Windows From the Keyboard Tips, Document Backstage View, May 27, 2020

Hello. This is Gerry Chevalier from the GTT Edmonton Chapter. This weekly blog provides tips that I find useful as a keyboard user of Windows. The information is for Windows10 and Office 365, although many tips still apply to older versions. The tips do not require a screen reader unless specifically noted. Thus, the tips apply whether you are a keyboard user or low vision mouse user. Here is this week’s tip.

Microsoft Office – Document Backstage View

The Backstage view is a useful interface to explore and use for keyboard users.
When you launch Microsoft Office apps such as Excel, Word, or Power Point via a desktop icon or from the Start menu you are placed in the Backstage view. The Backstage view replaces the File menu on older versions of Office. You may also reach the Backstage view by pressing Alt+F. Backstage view has a list of categories that allow you to open or save documents, print documents, export documents to other formats such as PDF or HTML, manipulate the current document’s properties, and more. You select the Backstage category from a list of categories using Up/Down arrows. For each category, there are different controls which you can explore with Tab or Shift+Tab.

For example, the Open category allows you to reopen a document from a list of recent documents or, if you press Down arrow on the Recent tab, you will find other sources for documents such as OneDrive, This PC,and a Browse button. The Browse button will launch the usual Open File Dialogue.

The Info category allows you to protect/unprotect a file, add a security password to a file, or add title or author attributes, add search keywords, and more. Note that adding a document title in the Backstage view is especially useful if you plan to save the document in html format for later inclusion as a web page. The document title will then become the web page title when you save the Word document as an HTML document.

Although the Backstage view is completely Accessible, sometimes it just gets in the way. You may just want to open MS Word and start a new blank document. You can exit the backstage view and return to the document window by pressing Escape. For example, to start a new MS Word document simply launch Word, then press Escape to exit the Backstage view and you will be in a blank document Window. Type your document and then press F12 to save it.