Common Shortcuts in Excel to Help Increase Efficiency

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 16 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Shortcuts in Excel refer to using certain keyboard buttons to perform routine functions in Excel quickly. It can help to save time and improve work efficiency. If you use Excel professionally or personally, then learning how to use shortcut keys may improve your productivity. In this article, we list some common shortcuts of Excel.

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Why use shortcuts in Excel?

Using shortcuts in Excel allows you to perform functions and navigate between cells and spreadsheets quickly. Since Excel offers a lot of functions, if you can master these shortcut keys, it can help improve productivity. Shortcut keys are also useful when you're using a laptop without an external mouse. It's harder to click and drag or navigate among cells with a laptop mouse pad, but when you're using shortcut keys, you can easily perform functions by simply pressing keys on your keyboard. Here are some common Excel shortcuts categorised by their functions:

General shortcuts

These keyboard shortcut keys allow you to perform basic functions in Excel, such as opening or saving a file. You can also use many of these shortcuts in other Microsoft Office applications. Here are some commonly used Excel shortcuts you can press on your keyboard for basic functions:

  • Create a new workbook: Select "Ctrl+N" or "⌘+N".

  • Open workbook: Select "Ctrl+O" or "⌘+O".

  • Save workbook: Select "Ctrl+S" or "⌘+S".

  • Save as: Select "F12" or "⌘+⇧+S".

  • Close current workbook: Select "Ctrl+W" or "⌘+W".

  • Print file: Select "Ctrl+P" or "⌘+P".

  • Open options: Select "Alt+F+T" or "⌘+".

  • Open help: Select "F1" or "⌘+/".

  • Undo last action: Select "Ctrl+Z" or "⌘+Z".

  • Redo last action: Select "Ctrl+Y" or "⌘+Y".

  • Repeat last action: Select "F4" or "⌘+Y".

  • Copy selection: Select "Ctrl+C" or "⌘+C".

  • Paste selection: Select "Ctrl+V" or "⌘+V".

Navigation

These shortcut keys on the keyboard can help you navigate among cells, spreadsheets and worksheets:

  • Move one cell to the left: Press "→".

  • Move one cell to the right: Press "←".

  • Move one cell up: Press "↑".

  • Move one cell down: Press "↓".

  • Move one screen to the left: Press "Alt+PgUp" or "Fn+⌥+↑".

  • Move one screen to the right: Press "Alt+PgDn" or "Fn+⌥+↓".

  • Move one screen up: Press "PgUp" or "Fn+↑".

  • Move one screen down: Press "PgDn" or "Fn+↓".

  • Move to the left edge of the data region: Press "Ctrl+←" or "^+←".

  • Move to the right edge of the data region: Press "Ctrl+→" or "^+→".

  • Move to the top edge of the data region: Press "Ctrl+↑" or "^+↑".

  • Move to the bottom edge of the data region: Press "Ctrl+↓" or "^+↓".

  • Move to the first cell in the worksheet: Press "Ctrl+Home" or "Fn+^+←".

  • Move to the last cell in the worksheet: Press "Ctrl+End" or "Fn+^+→".

Extending selections

Here are some shortcuts on the keyboard to help you extend your selections of cells:

  • Extend selection by one cell to the left: Type "Shift+←" or "⇧+←".

  • Extend selection by one cell to the right: Type "Shift+→" or "⇧+→".

  • Extend selection by one cell up: Type "Shift+↑" or "⇧+↑".

  • Extend selection by one cell down: Type "Shift+↓" or "⇧+↓".

  • Extend selection to the last cell left: Type "Ctrl+Shift+←" or "^+⇧+←".

  • Extend selection to the last cell right: Type "Ctrl+Shift+→" or "^+⇧+→".

  • Extend selection to the last cell up: Type "Ctrl+Shift+↑" or "^+⇧+↑".

  • Extend selection to the last cell down: Type "Ctrl+Shift+↓" or "^+⇧+↓".

  • Extend selection left one screen: Type "Alt+Shift+PgUp" or "Fn+⇧+⌥+↑".

