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Learning keyboard shortcuts can boost your productivity and could save you hours each month. Using the keyboard instead of the mouse can be quicker, easier, and more efficient.

When it comes to Excel, keyboard shortcuts pack quite a punch. They can make or break your experience with Excel. By mastering a handful of Excel keyboard shortcuts, you may find your Excel experience dramatically improving.

In this article, we cover some of our favourite Excel shortcuts! Note, these shortcuts are for PC users.

Table of Contents

  • Keyboard Shortcuts for Editing and Formatting
  • Keyboard Shortcuts for Data Manipulation
  • Keyboard Shortcuts for Moving and Scrolling
  • Keyboard Shortcuts for Working With Rows and Columns
  • Keyboard Shortcuts for Functions
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Conclusio

Keyboard Shortcuts for Editing and Formatting

You might find yourself constantly editing and formatting a spreadsheet to get it looking presentable.

Imagine a spreadsheet with text and numbers spilling from one cell into the next – not nice. It may not just look bad. It may also be unreadable.

Like most of the Microsoft Office suite, Excel includes many editing options. From wrapping text in a cell to applying colours and font features like Bold or Underline, there is so much you can do. And guess what, there’s a keyboard shortcut for nearly all of these!

The most frequently used keyboard shortcuts are probably cut, copy, and paste, which is a great place to start. Also, these shortcut keys are the same across the Microsoft Office suite.

CTRL + X – Cut Selected Cells

This shortcut allows you to cut a cell or several selected cells. It also cuts the contents of those cells, whether it is text, values, formulas, etc. It then puts them on a clipboard to paste them into a different worksheet, workbook, or program that supports this function.

Cut selected cells with Excel shortcuts

CTRL + C – Copy The Text Or Value In A Workbook

Ctrl + C is one of the most used Excel shortcuts. You can use it to copy texts, pictures, values, etc., and paste them in Excel or any other program on your computer that supports pasting from Excel. You can then use another shortcut key to paste…

CTRL + V – Paste Content From Clipboard

Once you have copied your content using the Ctrl + C shortcut, this gets placed on the clipboard, and you can paste it by using Ctrl + V. This function isn’t limited to Excel but works across Microsoft Office and lots of other places.

CTRL+SHIFT+V – Excel Paste Special

This shortcut makes it easy to paste specific elements of the copied cells. You can also use it to perform mathematical functions with copied data. The Paste Special shortcut provides a wide range of powerful features to leverage for a better experience when using Microsoft Excel.

In the example below, the cells C2 and D2 contain the result of the formula applied there. However, when copied and pasted onto cell D2, the formula is copied and not the value. To copy the value instead, we’d use ‘Paste Special’, and then select ‘Value’.

Another option with Paste Special is to Transpose. Transpose allows us to paste a row as a column or a column as a row – pretty neat.

Using Paste Special Excel shortcut

CTRL + I – Apply or Remove Italics

You can add or remove Italics using Ctrl + I. Excel will also italicize any text you type after using this shortcut. You can also italicize text you’ve already typed by highlighting it and applying this shortcut.

Applying bold with Excel shortcut

CTRL + B – Apply or Remove Bold

Ctrl + B makes a text Bold or Unbold. Again, this will apply to any text you after, or you can use it on existing text.

Selecting text to strikethrough on Excel

CTRL + 5 – Strikethrough

The Strikethrough shortcut in Excel allows you to strikethrough specific text. Very helpful if you are making edits but don’t want to delete things just yet. You can apply the strikethrough shortcut to one or multiple cells by selecting the cells and pressing CTRL + 5.

Keyboard shortcuts for data manipulation

Keyboard Shortcuts for Data Manipulation

In Excel, you’ll often need to find, replace, and duplicate data. With keyboard shortcuts, you can do all these things in half the time.

CTRL + F – Find Data

This shortcut will open the ‘find’ dialogue box. This function enables you to search for anything in a worksheet or workbook. Once the dialogue box is open, simply search for your keyword.

CTRL + H – Replace Data

Opening the ‘replace’ dialogue box is easy with the CTRL + H shortcut. You can find any word you want, replace it using this shortcut, and save yourself some valuable time.

Replacing data with Excel shortcuts

CTRL + G – Display Go To Dialog Box

This shortcut opens the Go To dialogue box. It saves time by taking you straight to the cells you’d like.

Displaying Go To dialogue box Excel shortcut

CTRL + Z – Undo The Last Action

Probably the most helpful keyboard shortcut EVER. Ctrl + Z reverses your previous action. You can toggle it multiple times to undo more than one action. A word of warning – ensure your Excel file isn’t in edit mode (F2) as it won’t work in that instance.

