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Work with the keyboard

Task pane showing the focus on 'Choose workbook' and the Other Task Panes menu

The New Workbook task pane in Excel with the task pane menu open.
Callout 1 The dotted rectangle indicates where the focus is.
Callout 2 The checkmark indicates the active task pane.

A task pane is a window within an Office program that provides commonly used commands. Some task panes open automatically when you select a certain command, for example the New Workbook task pane in Microsoft® Excel, which opens when you select New on the File menu. Alternatively, you can open a task pane from the toolbar menu. There are a variety of different task panes throughout the Office programs, and the menus within task panes work differently than the menus on the menu bar.

If a task pane is open, you can switch to it by pressing F6, or you can cycle the focus through the toolbars until you get to the task pane. This method will be covered in the following lesson. The F6 key will toggle between your document and the task pane.

Once you are in a task pane, you can open the Other Task Panes menu by using CTRL+SPACEBAR. This menu shows the names of the various task panes available in that Office program, and a check mark shows next to the task pane that is open at that time. Move to the one you want by using TAB or the arrow keys, and press ENTER. When you want to move to another task pane press CTRL+SPACEBAR again.

Navigation inside the tasks panes is slightly different from the menu bar menus. You should move the focus between the task pane elements by using the TAB key, and use the arrow keys when moving within an element.

Note     Keep in mind that some task panes act differently than menus and toolbars, and when you move the focus to a task pane, it may be in the same place as the last time you used that task pane rather than at the top of the pane.

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