Microsoft Word 2007 – Navigate Ribbon and Menus with the Keyboard

As the interface of Microsoft Word 2007 is quite different from previous versions of Microsoft Word, you may be confused how to navigate the Ribbon and menus with the keyboard.

With previous versions, pressing the Alt key on the keyboard allowed you to navigate the various menus. Then, it was as simple as pressing the correct shortcut key to activate a given function.

With Word 2007:

Press the Alt key to activate Ribbon and Quick Access Toolbar shortcuts. Your Word 2007 ribbon bar should appear similar to below:

Activating the Word 2007 Ribbon with the keyboard

From here, press one of the shortcut keys next to the Quick Access Toolbar or Ribbon to select an option or sub-menu. For example, pressing the letter P opens the “Page Layout” group of the Ribbon as shown below:

Activating the Page Layout group of the Word 2007 Ribbon via the keyboard

From here, enter the shortcut key or keys to activate a desired command. For example, note that the commands for “Watermark”, “Page Color”, “Page Border”, and the “Paragraph” dialog box all start with the letter “P”. To activate the desired command you should key in the two-character keyboard shortcut.

As a full example, to activate Word 2007’s page background watermark feature, press the following keys in succession:

Alt (to access the keyboard shortcuts)
P (to access the Page Layout group)
PW (to access the Watermark feature)