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50 Easiest Excel Shortcut Keys for 2024

50 Easiest Excel Shortcut Keys for 2024
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Whether you’re an expert or a beginner, these shortcuts help to transform the way you use the power of Excel, making your data-driven decision-making easier. In this blog, we will look into some of the easiest Excel shortcut keys that help us save time and effort, making you a more efficient and productive Excel user. 

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What is Microsoft Excel?

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet software that organizes data into rows and columns. It helps with calculations, data analysis, and visualization through functions and tools like SUM, AVERAGE, and charts. Excel allows collaboration, data import/export, and connects to external sources. It is widely used in various industries for managing, analyzing, and presenting data effectively.

What is a spreadsheet?

A spreadsheet refers to a software tool used to orderly arrange and manage data in a tabular form. It consists of rows and columns forming cells that contain text, numbers, or formulas. Spreadsheets are used for various purposes, such as performing calculations, analyzing data, and presenting information. By implementing formulas and functions, users execute mathematical operations, which can help to accomplish tasks for activities like budgeting, inventory management, and statistical analysis.

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What are Excel Shortcut keys?

Excel shortcut keys are rapid commands initiated by keyboard combinations, providing users with swift means to execute tasks within Microsoft Excel. These shortcuts offer efficient navigation through the software, command execution, and the performance of various functions, eliminating reliance on the mouse or menu options. They enable users to speed up tasks such as cell and worksheet navigation, as well as the efficient execution of formulas or functions. 

Proficiency in these shortcuts not only enhances productivity but also contributes to a seamless user experience, streamlining interactions with the software.

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Why Do We Need Shortcut Keys in Excel?

Using keyboard shortcuts in Excel is a game-changer for productivity. Learning these quick commands streamlines tasks like formatting, copying, and navigating within spreadsheets. With regular practice and a bit of customization, these shortcuts become a seamless part of your Excel routine, boosting efficiency and saving valuable time.

Let’s discuss the shortcut keys in Excel in detail:

Basic Keyboard Shortcuts in Excel

Here are some basic shortcut keys in Excel defined below :

  1. Ctrl + N: This shortcut creates a new, blank workbook. It is a quick way to start a fresh project without navigating through the File menu.
  2. Ctrl + O: Use this to open an existing workbook. It brings up the file explorer, allowing you to navigate to and select the Excel file you want to work on.
  3. Ctrl + S: Saves your current work. It’s crucial to use this often to prevent losing data. If the workbook hasn’t been saved before, it will open the Save As dialog box.
  4. Ctrl + P: Opens the print options. This is useful when you need a hard copy of your data or charts for reports or meetings.
  5. Ctrl + C: Copies the selected cells, including any data, formulas, and formatting. It’s essential for duplicating or moving content within a workbook.
  6. Ctrl + X: Cuts the selected cells. Unlike copying, cutting removes the content from the original location once pasted elsewhere.
  7. Ctrl + V: Pastes content from the clipboard into the selected cell(s). Works in conjunction with the copy and cut functions.
  8. Ctrl + Z: This is the undo function. It’s incredibly useful if you make a mistake or change your mind about a recent action.
  9. Ctrl + Y: Redo function. If you undo something and then decide you want that action back, this is the shortcut to use.
  10. Ctrl + F: Opens the Find tool. This is handy when you are looking for specific data in large spreadsheets.
  11. Ctrl + H: Opens the Find and Replace tool. This is perfect for quickly changing specific data entries across your workbook.
  12. Ctrl + A: Selects all cells in your current worksheet. It is a quick way to apply changes or formatting to the entire sheet.
  13.  Ctrl + Arrow Key: This moves your cursor to the last cell of data in the direction of the arrow key. It’s a time-saver for large datasets.
  14.  Ctrl + Shift + L: Quickly applies or removes filters from your data headers. This is useful for analyzing specific subsets of data.
  15.  Alt + E, S, V: Opens the Paste Special dialogue, which provides various options for how pasted data should be formatted and processed.

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Keyboard Shortcuts to Enter Data And Formulas

Using keyboard shortcuts to enter data and formulas in Excel can greatly enhance your efficiency and speed. Here are some key shortcuts designed for these purposes:

