Spreadsheets are the lifeblood of finance departments everywhere. Whether you are an analyst with a Wall Street firm or an entrepreneur doing cost project analysis, you’ll have to use Microsoft Excel. Beginners, meanwhile, will benefit greatly from this free course on Excel.
Make working with spreadsheets a little easier with these Excel keyboard shortcuts that will have you working like the pros in no time:
Note: This article assumes you are using Excel on a Windows PC. If you are using a Mac, these shortcuts will change slightly. Here is a complete list of all Excel keyboard shortcuts on Mac.
Adding/Deleting Cells and Data
1. CTRL + SHIFT + PLUS SIGN (+)
Action: Inserts new cell
Whether it’s a row, a column, or a single cell, keep this shortcut handy to speed up data entry.
2. ALT + ENTER
Action: Inserts a new line within a cell
Excel isn’t Word, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be dealing with plenty of text in Excel. This shortcut makes entering comments ridiculously fast and easy.
3. SHIFT + F2
Action: Inserts a comment within a cell
Speaking of comments, just press SHIFT + F2 to add an explanatory pop-up note to a cell to make sure that your data won’t be misinterpreted.
4. CTRL + K
Action: Adds a hyperlink to the selected data
A shortcut you’ll turn to often when using external references.
5. CTRL + R
Action: Fills a cell with data from the adjoining cell to the left
Working with a lot of similar data? Then you’ll love this shortcut which makes data entry dramatically faster. No more CTRL-C, CTRL-V!
6. CTRL + D
Action: Fills a cell with data from the above cell
Another shortcut meant to ease data entry. It works exactly like the above, except, you know, in a different direction.
7. CTRL + ENTER
Action: Fills the entire selected cell range with the current entry
Few shortcuts are going to save you more time than this one. Using it is pretty simple as well: select a range, enter data into any one cell, and press this shortcut to populate the entire range with this data.
Action: Creates a chart with the selected range
Microsoft has made it relatively easy to create charts with its Ribbon interface starting with Office 2007. This shortcut makes the process even smoother by creating a chart instantly with the given data.
9. CTRL + T
Action: Adds a table to the worksheet
Tables are a wonderful way to create flexible data structure that can expand or shrink dynamically. This shortcut makes adding tables a little easier, which will hopefully encourage you to use this feature more often.
10. SHIFT + F11
Action: Inserts a new worksheet
Pretty straightforward: use this shortcut to bypass the ‘insert worksheet’ button at the bottom. You’re going to use it pretty often if you work with big projects.
Selecting Cells and Data
Action: Makes an extended selection of cells or data
This is similar to using the mouse to make a selection, except that you use the arrow keys. To use this shortcut, simply press F8 and press the arrow keys in the appropriate direction to make a precise selection.
2. CTRL + PageUp
Action: Switches active window to the next worksheet
Quite straightforward: instead of navigating from the buttons at the bottom, you can just press CTRL + PageUp to switch to the next worksheet.
3. CTRL + PageDown
Action: Switches active window to previous worksheet
Same as above, except it takes you back one step to the previous worksheet. Use the two shortcuts in conjunction to navigate through worksheets.
4. SHIFT + F5
Action: Opens the Find dialog box
Another shortcut you’re going to use very often is the Find dialog box, especially if you work with large spreadsheets where data can get lost easily.
5. CTRL + SHIFT + Space
Action: Selects the complete table
This shortcut is pretty straightforward: it selects all the cells within a table. There’s only one caveat though: the active cell must be within range of the table.
6. CTRL + ~
Action: Reveals the formulas across the entire spreadsheet
This shortcut will reveal all the formulas used across the worksheet – a great tool for scanning new and unfamiliar spreadsheets.
Editing and Formatting Cells and Data
Action: Edits a cell
A simple shortcut you’ll turn to very often.
2. CTRL + 1
Action: Shows the Format Cells dialog box
Plain spreadsheets with black text in Arial look pretty dull. Pep things up with this shortcut to format, align and color the spreadsheet.
3. Data Formatting Shortcuts
These clutch of shortcuts will come in handy for quickly formatting cells to a desired data type:
- CTRL + SHIFT + 1: Formats the selected data as number format with two decimal places (12000 to 12,000).
- CTRL + SHIFT + 2: Formats the data in your chosen time format.
- CTRL + SHIFT + 3: Formats the data in your chosen date format.
- CTRL + SHIFT + 4: Formats the data in your chosen currency value (12,000 to $12,000).
- CTRL + SHIFT + 5: Formats the data as percentage value (1 to 100%).
- CTRL + SHIFT + 6: Formats the data into exponential value or scientific form (12000 to 1.20E+04).
There are countless other shortcuts in Excel, but these 24 should be more than enough to help you get things done faster. Remember: you can always view commonly used shortcuts in the Ribbon interface by pressing ALT. You can also see a comprehensive list of all the shortcuts on the official Office website.
Advanced users to Excel will love this course on advanced Excel topics such as VLOOKUP, MATCH and CHOOSE functions.