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Office Repeat Key

Monday, March 8th, 2010 by | Filed Under: MS Office Help
 
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Here’s a great keyboard shortcut for repetitive tasks!

I tested it and found that it works great in MS Word and Excel. I also tried it in PowerPoint with very limited success and had no luck in MS Outlook or Outlook Express.

At any rate, in Word and Excel, this one can be a huge time saver.

The trick is all in one key: the F4 key.

The F4 key is set to repeat the last action.

Literally, if you simply hit the F4 key, the program will repeat the last action you completed. That’s it. Really. it’s that simple!

Ideas for MS Excel:

Let’s say, for example, you’ve just inserted a row or column in Excel using the Insert menu. If you then hit F4, you’ll get a second row or column inserted, without all the menu work.

Or, with that same example (inserting a row or column), you could move to another part of the worksheet, hit F4 and have a new row or column inserted in the new location.

Repeatedly hitting the F4 key will continue to repeat the last action, allowing you to insert multiple rows or columns quickly and efficiently.

I found I could get this little trick to work with almost any action I used: bolding, underlining, cell format type, justification, etc.

Ideas for MS Word:

In Word, I found this one to work extremely well. I was able to get the F4 key to repeat text formatting, line spacing, text color changes, indenting, font changes and more.

I even found that I could get the repetition of a “just typed” phrase or sentence in Word. It’s much quicker than the old copy and paste routine I often find myself using when I have repetitive statements to make. (Actually, I could use it a lot when writing this newsletter. I often find myself creating lists of shortcuts that are so similar, I just copy and paste and then just change the relevant information to make my next point. This will really speed up the process).

Bonus Idea:

I also tried this one with the drawing tools and found that it was an excellent way to repeat things, without needing the buttons and menus constantly. I found that the F4 key would duplicate a newly drawn shape, repeat a fill color change in a newly selected shape, change line size and color and so on. Whatever you need, it can do!

The key thing to remember is that it repeats the last action you did. So, if you last drew a circle, it will immediately draw a duplicate circle. If you just changed the format of a cell to be percentages, it will change the format of the next cell(s) you select to percentages. Get the idea?

Yeah, I knew you would!

Give this one a try. It’s a really great trick with tremendous potential!

~April

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