Access keys make it possible to select menu items from the keyboard using the Alt key. For example, if you make the "F" in the File menu's caption an access key and the "x" in the Exit menu item an access key, the user can select the Exit item by typing Alt+F to open the File menu, then Alt+X to select the Exit item.
To give an item an access key, you precede the access key in its caption with an ampersand (&). In this example, that means using the captions "&File" and "E&xit". Access keys are underlined in menu captions, as you see in Figure 9.13, as visual cues to the user.
Note that you still have to open a menu item's menu to be able to use its access key—if you want to assign a key to a menu item that can be used without first opening that item's menu, use a shortcut instead—see the next topic.