Tech Answers | February 1, 2022

Tech Answers: Excel Shortcuts You Should Know By Now

Microsoft Excel shortcuts are there to help make our lives easier. So why don’t we take full advantage of them? 

It’s one of the most common (and most blatant) resume lies in the job market today: “proficient in Microsoft Excel.” While we can probably go back and forth for days on what “proficient” actually means or whether or not that proficiency is even necessary for job performance, the fact remains that many of us still don’t use Microsoft Excel to its full potential – regardless of what your CV might say.  

And at EMPIST, we think that’s a real shame.  

Tedious as they may be the learn, Excel shortcuts offer modern workers quick, easy ways to create organized and intelligent data sheets. The better you are at working within the confines of Excel, the better these data sheets are likely to be.  

Better late than never; Here are the Excel shortcuts you should know by now. 

Microsoft Excel: A Brief History 

Microsoft Excel is the industry standard in spreadsheet software. Developed for the Macintosh in 1985 and Windows in 1987, Excel has been a core software for Microsoft users for decades. We should be clear, Excel wasn’t the first spreadsheet software, but as of today, it is the most prolific.  

The main functional components of the program – including the cell grid format, calculation features, and customizable appearances – are so widespread that many other popular spreadsheet software is based on Excel (*cough* Google Sheets).  

While still available via download, one of the most widely used versions of Excel today comes packaged in Microsoft365 – Microsoft’s cloud computing software. Microsoft 365 allows businesses of all shapes and sizes to access their data, communications, and Excel spreadsheets from anywhere with internet connection. 

All this to say, even if you do not currently use Microsoft Excel in your day-to-day work, you’re certainly familiar with the program itself. No matter how often you use it, Excel is ubiquitous in the modern working world; Shouldn’t we strive to use it correctly?  

Excel Shortcuts You Should Know 

Before we get into it, a few caveats about the Excel shortcuts the EMPIST experts think you should know. What follows is certainly not a complete list of keyboard shortcuts compatible with the Excel software, but merely those which we think you will find most useful. For a complete list, you can visit the Microsoft website, here. There are, additionally, slight differences in how shortcuts work when used with a PC or a Mac. For clarity, this list is specifically curated for Excel shortcuts in Windows.  

In the following, (+) indicates pressing two keys at the same time and (,) indicates a sequential command.  

So, without further ado, here are the Excel shortcuts to keep in your back pocket:  