  • Extend selection right one screen: Type "Alt+Shift+PgDn" or "Fn+⇧+⌥+↓".

  • Extend selection up one screen: Type "Shift+PgUp" or "Fn+⇧+↑".

  • Extend selection down one screen: Type "Shift+PgDn" or "Fn+⇧+↓".

  • Extend selection to start of row: Type "Shift+Home" or "Fn+⇧+←".

  • Extend selection to the first cell in the worksheet: Type "Ctrl+Shift+Home" or "Fn+^+⇧+←".

  • Extend selection to the last cell in the worksheet: Type "Ctrl+Shift+End" or "Fn+^+⇧+→".

Alter formatting

You can try these shortcut keys on the keyboard to format your cells and text:

  • Change format of selected cells: Press "Ctrl+1" or "⌘+1".

  • Apply or remove bold: Press "Ctrl+B" or "⌘+B".

  • Apply or remove italics: Press "Ctrl+I" or "⌘+I".

  • Apply or remove underlining: Press "Ctrl+U".

  • Apply or remove strikethrough: Press "Ctrl+5" or "⌘+⇧+X".

  • Align centre: Press "Alt+H+A+C" or "⌘+E".

  • Align left: Press "Alt+H+A+L" or "⌘+L".

  • Align right: Press "Alt+H+A+R" or "⌘+R".

  • Indent: Press "Alt+H+6" or "^+⌥+Tab".

  • Remove indent: Press "Alt+H+5" or "^+⌥+⇧+Tab".

Manipulating cell content or cells

Here are some common shortcuts you can press on the keyboard related to individual cells:

  • Insert a cell comment: Press "Shift+F2" or "⌘+Shift+F2".

  • Copy cell contents: Press "Ctrl+C" or "⌘+C".

  • Copy and delete cell contents: Press "Ctrl+X" or "⌘+x".

  • Paste into a cell: Press "Ctrl+V" or "⌘+V".

  • Select active cell only: Press "Shift+Backspace" or "⇧+Delete".

  • Toggle the paste special dialogue box: Press "Ctrl+Alt+V" or "⌘+Option+V".

  • Enter data and move to the left: Press "Shift+Tab" or "⇧+Tab".

  • Enter data and move to the right: Press "Tab".

  • Enter data and move to the next cell down: Press "Enter" or "Return".

  • Enter data and move to the next cell up: Press "Shift+Enter" or "⇧+Return".

  • Enter data without moving: Press "Ctrl+Enter" or "^+Return".

  • Insert current date into a cell: Press "Ctrl+;" or "^+".

  • Insert current time into a cell: Press "Ctrl+Shift+:" or "⌘+;".

  • Cancel entry: Press "esc".

  • Delete to the left of the cursor: Press "Backspace" or "Delete".

  • Delete to the right of the cursor: Press "Delete" or "Fn+Delete".

  • Remove cell content: Press "Delete".

  • Fill down cells with the same content and format: Press "Ctrl+D" or "⌘+D".

Manipulating rows and columns

These shortcuts on the keyboard can help you work with rows and columns:

  • Select a row: Type "Shift+Space".

  • Select a column: Type "Ctrl+Space".

  • Insert rows or columns: Type "Ctrl+Shift++" or "⌘+⇧++".

  • Hide selected rows: Type "Ctrl+9" or "⌘+9".

  • Unhide a hidden row: Type "Ctrl+Shift+(" or "⌘+Shift+(".

  • Hide selected columns: Type "Ctrl+0" or "⌘+0".

  • Unhide selected columns: Type "Ctrl+Shift+)" or "⌘+Shift+)".

  • Delete rows or columns: Type "Ctrl+Shift+-" or "⌘+⇧+-".

Formulas and functions

Formulas and functions are important elements in Excel. Formulas refer to calculations that users input into a formula cell, like basic addition and subtraction. Functions are usually more complex calculations. Excel offers a set of functions, like general functions including SUM, AVERAGE, COUNT and IF, and functions specific to industries like finance, statistics and engineering. Users can also create functions according to their needs.

