Blast From the Past

Why use keyboard shortcuts from Access 2003 when developing in 2020? Because starting with Access 2007, the new shortcuts suck.

Blast From the Past

When I wrote about Microsoft's obsession with backward compatibility--which earned my utmost respect--the example I used to make my point was that menu shortcuts from the old Access 2003 days still work in Access 2019 today.  This still boggles my mind, because it meant that the Office ribbons had to avoid using certain "KeyTips" for the main ribbon as they had to be reserved for backward compatibility purposes.

I gave a couple of examples in that article, but there are many more that I regularly use when designing forms and reports.

What's the point?

You may ask yourself, why continue using shortcut keys from over 15 years ago? The obvious answer for me was muscle memory.  My fingers just got used to those key combinations.

So why not just learn and embrace the new way of doing things?  After all, there are still keyboard shortcuts available for those same commands in the ribbon today.  

The problem with the new shortcuts is that they suck.

Samir Nagheenanajar: Why don't you just go by Mike--instead of Michael?
Michael Bolton: No way. Why should I change? He's the one who sucks.

OK, I'll take the bait.  Why do the new shortcuts suck?

In Access 2003, to align a group of selected controls to the right, one could press [Alt] + [O], [A], [R] (Format -> Align -> Right).  To accomplish the same thing in Access 365, one would have to press [Alt] + [JA], [SA], [R] ({J}Arrange -> {S}Align -> [R]ight).  Note that the "J" in JArrange and the "S" in SAlign are both silent (apparently).  

So, to review, not only does the new shortcut require 66% more key presses than the old shortcut (JASAR vs OAR), it is also severely mnemonically challenged.

My favorite Access 2003 shortcuts

Without further ado, here's my full list of Access 2003 shortcuts compared to their Access 2007+ equivalents:

Align Controls (F[o]rmat -> [A]lign)

Command Access 2003 Access 2007+
F[o]rmat -> [A]lign:
[R]ight O A R JA SA R
[L]eft O A L JA SA L
[T]op O A T JA SA T
[B]ottom O A B JA SA B

Resize Controls (F[o]rmat -> Re[s]ize)

Command Access 2003 Access 2007+
F[o]rmat -> Re[s]ize:
[T]allest O S T JA SS T
[S]hortest O S S JA SS S
[W]idest O S W JA SS W
[N]arrowest O S N JA SS N
Best [F]it O S F JA SS F
To [G]rid O S G JA SS G

Control Spacing (F[o]rmat -> [V]ertical / Hori[z]ontal)

Command Access 2003 Access 2007+
F[o]rmat -> [V]ertical spacing
[I]ncrease O V I JA SS V
[D]ecrease O V D JA SS C
[E]qual O V E JA SS E
F[o]rmat -> Hori[z]ontal spacing
[I]ncrease O Z I JA SS I
[D]ecrease O Z D JA SS D
[E]qual O Z E JA SS Q

All original code samples by Mike Wolfe are licensed under CC BY 4.0