Microsoft Excel is the most used spreadsheet tool on the planet.
And that’s understandable given so many useful features and functionalities that Excel has. With more than 450+ useful functions, there are so many things you can do in Excel when it comes to data entry and analysis. A good working knowledge of Excel is now considered a huge plus when looking for a job.
One of the less focused area when working with Excel is using the keyboard shortcuts.
While there are hundreds of keyboard shortcuts, you only need to learn a few that you often use in your work. And a few simple keyboard shortcuts can really save you time and make you extremely productive at work.
One of the reasons keyboard shortcuts are so useful is because it saves you the time from switching from the keyboard to the mouse. And while it may seem like an insignificant amount of time, it adds up to be significant when you start using those keyboard shortcuts again and again.
While there are hundreds of keyboard shortcuts, in this article, I will be covering my top 7 keyboard shortcuts for Excel.
When you’re entering data in Excel, a lot of time you just need to copy the value from the cell above and enter it in the current cell.
While you can go to the cell above, copy it, come back to the original cell and paste it – there is an easier way.
You can use the keyboard shortcut – Control + D
This keyboard shortcut would allow you to copy the cell from above without even leaving your current cell.
Once you get used to it, you’ll wonder how you survived so far without it.
One of the most common things to do when analyzing data is to apply the filters in a data set.
The normal way (with a shortcut) to apply filters to a data set is to go to the Data tab and click on the Filter icon.
While it’s a fast way already, it can’t beat the efficiency of a keyboard shortcut.
To apply a filter to a dataset, select any cell in the dataset and use the keyboard shortcut – Control + Shift + L (hold both Control and Shift keys and press the L Key).
You can use the same keyboard shortcut to remove the filter as well.
Navigate through Worksheets
Personally, I think this is one of the most time-saving shortcuts.
If you have to go through different worksheets in a workbook, a regular way is to point the cursor on the worksheet tab and click it.
And in case you have a lot of worksheets, it can take up more than a few seconds.
The keyboard shortcut to navigate through worksheets is Control + PageUp/PageDown.
In some keyboard, you need to use Control + Function Key + Control PageUp/PageDown.
When you use PageUp, it takes you to sheets to the right, and PageDown takes you to the sheets on the left.
Accessing the Format Cells Dialog Box
If you know how to use the Format Cells Dialog box, you know how powerful it is. It gives you access to all the options you need to format data/cells in Excel.
The keyboard shortcut to open the Format Cells Dialog box is Control + 1.
To use this, first select the cell or range of cells that you want to format and then hold the Control key and press 1. This will open the Format dialog box.
Once this is open, you can choose from all the formatting options to format the selected cells.
Paste as Values
I use this one a lot.
When you copy a cell or range of cells, you not only copy its value but also its formula as well as formatting.
But what if you only want to paste the values (and not the formula in it or its current formatting).
Then you need to use the Paste as Values option.
If you’re using a mouse, you can get the paste as values option when you copy and then right-click on the destination cell.
I find this to be quite slow and frustrating and I use the keyboard shortcut in all cases now.
The keyboard shortcut to paste as values is ALT + ESV (hold the ALT key and then press E, S, and V keys one after the other).
It may seem like a hard keyboard shortcut, but when you get used to it, it’s far more efficient than using the mouse for this.
If you want to learn more about paste special shortcuts, check out this article.
What do you do when you have to quickly get the sum of all the numbers in a column?
Do you use the SUM function and reference the entire range?
Fine way of doing it. But there is another – faster – way to do the same.
You can use a keyboard shortcut to get the sum of all the numbers in a column.
To do this, select the cell just after the cells that have the numbers and use the shortcut ALT + (hold the ALT key and press the plus key)
Note that this works only if you have a continuous range of cells with no blanks. If there are blanks, this shortcut will only give you the sum of cells that are filled continuously.
Inserting a Comment
Using the mouse to insert a comment in an Excel cell is fast – but doing it with keyboard short is blazing fast.
And the fact that allows you to continue to work on your keyboard without moving your hands away makes using the keyboard shortcut really appealing.
And the shortcut is very simple – Shift + F2 (hold the shift key and then press the F2 key).
As soon as you use this keyboard, it inserts the comment, with the cursor within the comment. So you can continue to type without getting breaking the flow.
These are my top seven Excel keyboard shortcuts. These are not the only ones, but the ones I use regularly.
If you work with Excel a lot, invest some time and learn the keyboard shortcuts of the things you need to do often. It will payback very soon and for a very long time.
Apart from shortcuts, there are many things you can learn in Excel and take your data analysis to a next level.
Just keep learning things that can make you productive and help you get your work done faster.
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