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How to Be More Effective on Excel with Shortcuts

By Yann, published on 30/04/2019 Blog > Academia > Information Technology > Using Microsoft Excel Keyboard Shortcuts

“I think it’s fair to say that personal computers have become the most empowering tool we’ve ever created. They’re tools of communication, they’re tools of creativity, and they can be shaped by their user.” – Bill Gates

Smartphones have changed our everyday habits. More people use their phones to browse the internet than their computer. However, the computer isn’t done for yet. Computers have a lot of uses, especially when it comes to programmes they can use.

Programmes like Word, Excel, and the rest of the Office suite means that your computer is still useful. To help you to get the most out of Excel, in this article, we’re going to look at the different keyboard shortcuts and why you should use them.

Why Use Keyboard Shortcuts in Excel?

Excel is part of the Microsoft Office suite, a powerful set of tools for computer users. It’s often taught in schools where pupils learn how to make a spreadsheet, a graph, or macros.

What are the advantages of keyboard shortcuts? Shortcuts can save you a lot of time. (Source: SplitShire)

You can use an Excel spreadsheet to organise your finances, for example. Professionals also use Excel to create reports and graphs.

Whatever you’re using it for, the shortcuts can save you a lot of time. Of course, you first need to learn how to use them and you’ll then learn how to use them more effectively.

Don’t learn them off by heart! The below lists are there to help you. Learn the functions you use the most and go from there.

Excel keyboard shortcuts will save you time. A lot of people aren’t used to using a mouse. Some prefer to just use the keyboard. Those with visual or motor impairments can benefit a lot from shortcuts.

Basic Excel Keyboard Shortcuts

The below keyboards shortcuts are the most commonly used in Microsoft Office programmes (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.) as well as in other programmes. You can use many of them when browsing the web, too.

Which are the most common Windows shortcuts? How can you effectively use keyboard shortcuts? (Source: marvorel)

Here’s a short list that can make your life easier:

  • Close Excel: ALT + F4
  • Open the Visual Basic Editor (for editing macros): ALT + F11
  • Cut: CTRL + X
  • Copy: CTRL + C
  • Paste: CTRL + V
  • Select all: CTRL + A
  • Undo: CTRL + Z (Undo the last action performed)
  • Redo (Cancel an undone action): CTRL + Y
  • Italics: CTRL + I
  • Underlined: CTRL + U
  • Bold: CTRL + B
  • Display the cell format dialogue box: CTRL + SHIFT + 1

When it comes to Mac, there isn’t much difference. In most cases, you just need to replace the CTRL with the “CMD” button on the Apple keyboard. In some cases, CTRL will still work.

Keyboard Shortcuts for Controlling the Programme

The “File” tab is important when it comes to saving your work, creating a new document, etc. It covers all the basic functions of the programme. It’s the tab where you’ll find the option to print your document.

How do you improve your productivity? Are you sick of using a mouse? (Source: Free-Photos)

To avoid having to navigate the “File” tab, here are some of the most important shortcuts.

  • Create a new document: CTRL + N
  • Open a document: CTRL + O or CTRL + F12
  • Print the document: CTRL + P
  • Save as: F12
  • Save: CTRL + S
  • Save the document: CTRL + S or SHIFT + F12,
  • Close the document: CTRL + W or CTRL + F4

These shortcuts are useful for saving regularly so you don’t lose your work.

Find out more about logical operators in Excel.

Shortcuts for Spreadsheets

Once you’ve got your spreadsheet, there are plenty of things you can do. Making a spreadsheet, then a graph, entering data, doing calculations, etc. There are plenty of things you need to take on board. Additionally, Excel isn’t always intuitive.

