Excel Quick Access Toolbar – Keyboard Shortcuts

The Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) in Excel 2007 is extremely useful for creating keyboard shortcuts for items that don't have a defined keyboard shortcut.  For example, there is no defined keyboard shortcut to Paste Values but you can easily set it up on the QAT.

The QAT is accessed through the keyboard by pressing the Alt key.  Press and release the Alt key and you will see numbers appear next to each icon on the QAT.

Alt Number Key for Keyboard Shortcuts for the Quick Access Toolbar


So Alt + [the icon number] is the keyboard shortcut for each item.  In this example, the keyboard shortcut for paste values is Alt+1.  The keyboard shortcut for the format painter is Alt+2.

There are two ways to use the keyboard shortcut.

  • Press and release Alt to view the shortcut numbers next to each icon.  Then press the number of the QAT item you want to use.
  • Better Option: Press and hold Alt then press the number of the QAT item.  This is much faster once you have your QAT shortcut numbers memorized.  You will notice that the numbers don't appear when you press and hold Alt, so you have to memorize them.

I tend to move the icons around based on the task I'm working on in Excel.  If I'm going to be using the format painter a lot, I will move it to the “1” position (farthest left) while I'm using it.  This is mainly because it is easier to Press Alt+1, Alt+2, and Alt+3 on the keyboard by placing your right thumb on Alt and right index finger on the number.  The other numbers can be a bit of a stretch, depending on your keyboard.

See my post on how to setup the QAT for more details.

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Jon Acampora

Welcome to Excel Campus! I am excited you are here. My name is Jon and my goal is to help you learn Excel to save time with your job and advance in your career. I've been an avid Excel user and VBA developer for 10+ years. I am also a Microsoft MVP. I try to learn something new everyday, and want to share this knowledge with you to help you improve your skills. When I'm not looking at spreadsheets, I get outdoors and surf. :) more about me

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 10 comments
Hair Transplant in Hyderabad - June 28, 2017

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Steve - May 25, 2017

hi, is there a recently used action toolbar? I know F4 does the last again, but what about the last few to be readily available. I’m not referring to recently used formulas…


eve - March 13, 2015

Thank you!!
Just wanted to say for the other French keyboard users here that we need to also press maj : ALT + MAJ + [the icon number]
and to not use the pad numbers but the one one the top of the others keys, otherwise you get those : ☺☻♥♦♣♠

    Jon Acampora - March 15, 2015

    Hi Eve,
    Thanks for the comment! Although those are some fun icons, I can see how that would be confusing… 🙂

SHL - August 28, 2013

Hi Jon,
Thanks for your post. What if I want to add more than ten shortcuts to my QAT?
I’ve tried using the e.g. Alt+ 02, Alt+ 03 shortcuts showing up for them but they don’t work as for the first ten.
Any hints? Or are we confined to using only ten shortcuts?

    Jon Acampora - August 28, 2013

    Hi SHL,
    Yes, you can use more than ten keyboard shortcuts with the QAT. When the shortcut is more than one character long (02, 03, etc.), you must press and RELEASE the zero 0 Key (zero), then press the 2 key.

    It will NOT work if you hold down the 0 key while pressing the 2 key. You do NOT have to hold down the Alt key the entire time either. You can press and release each key in the shortcut combination.

    For Alt+02, you would press and release Alt, then press and release 0, then press and release 2.

    This is a great question. Please let me know if this helps.


      SHL - August 28, 2013

      Very helpful indeed! Thanks so much for your quick reply!
      Have a great day

PHDB - August 20, 2012

Thanks for your post – very useful.
I use the Fill Color a lot, in particular for using the most recently used color. I am looking to find the keyboard shortcut for the most recently used color… Any idea?

    Jon Acampora - August 21, 2012

    Hi PH,

    Good question. I’m doing some research but not sure that any direct keyboard shortcuts are available. Are you open to using a macro with a keyboard shortcut?

    One possible solution is to use the F4 key. The F4 key duplicates your previous action to the currently selected cell or range. The previous action could be anything from deleting a row to shading a cell.

    This might work for you, but I’m assuming you are doing other actions in your spreadsheet between needing a color fill from your Active Fill Color on the palette. Using F4 would only work if your last action was filling a cell with the active color.

    Also give me an example of your workflow where you need the shortcut. Are you entering some data or formulas, and then needing to shade cells with the active fill color?

    Let me know if this makes sense, and I will keep looking for a solution. I’ve found other forums where people are asking the same question, but no good results for Excel 2007+. But I don’t give up easy… 🙂

      Steve - June 13, 2018

      Slightly off the QAT topic, but I tend to use three regular fill colours in my spreadsheets, so created a simple macro for each colour, assigning each colour it’s own shortcut code. i.e. Ctrl + Y, for yellow, Ctrl + G for green.

      I do have the colour fill option in my QAT, so to clear the colours from cells with colour fill, I can you use Alt (to active QAT), then 0 K N (0 & K) being the shortcut to access the colour fill, and N for “no colour).

      Hope that helps and makes sense.



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