Excel ribbon shortcuts let you use tools in the "ribbon" tabs such as Home, Insert, Formulas, Data, and others. By using shortcuts you can do all of your work in Excel without ever taking your hands off the keyboard, allowing you to work faster and more efficiently than your peers. Nearly every tool in Excel can be accessed without touching the mouse. We should note that these specific shortcuts are for Excel on PC, as Mac doesn't have these types of shortcuts.
The first step is to press and release the Alt key. The Excel ribbon will update to show letters representing your next shortcut options. If you pressed Alt by accident, just press the Escape key to exit shortcut mode and return to normal.
The letters which appeared in the ribbon tell you which keys to press next.
For example, after pressing Alt, pressing "H" will let you access tools in the Home tab, while pressing "A" will bring up tools in the Data tab. When using a ribbon shortcut, you simply press and release all keys in order rather than holding any down.
If you press Alt then H, the ribbon updates again to show you shortcut letter options within the Home tab to guide you to the tools you need. You can then press "B", for example, to insert a bottom border. If you accidentally press Alt H during a ribbon shortcut and meant to visit a different tab, you can press the escape key to reverse a step.
In addition to the selected ribbon shortcuts listed above, Excel has hundreds of other ribbon shortcuts available to use. While they may feel uncomfortable at first, continuous practice will help them become second nature to the point where you'll be tapping out shortcuts without even thinking. The key is to focus on learning a few at a time and forcing yourself to use them, no matter how bad you want to give up and use the mouse.
As with all Excel shortcuts, the best way to learn is by practicing hands-on exercises.
Try some Excel exercises with ribbon shortcuts now!