlook next time you get stuck give it a try and see if it helps you complete the task at hand.

If you use Keyboard shortcuts, we would love to hear your tips. Let us know if you have tried using Alt + Q by sending a voice note to the Talking Technology Podcast WhatsApp number 086 199 0011.

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