CTRL + Y – Redo The Last Action

You can also redo the undone action using the CTRL + Y shortcut. However, this action can only function if there’s something you’ve just undone!

Redo last action Excel shortcut

CTRL + D – Duplicate Cells

If you want to quickly copy a value in a cell to multiple adjacent cells, you can highlight the range (either with the mouse or by holding shift + the arrow keys). Press Ctrl + D to quickly duplicate the first cell into your range!

Duplicating cells Excel shortcut

CTRL + K – Insert a Hyperlink

To insert a hyperlink, press CTRL+K. Next, a dialogue box appears to enter the website’s display name and paste the URL.

Inserting hyperlink Excel shortcut

Keyboard Shortcuts for Moving and Scrolling

While working with Excel, we keep moving in all directions inside the spreadsheet to access a table or perform calculations. To make the navigation easier and faster, try the following shortcuts.

TAB and SHIFT+TAB – Move forward and backward

You can move forward or backward across cells by pressing TAB (forwards) or SHIFT+TAB (back).

Move forward and backward Excel shortcut

CTRL+Home and CTRL+End – Going to the First Cell and Last Cell

Navigate to the first cell in your worksheet using CTRL+Home and the last cell in the current worksheet using CTRL+End.

Going to first cells Excel shortcut

Going to last cells Excel shortcut

Keyboard Shortcuts for Working with Rows and Columns

SHIFT+Space and CTRL+Space – Select an entire column Select an entire row

To select an entire column press SHIFT+Space and press CTRL+Space to select a row.

Selecting an entire column or row Excel

CTRL+SHIFT+= – Insert row and column

When working with data in a table, if you wish to insert a row or column, press CTRL+SHIFT+=. You will see a selection box prompting you to select whether you want to insert a row or a column. Then, choose and press enter to insert.

Inserting row or column Excel shortcut

Deleting row or column Excel shortcut

CTRL+- – Delete row or column

Press CTRL+- to delete a row or a column. A message box will appear, prompting you to select whether to delete a row or a column. Select an option and press enter.

CTRL+9 and CTRL+SHIFT+9 – Hide and unhide rows

You can hide rows or columns easily using Ctrl + 9 to hide and Ctrl + Shift + 9 to unhide.

Hiding rows Excel shortcut

Unhiding rows Excel shortcut

CTRL+L – Insert a table

Use Ctrl + L to create a table from your data. Note, Ctrl + T does the same thing. If you haven’t selected any data to turn into a table, Excel will look for the closest available and suggest that.

Inserting a table Excel shortcut

Simple functions Excel shortcut

Simple Functions

ALT+= – To calculate the sum.

The most common formula in Excel is a SUM. And, guess what, there is a keyboard shortcut for that too!

Simply select an empty cell next to the last value in the range you wish to sum, and press Alt +=, then Enter.

Calculating sum Excel shortcut

CTRL+SHIFT+L – Sort

You can sort data in a table either in ascending or descending order. You can also perform a custom sort. Select any cell in the table and then press CTRL+SHIFT+L to bring up the filter options, and the same to toggle it off again.

Once your filter is available, press the ALT+down arrow to navigate it.

Sorting with Excel shortcut

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can I see keyboard shortcuts easily in excel?

Open the Excel spreadsheet and press the Alt button.

Viewing keyboard shortcuts Excel

To open the tab and view its features, press ALT+the tab’s alphabet. For example, if you wish to access the tab Data, press ALT+A. Similarly, the keyboard shortcut to access the File tab is ALT+F.

When selected, the features in the Data tab appear as below. And the keyboard shortcuts for each component are also available. For example, if you wish to group a set of cells, press ALT+G.

Viewing Excel shortcuts

2. What is the purpose of F1 to F12 keys in Excel?

The function keys at the top of the keyboard are useful shortcuts in all Microsoft Office applications. Here is a comprehensive list of what they do!

Function Key Action
F1 Opens Help
F2 Moves the insertion point to the end of the active cell.
F3 Displays the Paste Name dialog box
F4 Repeats the last action
F5 Displays the Go To dialog box
F6 Switches between worksheets
F7 Opens the spell check dialog box
F8 Turns extend mode on or off
F9 Refreshes calculations across all worksheets
F10 Activates the menu bar
F11 Creates a chart of the selected data
F12 Save As

Conclusion

This guide highlighted the most frequently used keyboard shortcuts in Excel. The more you practice these shortcuts, the easier it will be to master them. You can also check our guides to learn more about the function keys and try to use them.