What Are Excel Keyboard Shortcuts?
MS Excel features in-built functions and keyboard shortcuts, which make storing and analyzing massive data sets, both statistically and visually, highly practical. And, if we want to enhance our productivity while making the most out of the application, we should learn the keyboard shortcuts in Excel because they can help us complete a task quickly and error-free.
Excel keyboard shortcuts ensure quicker access to Excel functions and features to work on our data effectively. Instead of navigating the toolbar and accessing it with the mouse, we can perform the required operations with a few keystrokes.
For example, consider we have to enter the current date and time in the table below:
Instead of typing in the details, we can select the cells A3 and B3 and use the below keyboard shortcuts in Excel.
- Current Date: Ctrl + ;
- Current Time: Ctrl + Shift + :
The output will be:
Thus, Excel keyboard shortcuts help us save time and finish our cumbersome data-driven tasks.
However, with every new Excel version, the number of keyboard shortcuts keeps increasing, and remembering them is not practical.
So, the suggestion is to learn useful keyboard shortcuts for excel we use mostly for our daily tasks.
So, let us learn the basic keyboard shortcuts for excel.
Table of contents
- What Are Excel Keyboard Shortcuts?
- List of Top 20 Excel Shortcuts
- #1 – Paste As Values With “Paste Special”
- #2 – Sum Numbers With AutoSum
- #3 – Fill The Subsequent Cell With The Fill Down
- #4 – Select The Entire Row Or Column
- #5 – Insert And Delete Row Or Column
- #6 – Insert And Edit Comment
- #7 – Move Between Sheets
- #8 – Add Filters
- #9 – Freeze Rows And Columns
- #10 – Open “Format Cells” Dialog Box
- #11 – Adjust Column Width
- #12 – Repeat The Last Task
- #13 – Insert Line Breaks In A Cell
- #14 – Move Between Different Workbooks
- #15 – Spell-Check
- #16 – Move Between Worksheet And Excel VBA Editor
- #17 – Select A Cell Range
- #18 – Select The Last Non-Blank Cell Of A Row Or Column
- #19 – Delete The Active Sheet
- #20 – Insert A New Sheet
- Download Template
- List of Top 20 Excel Shortcuts
List of Top 20 Excel Shortcuts
Here is the list of top 20 keyboard shortcuts in Excel, which we will find very useful and easy to remember.
Now, let us understand how to use keyboard shortcuts in excel with the following Census table.
#1 – Paste As Values With “Paste Special”
Typically, if a cell contains a formula and we copy its content to paste it into another cell, the data gets pasted along with the formula. But sometimes, we may need to copy and paste the cell value, without the formula, at another location in the worksheet.
In such cases, we can use the Paste Special option in Excel. The keyboard shortcut for this feature is
Here, we will have to copy the source cell data, choose the target cell where we want to paste the data as a value, and then click on the shortcut keys.
Suppose we need to determine the percentage change in the population for 2010-20 in the Census table.
The steps used to determine the values using keyboard shortcuts in excel are as follows:
Step 1: First, enter the column F heading as 2010-20-Percentage Change.
Step 2: Next, choose the Number Format as Percentage.
Step 3: Then, select cell F2 and enter the formula =(E2-D2)/D2
Step 4: Press Enter key.
We can see the value in cell F2.
Step 5: Next, we can use the AutoFill option to obtain results in all the cells or enter the formula manually.
Now, let us use the AutoFill option. So, choose cell F2 and drag the fill handle downwards to copy and paste the formula in the cell range F3:F16.
If we want only the values in the range F2:F16, then it is the target cell range.
Step 6: Now, choose the cell range F2:F16 and click Ctrl + C to copy the cells’ content. Next, press the shortcut keys Alt + E + S + V.
The Paste Special window opens up. Now, choose the option Values under Paste automatically to paste as values.
Step 7: Click OK in the Paste Special window. We will see the cell values in F2:F16 is pasted without the formulas.
Also, we can use the shortcut keys to paste as values individually for each cell.
#2 – Sum Numbers With AutoSum
When we add the values in the adjacent cells above the current cell or from its left, we can use the AutoSum(). And the keyboard shortcut for the function is:
The shortcut keys automatically insert the SUM excel function in the current cell. It refers to the cell range above or on the left of the active cell, depending on whether we want to add column values or row values.
Suppose we want to determine the total population in the 15 states for 2020 in the target cell E17 of the Census table. The following steps help us find the results.
Step 1: To begin with, choose cell E17.
Step 2: Next, hold the Alt key, and press the ‘=’ key.
The shortcut will insert the SUM() in cell E17.
