25 Excel shortcuts for faster, better spreadsheets

11 min read
Brenda Barron

Microsoft Excel is a powerful tool that can be used for more than just accounting. You can use it for social media marketing as well as to keep track of your business operations and various data. Once you start using Excel to organize all that information and create various business reports, you’ll realize how time-consuming these tasks can be. (If you’re not already using Excel, you can get it as part of Office 365.) Luckily, there are several handy Excel shortcuts that will help you save time and show you how to use Microsoft Excel more efficiently.

In this post, we’ve rounded up various Excel shortcuts so you can spend more time focusing on work that matters instead of creating reports.

Why you should use Excel shortcuts

Excel shortcuts can help you save time when you need to input large amounts of data into your Excel workbook.

Mastering Excel shortcuts also allows you to reduce the chance of human error because you can easily manipulate data and format it without having to stop what you’re doing and apply a certain formatting rule.

Another reason why you should use Excel shortcuts is because you will get a better understanding of Excel, which in turn will allow you to create more complex spreadsheets and reports.

How to use Microsoft Excel more efficiently: 25 Excel shortcuts

Now that we’ve covered why they are useful, here’s a list of the top 25 Excel shortcuts that every business owner should know to speed up their workflow and improve their spreadsheet creation and maintenance.

  1. Move up through a selection of cells.
  2. Jump to top or bottom of the spreadsheet.
  3. Fill in cell with data from adjacent cell.
  4. Insert new sheets.
  5. Quickly format anything.
  6. Add multiple rows or columns.
  7. Choose how to paste information.
  8. One-click select all.
  9. Lookup function arguments.
  10. Add a date or a timestamp anywhere.
  11. Access print preview dialog.
  12. Easily select an entire row or column.
  13. Create, edit, run and delete macros.
  14. Delete a row or a column.
  15. Increase or decrease font size.
  16. Add comments to any cell.
  17. Automatically add cells.
  18. Hide rows quickly.
  19. Switch between open workbooks.
  20. Search the spreadsheet or replace data.
  21. Insert a function.
  22. Remove spaces with TRIM.
  23. Copy formula down the entire column.
  24. Work with ranges.

Let’s get started!

1. Move up through a selection of cells

The Shift + Enter excel shortcut allows you to move up through a selection of cells in any sheet. It’s useful when you’re working with large amounts of data and need to scroll up to find a particular cell.

excel shortcuts cell selection

2. Jump to top or bottom of the spreadsheet

Press the CTRL + UP or Down arrow to get to the top or bottom of any column in your spreadsheet.

3. Fill in cells with data from cells above

Have you ever needed to repeat the same information in a few cells but not in the entire column? By pressing CTRL and D keys together, you can quickly fill in the cell with the information from the cell above. Alternatively, click in the cell that holds the information you need to repeat and then drag the handle down by x amount of cells.

4. Fill in cell with data from adjacent cell

Similarly to the excel shortcut above, you can quickly fill in the cell with the data from the cell that’s to the left of it by pressing CTRL + R. It’s useful when you need to repeat the same information in row cells — but not the entire row. You can also simply select the cell holding the data you need to repeat and drag the handle down across the needed number of cells.

5. Insert new sheets

Use the Shift + F11 to quickly insert new sheet into your current workbook. While you can certainly click the + sign at the bottom of the sheet, this shortcut is a much faster way of achieving the same thing and you can repeat it as many times as you want. Be sure to reorder the sheets to the correct order when you’re done adding them.

excel shortcuts insert new sheet

6. Quickly format anything

This excel shortcut is a lifesaver when it comes to formatting cells, rows, objects, and pretty much anything else in Excel. Simply select the information you want to format, use the CTRL + 1 shortcut, and Excel will bring up a dialog box with all the formatting options for that object.

excel shortcuts quick format

In a similar fashion, you can quickly add borders around selected cells by using ALT+H shortcut on PC. To achieve the same on a Mac, use the CMD+ALT+0 shortcut.

7. Add multiple rows or columns

Using the CTRL + + shortcut, you can easily add as many rows or columns you need. Simply click on the column name or row number to select the entire row or column and use the shortcut as many times as you need to add more rows and columns.

excel shortcuts add row and column

8. Choose how to paste information

If you need to paste data from an external source, use CTRL + ALT + V. It will bring up the Paste Special Box where you can choose how you’d like to paste your data in. You can paste it as text only or with special formatting, and more.

9. One-click select all

You probably know that CTRL + A or CMD + A allows you to select all of the information in a sheet. However, there is an easier way to select everything in your spreadsheet. Simply click the top corner button of the sheet and watch the magic happen as the entire sheet gets highlighted.

10. Look up function arguments

No matter how often you use Excel, there are times when you can’t remember exactly how to write a specific function. Use the CTRL + A excel shortcut to look up any function arguments and learn more about the function.

For example, if you type in = match in an empty cell and then press CTRL + A, you will see the Function Arguments dialog popup. You can then see exactly which arguments any function takes and you can also click the right-hand side window to learn more about that particular function.

