Google Sheets Keyboard Shortcuts [Good UX]

Product Background

Google Sheets is part of the Google Suite of products that compete with Microsoft Office, in this case Microsoft Excel.

UX Experience

  • Most users of Google Sheets have used Microsoft Excel previously due to is dominant market position.

  • Furthermore, most of the power users who have used Excel for years have memorized very specific keyboard shortcuts that allow them to utilize Excel much faster than a user just understanding the application.

  • As Google is a “new” entrant in the market, making an effort to help transition those power users over to Google Sheets is an effort worth making.

  • One of those efforts popped up in the corner of a sheet that I was editing recently when I inadvertently used an Excel keyboard shortcut that was not a corresponding shortcut in Google Sheets.

  • That attempt to trigger a specific command in turn triggered the popup below which told the user they had two options:

    • The user could override the default shortcuts and use the shortcuts they were used to, and gave a path to do so. This is a positive outcome because the user is given a path to leverage what they already know, reducing transition cost / learning curve / time to value for Google Sheets.

    • The user could acknowledge the information and choose not to take an action, but they were informed as to why the keyboard shortcut they just attempted to use didn’t work. This is also a positive outcome because the user at least understands their choices, even if they choose not to pursue them.