This is a special blog post for my friend, Scott.

Hiya, Scott.  *Waves*

He wants to get a better handle on how to handle data and draw conclusions, automate part of his job and of course, SQL stuff.   Apparently, needing to learn to use MS Access 2010. MS Access is an ok program, but since I’m used to working on enterprise-level systems working as a Database Administrator, I normally just go to SQL Server as the main tool for the job.

When I looked into it, I was surprised about how many people like it as a database management program. to me, it’s like using a fleet of Hyundais over semi-trucks to long-haul freight across the country. Tiny, used cars are cheap, but freight of that scale is better left to trains or professional truckers. Because you can haul more cargo with the proper equipment.

But that’s not why I’m here today. Scott, I’m proud of your progress. Remember, one hour at a time and one keystroke at a time. In the meantime, here are some helpful tips to help you be more productive. I hope this helps you get that promotion that you are banging for. There are hundreds, but here are a few shortcuts for MS Access 2010 and sources to follow on your database-enhancing career.

So now, without further ado, shortcuts. Remember, the brackets [KEY] indicate literal keys on your keyboard and with MS Access 2010 and above:

The Initiate:

  1. [F12] to save the current object as a new name. This is true of all Microsoft products; F12 acts as the ‘Save as’ dialog box.
  2. [F7] Check spelling.
  3. [F2] to rename the current object
  4. [F2] + [CTRL] Invoke a builder
  5. [F2] +[SHIFT] opens the zoom box
  6. [F9] Refresh the contents of a Lookup field list box or combo box
  7. [CTRL] + [N] = Create New Database
  8. [CTRL]+[O] = Open a database or file
  9. [TAB] is to exit combo box or list box.
  10. [CTRL]+[F] = Open Find and Replace starting with the FIND tab.
  11. [CTRL] +[H] = Open Find and Replace starting with the REPLACE tab.
  12. [SHIFT] + [F4] = Find Next.
  13. Use the [CTRL] keys and arrows to move around words and stuff. Hold down [SHIFT] to highlight.
  14. [CTRL]+[P] = Print screen and print preview
    • [S] opens the setup dialog box
    • [C] cancel print/layout preview. [ESC] works as well.


The Practiced (& Practical):

Now you’re starting to cook with gas. hate inserting common stuff like  today’s date? I got you covered.

  1. [CTRL] + [Enter] Insert a new line
  2. [CTRL] + [+] Add a new record
  3. [CTRL] + [-] In a datasheet, delete the current record
  4. [CTRL] + [;] (semi-colon) Insert the current date
  5. [CTRL] + [:] (colon)  Insert the current time
  6. [CTRL] +[ALT]+ [Space] Insert the default value for a field
  7. [CTRL] +[ ‘ ] (apostrophe) Insert the value from the same field in the previous record
  8. [Shift] + [Enter] Save changes to the current record
  9. [Space] Switch between the values in a check box or option button


The Adept:

Dude, save these for when you’re learning about queries and playing with Pivot Tables. You have proven your qizardry

Otherwise, say it with me….


  1. Pivot Tables: (Use these when dealing with pivot tables.)
    1. [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[~] (tilde) = Apply the general number format to values
    2. [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[$] = Apply the currency format to values
    3. [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[%] = Apply the percentage format to values
    4. [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[^] (caret) =  Apply the exponential number format to values
    5. [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[#] (it’s called an OCTOTHORP, dang-nabbit!)   = Apply the date format to values
    6. [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[@] = Apply the time format, with the hour, minute, and AM or PM, to values in the selected total or detail field
    7. [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[!]  ( ‘!’ called ‘bang’ for short) = Apply the numeric format, with two decimal places, thousands separator, and a minus sign for negative values, to values in the selected total or detail field.
    8. [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[A] = Sort data in Ascending order.
    9. [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[Z] = Sort data in descending order.
    10. [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[C] = Add new total field using count summary.
    11. [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[B] = Turn subtotals and grand totals on or off for selected field. (Well hot dog!)
    12. [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[D] = Add new total field using standard deviation summary.
    13. [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[E] = Add new total field using average summary.
    14. [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[M] = Add new total field using min summary.
    15. [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[S] = Add new total field using sum summary.
    16. [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[X] = Add new total field using max summary.
    17. [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[T] = Add new total field using standard deviation population summary.
    18. [CTRL]+[B] = Make text bold in the selected field of the PivotTable view
    19. [CTRL]+[U] = Make text underlined in the selected field of the PivotTable view
    20. [CTRL]+[I] = Make text italic in the selected field of the PivotTable view
    21. [CTRL]+[E] = Export to Excel  (very helpful)!
    22. [CTRL]+[L] = Display Field List Pane
    23. [ALT] + [ENTER] = Display dialog box.
  2. [F6], [SHIFT] + [F6]: Move along the query designer panes in Query Designer
  3. SQL PANE stuff:
    1. [SHIFT] + [TAB] = Select the cell to the left. If the current cell is the leftmost cell, SHIFT+TAB selects the last cell in the previous row.
    2. [SHIFT] + [ENTER] = Select the cell above the current cell. If the current cell is the topmost cell, SHIFT+ENTER selects the last cell in the previous column.
    3. [SHIFT] +[CTRL] + [ENTER] = Select the detail cells for the previous item in the row area
    4. [CTRL] + [ENTER] = Select the detail cells for the next item in the row area.
    5. [SHIFT] + arrow keys = Extend or reduce the selection in the direction of the arrow key
    6. [CTRL] + [ARROW KEYS] = Move the selection to the last cell in the direction of the arrow



Because you want more shortcuts for MS Access 2010… Like what are they? Pixie stick powder or something?

Shortcutworld. Gordon Bennet, 180+ shortcut keys? Wow…I’ll stick with what I know about SQL Server.

MS Office offical page.

And this page.