  • Ctrl+W – Close a Workbook 
  • Ctrl+O – Open a Workbook 
  • Alt+H – Go to the Home Tab 
  • Ctrl+S – Save a Workbook 
  • Ctrl+C – Copy Selection 
  • Ctrl+V – Paste Selection 
  • Ctrl+Z – Undo Action 
  • Alt+H,H – Choose Fill Color 
  • Ctrl+X – Cut Selection 
  • Alt+N – Go to the Insert Tab 
  • Ctrl+B OR Ctrl+3 – Bold or Remove Formatting 
  • Alt+H,A,C – Center Align Cell Contents 
  • Alt+P – Go to the Page Layout Tab 
  • Alt+A – Go to the Data Tab 
  • Alt+W – Go to the View Tab 
  • Shit+F10 – Open the Context Menu 
  • Alt+H,B – Add Borders 
  • Alt+H,D,C – Delete Column  
  • Alt+M – Go to the Formula Tab 
  • Ctrl+9 –Hide Selected Rows 
  • Ctrl+0 –Hide Selected Columns 
  • Alt+Q,{Term} – Search {Term} 
  • Alt+F1 – Expand or Collapse Ribbon 
  • Arrow Keys – Cell Navigation 
  • Ctrl+Home – Move to the Beginning of a Worksheet 
  • Ctrl+End – Move to the Last Cell of a Worksheet (bottom right) 
  • Ctrl+Page Down – Move to the Next Sheet in a Workbook 
  • Ctrl+Page Up – Move to the Previous Sheet in a Workbook 
  • Tab – Move One Cell to the Right 
  • Ctrl+Alt+Equal(=) – Zoom In 
  • Ctrl+Alt+Minus(-) – Zoom Out 
  • Ctrl+1 – Open Formatting Cells Dialog Box 
  • Ctrl+Shift+F OR Ctrl+Shift+P – Format Fonts in the Dialog Box 
  • Ctrl+Shift+Colon – Enter the Current Time 
  • Ctrl+Shift+Semicolon – Enter the Current Date 
  • Ctrl+Apostrophe(‘) – Copy Formula from the Above Cell 
  • Ctrl+I OR Ctrl+3 – Italicize or Remove Formatting 
  • Ctrl+U OR Ctrl+4 – Underline or Remove Formatting 
  • Ctrl+5 – Apply or Remove Strikethrough 
  • Ctrl+D – Fill Down (Copy Contents of Topmost Cell to Selected Cell) 
  • Ctrl+Shit+Tilde – General Number Format 
  • Ctrl+Shift+Dollar Sign – Currency Format 
  • Ctrl+Shift+ Percentage – Percentage Format (No Decimals) 
  • Ctrl+Shift+Carat(^) – Scientific Format (Two Decimals)  
  • Ctrl+Shift+# – Date Format (Day, Month, Year) 
  • Ctrl+Shift+@ – Time Format (AM or PM) 
  • Ctrl+Shift+! – Number Format (Teo Decimals, Thousands Separator, Negative Values) 
  • Ctrl+K – Insert Hyperlink 
  • F7 – Check Spelling of Selected Range 
  • Ctrl+Shift+U – Expand or Collapse the Formula Bar 
  • Shift+9 – Calculate Active Worksheet 
  • Ctrl+Alt+F9 – Calculate All Worksheets 
  • Alt+Equal(=) – Insert AutoSum 
  • Alt+F1 – Insert Embedded Chart of the Selected Range 
  • F11 – Create a Chart of the Selected Range in a New Sheet 
  • Alt+F8 – Create, Run, Edit, or Delete a Macro 
  • Ctrl+Space – Select Current Column 
  • Shift+Space – Select Current Row 
  • F1 – Display Excel Help  
  • F2 – Edit Selected Cell 
  • F4 – Repeat Last Edit 
  • Alt+H,O,I – Autosize Columns  
  • Alt+Enter – New Line, Same Cell 
  • Ctrl+Backspace – Go to Active Cell 
  • Ctrl+[ – Select Cells Directly Referenced by Formulas in a Given Section 
  • Ctrl+Shift+J – List Constants 
  • Shift +F3 – Find Previous 

Why Use Excel Shortcuts? 

Did you get all that? Probably not, we know.  

Memorizing and training with Excel shortcuts is a difficult task and, with such a steep learning curve ahead of you, might not seem entirely worth it – especially if you don’t use Excel daily.  

However, once you get in the hang of it, we expect that you’ll find Excel shortcuts an incredibly useful tool for organizing, maintaining, and creating more meaningful spreadsheets. Studies show that using Excel shortcuts can save the average user up to 47 hours of working time a year. These simple keyboard commands alone are an easy way to become more efficient.  

What’s more, applying shortcuts can also reduce errors and mitigate the risk of redundancy. By crafting more intricate, more intelligent spreadsheets from the get, you lessen your chances of having to redo them in the future. The cleaner and more accurate your spreadsheets are, the more use your business is likely to get from them, too.  

Be Excellent with EMPIST 

Excel shortcuts are a quick way to improve efficiency at work, but they aren’t the only way.  

EMPIST offers tailored technology solutions to save your business time, money, and stress in big ways and small. From cloud solutions to cybersecurity, managed services to business process improvement, we offer strategic leadership on all things tech to help businesses small and large grow into their goals.  

To learn more about EMPIST’s IT services, you can check out our portfolio online. To get started with an EMPIST expert now, contact us here.