Step 3: Press Enter to view the output.
#3 – Fill The Subsequent Cell With The Fill Down
The Fill Down feature helps fill the active cell with the value or formula from the cell right above the current cell. Thus, we can copy a cell value into the cell below it without using the copying and pasting functions. And the keyboard shortcut is:
Suppose we want to enter the total population of the 15 states in 2020 (calculated in the previous section) in cell E18.
Step 1: In cell E17 SUM(), change the relative cell references to absolute cell references by adding the $ symbol before the cell row and column references. Since the formula cell has a function with relative references, the Fill Down keyboard shortcut changes the excel cell references according to the target cell.
Step 2: Now, choose cell E18. Holding the Ctrl key, press the key D on the keyboard.
We can now see that the value in cell E17 got copied into cell E18 along with the formula and the format.
However, this shortcut will not work for filling the data from the cells in the same row adjacent to the active cell.
#4 – Select The Entire Row Or Column
While working with massive data sets, we might be on an active cell, and manually choosing the whole row or column can be challenging. In such scenarios, the keyboard shortcuts in Excel can be useful. And the shortcut keys to select a complete row or column are as follows:
For an entire row selection,
For an entire column selection,
Assume we want to select the entire row 10 and then the column D in our example table.
Step 1: First, choose any cell in row 10 in the Census table.
Step 2: Next, holding the Shift key, press the Spacebar on the keyboard.
The complete row 10 gets selected.
Step 3: Now, choose any cell in column D.
Step 4: Hold the Ctrl key and press the Spacebar on the keyboard.
The complete column D gets selected.
#5 – Insert And Delete Row Or Column
Sometimes, we might have to insert or delete a row or column from our Excel table. The keyboard shortcuts in Excel for performing these actions are:
Insert a new row or column:
Delete a row or column:
We must choose the location (entire row or column) in our table before applying the above shortcut keys. Also, the insertion will happen before the selected row or column where we wish to insert a new row or column.
Suppose we want to insert a new column before column D and delete row 13 in the Census table. The steps are:
Step 1: First, click on column label D to select the entire column.
Step 2: Now, while holding the Ctrl key, press the + key.
A new column D gets inserted, and the data in the old column D shifts to the new column E.
Step 3: Next, click on row label 13 to select the entire row 13.
Step 4: While pressing the Ctrl key, click on the – key. Row 13 gets deleted. We can see the data in row 14 and now in row 13.
However, if we do not choose the entire row or column and select only a cell before applying the above keyboard shortcuts in Excel, the Insert or Delete dialog box will open.
For example, we selected cell F2 to insert a column before column F. After applying the shortcut, choose the required option from the Insert dialog box and click OK to complete the action.
#6 – Insert And Edit Comment
Sometimes, we might have to add additional information about a data point without modifying the specific cell data. In such cases, we can insert comments on the required cells and edit them as per our requirements without touching the specific cells’ content.
We can choose the required cell first and then use the following shortcut keys.
The keyboard shortcut to insert a new comment is:
The right-click will open the context menu. We can also apply the shortcut keys Shift + F10 to open the menu. And key M opens the comment box for the chosen cell.
The Excel shortcut to edit comments is:
Consider that we must insert and edit a comment for cell D2 in the Census table.
Step 1: Choose cell D2, right-click to open the context menu, and press the M key.
We can see a small red triangle in the chosen cell where we inserted the comment box.
Now, we can enter the required comments in the comment box.
Now, assume our active cell is D5, and we want to edit cell D2.
Step 2: Choose cell D2 and press the Shift and F2 keys together. We will have the cursor inside the required comment box to edit our comments.
#7 – Move Between Sheets
While working with massive data sets, we might have to use multiple worksheets. And clicking on the required worksheet labels can become challenging after a point. Thus, we can use keyboard shortcuts in Excel to move quickly between the worksheets.
The shortcut to move to the next worksheet on the right of the current sheet is:
The shortcut to move to the previous worksheet on the left of the current sheet is
We have a workbook with many sheets and assume our active sheet is Fill Down. Then, we can move to the next sheet Select_Entire_R_C, and the previous sheet, AutoSum, from the current sheet, Fill Down.
Step 1: With Fill Down being our active sheet, press the shortcut keys Ctrl + PgDn.
So, our new current sheet will be Select_Entire_R_C.
Now, if our current sheet is Fill Down again.
Step 2: Next, press the shortcut keys Ctrl + PgUp. Our new current sheet will be AutoSum.
#8 – Add Filters
Excel offers a Filter option in the Data tab of the excel ribbon. It helps filter the specific data in our Excel table to manipulate it according to our requirements. However, we can use the below keyboard shortcuts in Excel to quickly insert or remove the filters from our Excel table.
