This post will explain keyboard shortcuts to access the Error Checking, Paste Options, and Quick Analysis menus using the Menu Key on the keyboard. You will learn keyboard shortcuts for converting text to numbers, ignoring errors, pasting values, and more..
Do you ever use the Menu Key? It is typically located on the right side of the keyboard between the Alt and Ctrl keys. It's also referred to as the Context Key, Application Key, or Right-click Key.
The Menu Key can be used in combination with the Alt key for some useful keyboard shortcuts in Excel. If your keyboard does NOT have a Menu Key, Shift+F10 will work as an alternative.
I have an article on the best keyboards for Excel that lists keyboards and laptops that still have a dedicated menu key.
Cell Pop-up Warnings in Excel
There are three different warning/option boxes that will pop-up next to a selected cell.
- Error Box – This box is displayed when a possible error is detected in a cell by Excel. You will see a small green triangle in the top left corner of the cell.
- Paste Options – This box appears after cell(s) have been pasted in the worksheet, and displays various paste special options (paste values, formatting, formulas, etc.).
- Quick Analysis Box – This feature is new in Excel 2013 and allows you to quickly apply some analysis on the selected range of cells (conditional formatting, charts, totals, etc.).
Menu Key Shortcuts
All of these pop-up menus can be accessed with the keyboard shortcut:
Alt+Menu Key (Alt+Shift+F10 if your keyboard does not have a Menu Key.)
When any of the pop-up warning boxes appear, you can press the Alt+Menu Key to open the pop-up window and view the options.
Menu Key + Letter
The menu options on the error box can be selected by pressing the underlined letter in the option name. For example, when a number is stored as text the error box will appear next to the selected cell. In the error box menu the keyboard shortcut to Convert to Numbers cut is the letter “C”. The full keyboard shortcut for Convert to Numbers is
The keyboard shortcut to Ignore Errors is Alt+Menu Key+I. That is a quick way to remove the in-cell error warnings (small green triangles at top-left corner) in the selected range of cells.
The Paste Options menu will appear to the right of a range after a paste is performed.
If you are using Excel 2007 then you can access the Paste Options menu using the Alt+Menu Key shortcut. The options can be selected by pressing the underlined letter in the option name.
Starting in Excel 2010 this menu can be accessed with the Ctrl key. When the menu appears with all the paste options, you can press the letter in parenthesis next to the option name to select the command. So Ctrl then V is the shortcut to Paste Values after you have pasted the cells. That means you can press Ctrl+V twice to paste values (once to paste, then the second time will paste values). The caveat to this is that you have to press and release the Ctrl key the second time, then press V.
So the full keyboard shortcut to paste values is Ctrl+V, Ctrl, V.
The shortcut to paste formulas is Ctrl+V, Ctrl, F.
I prefer to use Paste Buddy for my most common paste commands (values, formatting, formulas). Paste Buddy is an Excel add-in that allows you to create custom keyboard shortcut for any of the paste special commands.
The Quick Analysis menu has a dedicated keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+Q. You can also use the Alt+Menu Key shortcut to access the menu. Once the menu is open you can use the keyboard arrows and tab key to move through the menus and select the options. Then press Enter or Space Bar to make your selection. I don't believe you can use any letters on the keyboard to select the options in the Quick Analysis box.
When you press the Menu Key (without Alt), the right click menu appears and you can press any of the underlined letters in the menu to perform the action. Here are some of the most useful shortcuts.
- Menu Key + M – Insert Comment
- Menu Key + A – Define Name
- Menu Key + I – Insert cell/row/column
- Menu Key + D – Delete cell/row/column
- Menu Key + V – Paste Values
The Menu Key can be used for a variety of useful keyboard shortcuts in Excel. It is a fast way to access the error checking box for converting to numbers or ignoring errors. If you are using Excel 2010 or later then you may not need it for the paste options shortcuts, but it is nice to know that any pop-up box can quickly be accessed with the Alt+Menu Key combination.
Checkout my article on the best keyboards for Excel to learn more about other features to look for in a keyboard.
Please leave a comment with any questions, and let us know if there are other shortcuts that you find useful.