  1. Enter: After typing data or a formula in a cell, pressing Enter will confirm the entry and move the selection to the cell below.
  2. Tab: Similar to Enter, but it moves the selection to the next cell to the right after confirming the entry.
  3. Shift + Enter: Confirms your entry and moves the selection to the cell above.
  4. Shift + Tab: Confirms your entry and moves the selection to the cell to the left.
  5. Ctrl + ; (semicolon): Inserts the current date into the active cell.
  6. Ctrl + Shift + ; (semicolon): Inserts the current time into the active cell.
  7. Alt + =: Automatically inserts the SUM function. When used in a cell below a column of numbers or to the right of a row of numbers, Excel will guess the range you want to sum and insert it for you.
  8. F2: Edits the active cell and positions the cursor at the end of the cell’s contents. It’s also useful for editing formulas.
  9. Ctrl + A (when in a formula): Opens the Function Arguments dialogue box when the insertion point is within a function in a formula.
  10. Ctrl + Shift + A (when in a formula): Inserts the argument names and parentheses for a function, after you type a function name in a formula.
  11. Ctrl + R: Fills the data or formula in the leftmost cell of the selected range into the rest of the cells in the range to the right.
  12. Ctrl + D: Fills the data or formula in the topmost cell of the selected range into the rest of the cells in the range downwards.
  13. Ctrl + ` (grave accent): Toggles between displaying cell formulas and their values in the worksheet.
  14. Ctrl + Shift + “+”: Opens the Insert dialog to insert blank cells.
  15. Ctrl + “-“: Opens the Delete dialog to delete selected cells.

Keyboard Shortcuts to Navigate in Excel

Navigating efficiently in Excel is important, especially when working with large spreadsheets. Keyboard shortcuts can significantly speed up this process. Here are some key shortcuts for navigation:

  1. Arrow Keys: Move one cell up, down, left, or right in a worksheet.
  2. Ctrl + Arrow Key: Moves to the edge of the current data region in a worksheet. For instance, Ctrl + Down Arrow moves to the bottom-most cell in the current column that contains data.
  3. Ctrl + Home: Moves to the beginning of a worksheet – specifically, the top-left cell (usually A1).
  4. Ctrl + End: Moves to the last cell on a worksheet, in the lowest used row of the rightmost used column.
  5. Page Up/Page Down: Moves one screen up or down in a worksheet.
  6. Alt + Page Up/Page Down: Moves one screen to the right or left in a worksheet.
  7. Ctrl + Page Up/Page Down: Moves to the previous or next worksheet in the workbook.
  8. Tab: Moves one cell to the right in a worksheet. Shift + Tab moves one cell to the left.
  9. Ctrl + Backspace: Scrolls the worksheet to display the active cell while keeping the cell selected.
  10. Alt + Arrow Right/Arrow Left: In a workbook with grouped worksheets, this shortcut navigates through the groups to the right or left.

Keyboard Shortcuts With the Ctrl+Shift Keys

Combining Ctrl and Shift keys with other keys in Excel creates powerful shortcuts for selecting and manipulating data efficiently. Here are some useful Ctrl + Shift keyboard shortcuts:

  1. Ctrl + Shift + Arrow Key: Extends the selection of cells to the last non-blank cell in the same row or column as the active cell, or if the next cell is blank, to the next non-blank cell.
  2. Ctrl + Shift + L: Toggles the filter on and off for the current data range or table.
  3. Ctrl + Shift + “+”: Inserts a new cell, row, or column, depending on the current selection.
  4. Ctrl + Shift + O: Selects all cells that contain comments in a worksheet.
  5. Ctrl + Shift + U: Expands or collapses the formula bar.
  6. Ctrl + Shift + F: Opens the Format Cells dialog with the Font tab selected.
  7. Ctrl + Shift + $: Applies the currency format with two decimal places to the selected cells.
  8. Ctrl + Shift + %: Applies the percentage format with no decimal places to the selected cells.
  9. Ctrl + Shift + #: Applies the date format with the day, month, and year to the selected cells.
  10. Ctrl + Shift + @: Applies the time format with the hour and minute, AM or PM, to the selected cells.

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What are Excel shortcut keys?

Shortcut keys in Excel are quick combinations of keystrokes that perform specific functions without using the mouse. These shortcuts help navigate, format, and manage data more efficiently within Excel.

How do I learn Excel shortcut keys?

Learning Excel shortcut keys involves practice and repetition. Start with common shortcuts for tasks like copy (Ctrl+C), paste (Ctrl+V), and save (Ctrl+S). Gradually explore and incorporate more complex shortcuts as you become familiar with the basics.

Can I customize Excel shortcut keys?

Yes, Excel allows the customization of shortcuts. You can modify existing shortcuts or create new ones by accessing the Excel Options and navigating to the Customize Ribbon section.

What are the benefits of using shortcut keys in Excel?

Using shortcut keys in Excel significantly enhances productivity. They save time by eliminating the need to navigate menus, allowing quick execution of commands, formatting, and navigation within spreadsheets.

Where can I find a list of Excel shortcut keys?

You can find a comprehensive list of Excel shortcut keys in various resources, like Excel’s official documentation, online tutorials, or by searching for downloadable cheat sheets. These references provide a handy guide to help you memorize and utilize shortcuts effectively.

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About the Author

Principal Data Scientist

Meet Akash, a Principal Data Scientist who worked as a Supply Chain professional with expertise in demand planning, inventory management, and network optimization. With a master’s degree from IIT Kanpur, his areas of interest include machine learning and operations research.