Consider we need to insert filters in the Census table.
Step 1: To begin with, choose any cell in the table and press the shortcut keys Ctrl + Shift + L together.
Alternatively, we can also apply the shortcut keys Alt + D + F + F by pressing the keys one after the other.
We will see the filters inserted in each column. And if we want to remove them, repeat the above step using either of the two shortcuts mentioned above.
#9 – Freeze Rows And Columns
When we work with data spanning multiple rows and columns, we might want to freeze the row or column headers. Then, while the frozen row or column remains fixed, we can scroll through the data in the other cells.
The keyboard shortcut to freeze rows and columns simultaneously is:
Depending on the position of our chosen cell, we can freeze the rows and columns using the above keyboard shortcut.
Suppose we have to freeze the first row and column of the Census table to ensure that the column and state names remain static.
Step 1: First, choose cell B2 and press the keys Alt + W + F + F, one after another. When we click the Alt key, we will see black buttons hovering on the ribbon.
And when we press the third key, F, we will get the Freeze option as depicted below:
And once we press the fourth key, F, the required row and column will get frozen.
We can also freeze the first row or column individually. Firstly, we need to choose cell A1 and then apply the respective keyboard shortcuts in Excel, which are:
And to remove the freeze panes in each case, use the shortcut keys Alt + W + F + F.
#10 – Open “Format Cells” Dialog Box
The Format Cells dialog box offers several options to format a cell or cell range. We need to open the context menu and select this option. But there is a keyboard shortcut to access it quickly, which is:
Assume we need to change the font color of column A data. The steps are:
Step 1: First, choose the cell range A2:A16 and apply the shortcut keys Ctrl + 1 together.
In the Format Cells > Font, choose the required color.
Once we click OK, the output will be:
#11 – Adjust Column Width
Typically, if we want to adjust the column width, we need to move the cursor on the column edge till we see the double-sided arrow. Then we have to double-click on the column border. Instead, we can use the below keyboard shortcut.
We must choose the column and click the shortcut keys one after the other.
Assume column D in the Census table needs adjustment.
The steps used in the process are;
Step 1: Choose column D label.
Step 2: Now, press the shortcut keys, Alt + O + C + A, one after the other. Once we click the keys, we will see the message below on our worksheet.
And once we press the fourth key, A, the column width gets adjusted to make the entire column data visible.
#12 – Repeat The Last Task
Sometimes, we may need to repeat our last action or task in Excel. It could be, say, we inserted or deleted a row or column or perhaps formatted a cell. In such scenarios, we can apply the following keyboard shortcuts in Excel.
Suppose we inserted a row above row 9 in the Census table.
And now, we want to repeat our last task. The steps are:
Step 1: As depicted in the above image, after selecting row 8, click on the shortcut key F4. Alternatively, we can press the keys Ctrl + Y together to repeat the previous task.
Clearly, we can see a new row inserted above the previously added blank row.
#13 – Insert Line Breaks In A Cell
When we type a large text in a cell, we may need to add spaces between sentences or paragraphs. In such cases, we can insert line breaks in the cell.
And the keyboard shortcut for adding the required sentence as a new line is:
Consider the Census table’s description in cell F18, as depicted below.
The text in cell F18 has two sentences. Suppose we have to insert a line break in excel to start the second line as a new paragraph. Here is how we can apply the shortcut keys to achieve our required output.
Step 1: First, double-click cell E18 to get the cursor inside the cell.
Step 2: Next, click at the location right after the full stop, where we need to insert the line break.
Step 3: Now, press the shortcut keys Alt + Enter together. We can see the second line starts as a new sentence. We can also observe the line break in the Formula Bar.
#14 – Move Between Different Workbooks
When working on multiple workbooks, we would want to navigate only between them, while we may have other applications open. The Excel shortcut below makes it possible to switch between different workbooks quickly.
Suppose we have two workbooks, Keyboard Shortcuts In Excel_WorkSheet and Keyboard Shortcuts In Excel_WorkSheet_New, open, and we need to move between them.
Step 1: If our current workbook is Keyboard Shortcuts In Excel_WorkSheet, press the shortcut keys Ctrl + Tab together to switch to the other workbook.
Now our current workbook will be Keyboard Shortcuts In Excel_WorkSheet_New. And to move back to the previous workbook, use the shortcuts again, as explained in Step 1.
Likewise, we can move between any number of workbooks by pressing the shortcut keys until we open our required workbook.
