A laptop with the Microsoft Office logo on screen.
Open the shortcut menu by right clicking an item, pressing the Menu key on a Windows keyboard, or using the Shift+F10 shortcut. Then, type the action or command you're looking for in the Search box at the top.

While the Microsoft Office applications Word, Excel, and PowerPoint all have robust features, those features are not always easy to find. Stop scouring every menu, drop-down box, or dialog launcher on each tab and search the menus for what you need.

For the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Office applications on Windows and the web, you can use a handy (and somewhat hidden) search tool. This feature, introduced in the fall of 2022, flew a bit under the radar. We want to ensure you take advantage of this helpful way to find the commands you need.

Note: As of October 2022, the feature is available in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on the web and to Office Insiders first for the desktop applications on Windows.

Search the Menus in Microsoft Office

To use the search tool to find the action or command you want, access the shortcut (context) menu. You can do this one of the following ways:

  • Right-click a word, cell, image, table, or another item.
  • Select an item and press the Menu key on a Windows keyboard.
  • Press Shift+F10 on Windows or Mac when using the web apps.

When the shortcut menu opens, you’ll see a Search the Menus box right at the top of it.

Search box in the shortcut menu

Select the Search box and start typing the action or command you need. You’ll then see suggestions appear that match your keyword as you type. It doesn’t matter what tab you’re currently on; any command that matches your search term displays.

Searches in the shortcut menu

Then, select the correct action from the list. Now you’re in business.

Example Uses

If you work in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint often, you probably use the same actions and commands regularly. But there’s likely a time or two when you need something and aren’t sure where to find it. Or, an action may require many steps. These are the perfect times to take advantage of the Search feature in the shortcut menu.

RELATED: How to Insert a Picture or Other Object in Microsoft Office

Example Search in Word

You may use shapes in your Word document to create a flowchart or something similar. Rather than go to Insert > Shapes and look for the shape you want, use the shortcut menu Search option. Type the shape you need into the Search box, select it, and drag your cursor to draw it.

Search for Rectangle in Word

Example Search in Excel

You can group columns and rows in Excel to summarize data. Instead of selecting the cells and going to Data > Outline > Group > Group, right-click and type “Group” into the Search box. Choose “Group Cells” from the list and you’re done.

Search for Group in Excel

Example Search in PowerPoint

You may wish to include images when you create a slideshow in PowerPoint. Rather than selecting the image and going to the Picture Format tab or right-clicking and opening the Format Picture sidebar, search for the action you want.

RELATED: How to Crop a Picture in Microsoft PowerPoint

You can enter search words like “crop,” “transparency,” or “shadow” and view those options right from the shortcut menu to save some time.

Search for Transparency in PowerPoint

While these three examples are simple, this feature has virtually limitless uses. Try it for yourself!

For other tips and tricks for using the Office applications, check out how to use the Ink features or how to use the built-in clipboard.

Profile Photo for Sandy Writtenhouse Sandy Writtenhouse
With her B.S. in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She learned how technology can enrich both professional and personal lives by using the right tools. And, she has shared those suggestions and how-tos on many websites over time. With thousands of articles under her belt, Sandy strives to help others use technology to their advantage.
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