links for 2008-07-24

Outlook 2007 annoyances: keyboard shortcuts

Things you can’t do with Outlook 2007: assign custom keyboard shortcuts to Ribbon items.

This is annoying if you have certain keyboard shortcuts hardwired. For instance, in Outlook 2003 (and Word) one could access the “Paste Special” command (which gives a number of optional formats in which content can be pasted into a document, including unstyled text) with the keyboard shortcut alt+E, then S. Alt+E is an old Windows keyboard shortcut that allows accessing menus using their accelerator key, and for several Outlook releases, “Paste Special” has had S as its accelerator command.

Fast forward to Outlook 2007. The editing window uses the Ribbon, rather than menus, and so alt+E doesn’t do anything. However, alt+S does. So if you happen to hold down the alt key and type E S, thinking you’re going to paste something in the message, Outlook will merrily send it, minus whatever you were going to paste, instead.

Is there a solution? The only way around the issue that I’ve found requires writing a macro to invoke the functionality, assigning the macro to a custom toolbar button, and then mapping that button to a keyboard shortcut (say, alt+E). Convenient? No. Quick? No. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be a way to make it work consistently in Outlook at all.

Sigh. Hope we can get this fixed at some point.