#15 – Spell-Check
When we use specific terms in our Excel, we need to spell-check while preparing the final draft so that our data does not have any spelling mistakes.
The keyboard shortcut to perform a spell-check is:
If we want to check the spelling of the text in a single cell, we can choose it and press the F7 key. And if we have to do a spell check for multiple cells, select them and apply the shortcut. We can then correct the spelling of each cell content, one by one, in the Spelling: English (United States) window.
Consider we made spelling mistakes in column A of the Census table.
Here is how we can perform the spell-check using the shortcut key F7.
Step 1: To begin with, choose cell range A1:A16 and press the F7 key.
The Spelling: English (United States) window opens, showing the incorrect word with the possible correct spellings. Choose the required option from the Suggestions and click on Change.
Step 2: Click OK in the message box to complete the spell-check.
#16 – Move Between Worksheet And Excel VBA Editor
When we use macros in our Excel, we switch between the VBA Editor and our worksheet. We can move quickly between the two windows by applying the below Excel shortcut.
If our active window is our Excel containing the Census table, here is how we can switch to the VBA Editor window.
Step 1: First, press the shortcut keys Alt + F11 together. Our new active window will be the VBA Editor.
And to go back to our Excel worksheet, press the shortcut keys again.
#17 – Select A Cell Range
When working with massive data sets, manually selecting cell ranges can be cumbersome. So instead, we can use the below keyboard shortcut to make the required selection.
The selection will be from the active cell to the last non-empty cell in the specific row or column, depending on whether it is row- or column-wise. And if the adjacent cell to the current one is empty, the selection will be till the next non-empty cell in the specific row or column.
If we have to select the entire Census table, here is how we can use the Excel shortcut.
Step 1: To begin with, choose cell A1 and press the shortcut keys Ctrl + Shift + Right-arrow (🡪) together.
Step 2: Now click on the keys Ctrl + Shift + Down-arrow (🡫) to select the entire Census table.
#18 – Select The Last Non-Blank Cell Of A Row Or Column
When our Excel table is massive, manually scrolling right or down to go to the last cell in a specific row or column can be time-consuming. However, using the below keyboard shortcuts in Excel, we can make our task less tedious.
Excel shortcut to choose the last non-empty cell of a row is:
Excel shortcut to choose the last non-empty cell of a column is:
However, if the specific row or column contains a blank cell, the selection will stop at the non-blank cell before it. And when we click the shortcut keys again, the next non-empty cell after the empty cell gets selected. So, finally, we need to press the shortcut keys to go to the last non-empty cell.
Suppose we have to choose the last non-empty cell in row 10 of the Census table. Here are the steps.
Step 1: Choose cell A10.
Step 2: Now press the shortcut keys, Ctrl + Right-arrow (à), to select cell E10, the last non-blank cell in row 10.
#19 – Delete The Active Sheet
Typically, we will right-click on the current worksheet and choose the Delete option from the menu. Instead, the below Excel shortcuts can assist us in deleting our active sheet quickly.
Consider the Delete_Active_Sheet is the current worksheet in our workbook, and we need to delete it.
Step 1: Press the shortcut keys Alt + H + D + S one by one. Alternatively, we can use the keys Alt + E + L by pressing them one after the other.
We will get the warning message as depicted in the above image. It is informing us that Excel will permanently delete the worksheet. Click on Delete to delete the sheet, and our workbook labels will look as shown below.
#20 – Insert A New Sheet
When working with massive data sets, we may require inserting new sheets.
The keyboard shortcut for adding a new sheet is:
And if we have to insert a new chart sheet, the shortcut key is:
Consider we need to insert a new worksheet (New_Worksheet) and chart sheet next to our current worksheet, Delete_Active_Sheet.
Step 1: Press the shortcut keys Shift + F11 simultaneously.
We will see a new sheet inserted next to our previously active sheet. Rename it according to our requirement, say, New_Worksheet.
Step 2: With the Delete_Active_sheet (being our current sheet), press the F11 key to insert a new chart sheet.
Therefore, we learned how to use the basic keyboard shortcuts for excel.
We learned how to use keyboard shortcuts in excel in detail. MS Excel is a critical tool in accounting and data analytics domains. And most organizations rely on the application for seamless business operations.
Thus, if we use MS Excel in our daily tasks, we must learn the useful keyboard shortcuts for excel to significantly improve our efficiency and productivity.
This article must be helpful to understand the Keyboard Shortcuts In Excel, with its examples. You can download the template here to use it instantly.
This has been a guide to Keyboard Shortcuts In Excel. Here we discuss list of top 20 useful excel shortcuts with examples and downloadable excel template. You can learn more from the following articles –