When I sat down to write a blog post tonight (okay, okay, you got me, I was laying in my bed), I wanted to share a set of tips that could supercharge ANY spreadsheet maker’s work. So what could be better than SHORTCUTS? For repetitive functions, selecting cells, and navigating around a spreadsheet, shortcuts will make a heck of a difference, and they might impress your changemakin’ buddies, to boot!
Here are 5 Excel shortcuts you shouldn’t live without!
NOTE: I am borrowing screen grabs from the kind folks at Exceljet (they have a listicle with 222!!!). In the images below, the commands on the LEFT refer to Microsoft computers and the commands on the RIGHT refer to Apple computers.
1. “To the left, to the left”
Ok, ok, I know this screen grab shows the “right” version but it’s the same idea for the “left version” and how could I miss an opportunity to quote Beyonce???
Instead of clicking a cell and dragging my mouse across the spreadsheet to “select” more cells, I use key stroke combinations ALL THE TIME to jump to the last cell that has any content, and then jump to the last row so that I can get all of my data in “one fell swoop.” This is especially useful if you have columns going out to AQ and you don’t want to have to scroll all the way over.
- If you want to NAVIGATE to the farthest Right column, you can click anywhere and then click CTRL + arrow key.
- If you want to navigate to the farthest right cell AND SELECT every cell in between, you’ll hit CTRL + Shift + arrow key.
2. Apply within
This is one example of MANY for applying formatting preferences without having to use your mouse or the navigation menus. Music to my ears! Just “select” the cells that should be formatted as currency, and then select CTRL + Shift + $ and watch the data change before your very eyes!
Variations of this shortcut include:
- CTRL + % to “format as percent”
- CTRL + # to “format as date”
3. Hide and seek
Hiding columns is very useful if you have more info that you need to see, or you want to quickly navigate and skim a spreadsheet. However, UNHIDING columns can be a bit annoying because you have to drop to the very last option in a right-click menu on your mouse. Instead of going to all that trouble, why not use a shortcut?
- CTRL + Fn + 0 (hide columns)
- CTRL + Shift + 0 (unhide columns) Depending on your operating system, you might need to troubleshoot this one by changing a few settings (I did!) but I think it’s worth it.
4. Opening Pandora’s (dialogue) box
Entering functions into Excel for simple math or complex logic can get confusing QUICKLY. In fact, we’ve barely even dabbled in formulas so far on TDAA! One tip that I find really helpful is to use the “Insert Function” dialogue box because it prompts you to select all of the function inputs necessary for smooth calculating. Good thing there’s a shortcut for that – because the long way involves 2, whole, clicks (click Formulas (toolbar) and then “Insert Function), and the shortcut is instantaneous!
If I’m on my regular non-laptop keyboard, I use the shortcut included in the image above (Shift + F3) however if I’m on my laptop, I have to add Shift + Fn + F3 (because F3 on its own is my volume button and my computer defaults to that use, which is good, because I use F3 to adjust my headphone volume WAY more than I use it to open the Insert Function dialogue box!)
5. Next level nerd
At my last job, I was privileged to attend several in-person Excel trainings and the swag they passed out were Excel shortcut MOUSEPADS. Yes, my friends! You could have some of these as a visual cue at your work station AT. ALL. TIMES. What are you waiting for? This version isn’t the same (and ugh Amazon…), but I think it gets the point across. Ok, so who’s makin’ custom printed mousepads so that we could get a bunch printed and keep the $$ in our communities?
Did I mention that there’s 218 other keyboard shortcuts in the Exceljet article? Read it and reap, y’all! Whats your favorite? Right me a note or leave a comment – I might even write a follow up post later this summer!