Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Alt-ered Consciousness
Figure 1–24. Inside the Data tab: Alt key options
Thus if I type SD now, a selected range will be sorted in descending alphabetical order (and don’t
worry what that means if you aren’t sure. Sorting is to be explained later. But note that SD = Sort
Descending). And once the command does its thing, all the letters disappear. And if you initiate the
whole process by tapping Alt and then have second thoughts about it, simply tap Alt a second time, and
the letters vanish—no harm done. Thus the Alt approach offers one more way of getting the same jobs
done—but this time with no mouse required, if you’re so inclined. Commit a few of these Alt-ernatives
to memory and you should be able to speed some of your basic, recurring tasks as a result (and just for
the record—the Alt technique in subtler form also works in the pre-2007 releases of Excel, too).
A couple of other points before we wind up. The way in which the ribbon’s contents appear on your
screen will depend in part on your screen’s resolution (I speak from experience). Your button captions
may thus be positioned differently from ours, and so the screen shots in this topic may not precisely
correspond to what you’re seeing. So rest assured: you’re not hallucinating, you just have a different
screen setting. And here’s something else that you won’t see in previous Excel versions: when you
select text (defined broadly, here, as including numbers as well)—that is, when you actually highlight
the text, as opposed to simply clicking on a cell—you’ll see a dim, apparition-like toolbar looming a bit
abov e the ce l l . Li ft y our mouse j ust a bi t, an d the tool bar—cal l e d a mi n i - tool bar —r e sol v e s shar pl y on
screen, as shown in Figure 1–25:
Figure 1–25. The mini-toolbar
The mini-toolbar supplies you with speedy access to standard text formatting option buttons —
bold, italics, etc. Click one and the change is made. If, on the other hand, you find this utility literally
gets in the way, you can turn it off by clicking File Options General Show Mini Toolbar on
Selection, and unchecking the box.
We can begin to figure out how to pour our data into that massive space—and make the data work
for us.
So let’s begin.
 
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