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.
So Alt + [the icon number] is the keyboard shortcut for each item. In this example, the keyboard shortcut for Save is Alt+1. The keyboard shortcut to undo 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 left thumb on Alt and left 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.