How do you use keyboard shortcuts? You’ll soon know your way around a keyboard. (Source: Simon)

To help you, here are some of the most useful keyboard shortcuts:

  • Create a new tab: Shift + F11
  • Go to the first cell used in the spreadsheet: CTRL + HOME
  • Go to the last cell used in the spreadsheet: CTRL + END
  • Confirm and go to the next row: ENTER
  • Confirm and go to the previous row: SHIFT + ENTER
  • Confirm and go to the next column: TAB
  • Confirm and go to the previous column: SHIFT + TAB
  • Display the “Go to” dialogue box: F5
  • Go to the last used cell in the column (down): CTRL + DOWN
  • Go to the last used cell in the column (up): CTRL + UP
  • Go to the last used cell in the row (left): CTRL + LEFT
  • Go to the last used cell in the row (right): CTRL + RIGHT
  • Go to the next spreadsheet: CTRL + F6
  • Go to the previous spreadsheet: SHIFT + CTRL + F6

TAB is represented by two arrows pointing in different directions one over the other.

Keyboard Shortcuts for Cells, Rows, and Columns

A lot of users lose their minds trying to add cells, row, columns, and then trying to remove them. Here are some useful keyboard shortcuts:

  • Insert a function: SHIFT + F3
  • Add or modify a comment to the cell: SHIFT + F2
  • Add a graph in a new tab: F11
  • Add a graph in the current sheet: ALT + F1
  • Duplicate the selected element: CTRL + D
  • Add a new line: CTRL + +
  • Delete the selected line: CTRL + –
  • Add a link to a website in the selected cell: CTRL + K
  • Add the same value to the entire selection: CTRL + ENTER
  • Shortcuts for columns and rows:
  • Select the current column: CTRL + SPACE
  • Select the current row: SHIFT + SPACE
  • Modify the current cell: F2
  • Search SHIFT + F5 or CTRL + F
  • Replace: CTRL + H
  • Hide the selected columns: CTRL + (
  • Show the selected columns: CTRL + )
  • Hide the selected rows: CTRL + SHIFT + (
  • Show the selected rows: CTRL + SHIFT + )
  • Expand the current selection: SHIFT + DIRECTION ARROW
  • Expand the current selection to the last used cell: CTRL + SHIFT + DIRECTION ARROW
  • Expand the current selection to the last used cell in the tab: CTRL + SHIFT + END
  • Deselect: ESCAPE

These shortcuts can help you save a lot of time in terms of functionality.

In fact, there are plenty of useful functions in Excel that a lot of users don’t even know about. By using shortcuts, you’ll soon become an Excel pro!

Other Commonly Used Keyboard Shortcuts

These keyboard shortcuts are often used by professional users. You can use them though they are often used for calculations.

Whether you’re creating an Excel file, a graph, a pivot table, macros, you can use Excel for plenty of things. You won’t become a master after just one IT lesson.

The keyboard shortcuts are a great way to improve how you use the programme. As we previously explained, learn the ones you use, don’t learn them off by heart! You’ll get used to using the useful ones.

Whether you’re formatting cells, doing calculations, inserting a chart, or selecting rows and columns, you should now be able to do it more quickly in Excel. Have fun!

If you need more help with spreadsheets or computers, you might want to consider getting in touch with a private tutor. On Superprof, you can find tutors in a whole range of subjects all over the UK and around the world.

On the platform, there are three main types of tutorials offered: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials.

Face-to-face tutorials are your traditional private tutorial with one tutor and one student. This is how you can get tailored tuition in any subject or skill. While these bespoke lessons tend to be the most expensive type of tutorials, they’re also the most effective since the tutor’s entire attention is on you.

Online tutorials also have one student and one tutor but the tutor delivers their lesson using video conferencing software such as Skype. Since neither the student or tutor will have to travel to meet one another, these tutorials tend to be cheaper than the traditional face-to-face tutorials. Additionally, you can find tutors offering these types of tutorials from anywhere in the world which is great if you need lessons at unsociable hours.

Finally, the last type of tutorial is group tutorials. With more than one student in the class, the cost of the lesson is shared amongst the students, making it cheaper. However, you can’t expect the lessons to be tailored just to you or to get as much one-on-one time with your tutor during these types of lessons.

Don’t forget that on Superprof, most of the tutors offer the first hour of tuition for free. This is a great way to try out different tutors, see if you get along with them, and check that their teaching approaches are right for you. You can also use this time to work out the finer details of your tuition, how often you’ll have lessons, what topics you want to cover, and how you like to learn.

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