11. Add a date or a timestamp anywhere

If you’re updating spreadsheet with new information on a regular schedule, you probably know that entering time or date manually can be cumbersome. By entering CTRL + :, you can quickly add a timestamp while the CTRL + ; allows you to insert today’s date.

12. Access print preview dialog

Whenever you need to print your worksheet, take a few minutes of your time to preview how the sheet will look when printed. Press CTRL and P together to quickly enter Print preview mode. You can then easily make adjustments so that your sheet or workbook prints out exactly as you want it.

excel shortcuts print

13. Easily select an entire row or column

There are times when you need to select an entire row or column. However, if you’re deep in your spreadsheet scrolling to the beginning of the row or column is tedious, not to mention a waste of time. Use Shift + Space to select an entire row and CTRL + Space to select an entire column no matter how far down or across you are in the spreadsheet.

14. Create, edit, run and delete macros

If you’ve used Excel for any length of time, you are aware of Excel Macros. They are one of Excel’s most powerful features that allow you to automate repetitive tasks. Save time creating or editing your macros by pressing ALT + F8 keys together.

excel shortcuts macros

15. Delete a row or a column

Press CTRL + – to delete the row that’s above a highlighted cell or a column on the left of it. By pressing the CTRL and the  together, you will get a small popup window that allows you to shift cells up or left which effectively deletes the row above or the left column.

16. Increase or decrease font size

If you ever want to quickly adjust the text size in your worksheets, all you have to do is press CTRL + SHIFT +. as many times as you want. This particular excel shortcut will increase text size. If you want to decrease the font size, press CTRL + SHIFT +,.

17. Add comments to any cell

If you’re collaborating with someone on a spreadsheet, you might need to leave them a comment or add your input. You can quickly do so without sending an email or messing up the spreadsheet with the following shortcut: CTRL + SHIFT + F2 for PC and CMD + SHIFT + F2 for Mac.

18. Automatically add cells

You can save time in your workflow by automatically adding all values. Use the shortcut CMD + SHIFT + T to automatically add all of the selected cells. It’s useful when you want to quickly check the values before inserting the SUM function or when you don’t need to add it but still want to get the total value of the cells.

19. Hide rows quickly

Sometimes, you might need to hide rows quickly. In such situations, you can use a handy excel shortcut instead of manually selecting rows, right-clicking them, and selecting hide. Simply press CTRL+ 9 on both PC and Mac to hide selected rows.

20. Switch between open workbooks

As a small business owner, it’s not uncommon to have several different Excel workbooks for different purposes. You might have a workbook to keep track of your sales, another one for your social media campaigns, and a third one to plan out your content. You can quickly switch between open workbooks by using the CTRL + Tab shortcut.

21. Search the spreadsheet or replace data

Use the CTRL + F shortcut to quickly search your spreadsheet. You will see the Find and Replace window pop up where you can specify whether you want to search the current sheet or the entire workbook, if you need to match case and to replace the information once or throughout the spreadsheet.

22. Insert a function

Excel functions can get quite complicated. The good news is that you don’t have to memorize them all. You also don’t have to know the exact syntax of the function. All you have to do is press = button or Shift + F3. Doing so will bring up the Formula Builder dialog where you can look up a specific function and quickly add it to your sheet.

excel shortcuts insert function

23. Remove spaces with TRIM

Extra spaces in your columns and rows can lead to a lot of trouble when you’re working with Excel. You could be trying to calculate the value of rows and cells and get only zeros as a result. Another issue with spaces is that you cannot effectively compare cell values.

You can easily fix this by using the TRIM function. Simply type =TRIM(A1) into a new cell, where A1 is the cell you want to remove spaces from, and Excel will automatically strip any excess spaces from the specified cell.

24. Copy formula down the entire column

If you’ve added a formula in a new column and want to use it down the entire column, you can easily copy it with the CTRL + D shortcut. Here’s how it works in a nutshell:

  • Start by going to to the column that has data.
  • Press Ctrl+Down to go to the bottom.
  • Move one cell to the right.
  • Use the shortcut CTRL + SHIFT + UP to select the new column which contains the formula you created.
  • Press Ctrl+D to fill down the formula.
excel shortcuts copy formula

25. Work with ranges

A named range in Excel can be used in several ways. You can use it for data validation, to create bookmarks in your spreadsheets or to refer your formulas to the exact same cell. You can easily choose a specific name range by using the CTRL + G shortcut. It will bring up the Go To dialog. If the name range is something simple, you can select it from the list. If your name range is more complicated, type it in and press OK.

excel shortcuts ranges

Final thoughts on Excel shortcuts

Excel shortcuts are incredibly helpful when it comes to working with different Excel files. And when you’re learning how to use Microsoft Excel, shortcuts can make all the difference in the world.

With the help of these Excel shortcuts and tricks, you will be able to speed up your workflow, save time, and spend more time analyzing data instead of compiling it.

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