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The Most Useful Excel Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts have been around for as long as Microsoft Excel itself. Using shortcuts is one of the most effective ways of speeding up your workflow. Cut down unnecessary seconds spent browsing through menus and use shortcuts instead.
Microsoft Excel

In computers, a keyboard shortcut is a means for performing one or more commands using the keyboard, that would otherwise be accessible through some sort of user interface. In Excel, these shortcuts are used to expedite common operations by reducing input sequences to a few keystrokes. However, since Excel is a very complex application, it has hundreds of shortcuts for you to use.

Memorizing each and every one of them is pretty much impossible. So, we made a list of the most useful Excel shortcuts you should always have on-hand, or in your memory.

Note: These shortcuts were carefully selected from Top 51 Excel Templates to Boost Your Productivity that you can check out to boost your Excel Productivity.

Let’s take a look!

Basic shortcuts

The shortcuts below are very basic, yet very powerful. These shortcuts aren’t specific to Excel only — they work in most other applications and on websites as well! Chances are, you might have even heard of them before.

Let’s start with the basics and see how you can use basic shortcuts to speed up your Excel flow:

    • Ctrl + F: Search in a spreadsheet, or use Find and Replace
    • Ctrl + N: Create a new workbook
    • Ctrl + O: Open a workbook saved on your computer or an online source
    • Ctrl + S: Save the currently open workbook
    • Ctrl + W: Close the workbook
    • Ctrl + Y: Redo an action
    • Ctrl + Z: Undo an action
    • Ctrl + C or Ctrl + Insert: Copy contents of a cell, selected data, or selected cell range
    • Ctrl + V or Shift + Insert: Paste contents of a cell, selected data, or selected cell range
    • Delete: Remove the contents of a cell, selected data, or selected cell range
    • Ctrl + F4: Close Excel

 General Excel shortcuts

These keyboard shortcuts are used for manipulating workbooks, getting help, and other interface-related actions. They’re not particularly advanced, but they help you get around Excel just a bit easier.

  • Ctrl + F1: Show or hide the ribbon
  • Ctrl + F2: Switch to Print Preview
  • Ctrl + F9: Minimize the workbook window
  • Ctrl + Shift + U: Expand or collapse the formula bar
  • Ctrl + Tab: Switch between open workbooks
  • Shift + F9: Calculate active worksheets
  • Shift + F3: Insert a function
  • Alt + F1: Create an embedded bar chart based on select data (same sheet)
  • Alt + F8: Create, run, edit, or delete a macro
  • Alt + F11: Open the Microsoft Visual Basic For Applications Editor
  • Alt + A: Go to the Data tab
  • Alt + F: Open the File tab menu
  • Alt + H: Go to the Home tab
  • Alt + M: Go to the Formulas tab
  • Alt + N: Open the Insert tab
  • Alt + P: Go to the Page Layout tab
  • Alt + Q: Go to the “Tell me what you want to do” box
  • Alt + R: Go to the Review tab
  • Alt + W: Go to the View tab
  • Alt + X: Go to the Add-ins tab
  • Alt + Y: Go to the Help tab
  • F1: Open the Help pane
  • F4: Repeat the last command or action.
  • F7: Check the spelling
  • F9: Calculate all worksheets in all open workbooks
  • F10: Turnkey tips on or off
  • F11: Create a bar chart based on selected data (on a separate sheet)
  • F12: Open the Save As dialog box

Shortcuts for moving around in a worksheet or cell

Going a step further is the keyboard shortcuts specifically used within Excel worksheets and cells. With these shortcuts, you can almost completely eliminate the use of a mouse, never breaking your flow.

  • Left or Right arrow: Move one cell to the left or right
  • Ctrl + Left or Right arrow: Move to the farthest cell left or right in the row
  • Up or Down arrow: Move one cell up or down
  • Ctrl + Up or Down arrow: Move to the top or bottom cell in the column
  • Tab: Go to the next cell
  • Shift + Tab: Go to the previous cell
  • Ctrl + End: Go to the most bottom right used cell
  • F5: Go to any cell by pressing F5 and typing the cell coordinate or cell name.
  • Home: Go to the leftmost cell in the current row (or go to the beginning of the cell if editing a cell)
  • Ctrl + Home: Move to the beginning of a worksheet
  • Page Up or Down: Move one screen up or down in a worksheet
  • Alt + Page Up or Down: Move one screen to the right or left in a worksheet
  • Ctrl + Page Up or Down: Move to the previous or next worksheet

Shortcuts for editing cells

To quickly make modifications to cells, use the shortcuts below.

  • Shift + Left or Right arrow: Extend cell selection to the left or right
  • Shift + Space: Select the entire row
  • Ctrl + Space: Select the entire column
  • Ctrl + Shift + Space: Select the entire worksheet
  • F2: Edit a cell
  • Esc: Cancel an entry in a cell or the formula bar
  • Enter: Complete an entry in a cell or the formula bar
  • Shift + F2: Add or edit a cell comment
  • Ctrl + X: Cut contents of a cell, selected data, or selected cell range
  • Ctrl + Alt + V: Open the Paste Special dialog box
  • Alt + Enter: Insert a hard return within a cell (while editing a cell)
  • F3: Paste a cell name (if cells are named in the worksheet)
  • Alt + H + D + C: Delete column

Shortcuts for formatting cells

The keyboard shortcuts below help when you’re formatting your cells.

  • Alt + H + B: Add a border
  • Alt + H + H: Select a fill color
  • Ctrl + B: Add or remove bold to the contents of a cell, selected data, or selected cell range
  • Ctrl + I: Add or remove italics to the contents of a cell, selected data, or selected cell range
  • Ctrl + Shift + $: Apply currency format
  • Ctrl + Shift + %: Apply percent format
  • Ctrl + Shift + &: Apply outline border
  • Ctrl + Shift + _: Remove outline border
  • Ctrl + U: Add or remove underline to the contents of a cell, selected data, or selected cell range
  • Ctrl + 0: Hide the selected columns
  • Ctrl + 1: Open the Format Cells dialog box
  • Ctrl + 5: Apply or remove strikethrough
  • Ctrl + 9: Hide the selected rows

Final thoughts

We hope that this article was able to help you learn more about Microsoft Excel’s shortcuts and just how powerful they are. Return to our page anytime you need further guidance regarding Microsoft’s spreadsheeting app.

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