When you process a large set of data, using the right formula in Excel can significantly improve your work efficiency and avoid inaccurate calculations. You can also mix and match different formulas and functions to suit your needs. Here are a few useful shortcuts you can press on the keyboard for inserting or working with formulas:

  • Toggle absolute and relative references: Press "F4" or "⌘+T".

  • Open the insert function dialogue box: Press "Shift+F3" or "Fn+⇧+F3".

  • Autosum selected cells: Press "Alt+=" or "⌘+⇧+T".

  • Toggle formulas: Press "Ctrl+" or "^+".

  • Insert function arguments: Press "Ctrl+Shift+A" or "^+⇧+A".

  • Enter array formula: Press "Ctrl+Shift+Enter" or "^+⇧+Return".

  • Calculate worksheets: Press "F9" or "Fn+F9".

  • Expand or collapse the formula bar: Press "Ctrl+Shift+U" or "^+⇧+U"

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Pivot tables

A pivot table can help users analyse and summarise a large amount of data. Creating a pivot table can generate charts and graphs to compare and visualise your data, making it easier for people to understand. Many professionals use pivot tables to analyse data more efficiently. Here are some shortcuts you can press on the keyboard for creating and editing pivot tables:

  • Create pivot table on a new worksheet: Type "F11" or "Fn+F11".

  • Create pivot table on an existing worksheet: Type "Alt+F1".

  • Group pivot table items: Type "Alt+Shift+→" or "⌘+⇧+K".

  • Ungroup pivot table items: Type "Alt+Shift+" or "⌘+⇧+J".

  • Hide pivot table item: Type "Ctrl+-".

  • Open pivot table wizard: Type "Alt+D+P" or "⌘+⌥+P".

Related: How to List Microsoft Office Skills on a Resume (With Examples)

Ribbons

Ribbons in Excel refer to the toolbar you see on the top of your screen. Excel's ribbon includes everything you need when working on an Excel file, like functions and formulas, formatting and page layout. You can press these shortcuts on the keyboard to use Excel's ribbon:

  • Expand or collapse ribbon: Press "Ctrl+F1" or "⌘+⌥+R".

  • Activate access keys: Press "Alt".

  • Move to next ribbon control: Press "Tab".

  • Move to the previous button: Press "Shift+Tab" or "⇧+Tab".

  • Accept and Confirm: Press "Enter" or "Return".

Worksheets and workbooks

Here are some shortcuts you can press on the keyboard to select worksheets and workbooks:

  • Insert new worksheet: Press "Shift+F11" or "Fn+⇧+F11".

  • Go to the next worksheet: Press "Ctrl+PgDn" or "Fn+^+↓".

  • Go to the previous worksheet: Press "Ctrl+PgUp" or "Fn+^+↑".

  • Go to next pane: Press "F6" or "Fn+F6".

  • Go to the previous pane: Press "Shift+F6" or "Fn+⇧+F6".

  • Go to the next workbook: Press "Ctrl+Tab" or "^+Tab".

  • Go to the previous workbook: Press "Ctrl+Shift+Tab" or "^+⇧+Tab".

  • Minimise workbook window: Press "Ctrl+F9" or "⌘+M".

  • Maximise workbook window: Press "Ctrl+F10" or "Fn+^+F10".

  • Select adjacent worksheets: Press "Shift+Click" or "⇧+Click".

  • Select non-adjacent worksheets: Press "Ctrl+Click" or "⌘+Click".

  • Toggle scroll lock: Press "ScrLk" or "Fn+⇧+F14".

  • Toggle fullscreen: Press "^+⌘+F".

Refreshing data

When you have formulas, functions or pivot tables in your Excel file, it's important to refresh them after you've entered new data to update your calculations. Here are some shortcut keys you can press on the keyboard for refreshing Excel's functions:

  • Stop a refresh operation: Select "Esc".

  • Refresh data in the current worksheet: Select "Ctrl+F5".

  • Refresh all data in the workbook: Select "Ctrl+Alt+F5".

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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