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Best Excel Keyboard Shortcuts for Beginners | Tips and Tricks

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Learn the BEST Excel keyboard shortcuts. Perfect for Beginners and for those who want to save time and work smarter.

It doesn't matter if I'm delivering a Stage 1 or a Stage 3 Excel training course - when I'm demonstrating to the class I whip around the screen, format, select and modify and update using shortcut keys.

And 9 times out of 10 someone will ask me, "how did you just do that, what was the shortcut you just used"?

Just recently I ran a workshop where I was showing the class how to quickly select large ranges of data using shortcut keys (see the  'Selecting Quickly' shortcuts below).

We were 10 minutes into the session and the manager told me the time he would be saving just using the shortcuts was worth more than the price of the course! How great is that?

I LOVE sharing shortcuts, because I LOVE using them.

Hence the reason I have created for you this post, outlining my most favourite shortcut keys AND why I have created the 'Cheat Sheet' quick reference PDF download for you too.

If you want to start saving time, download the Cheat Sheet and then choose 3 to 4 shortcuts each week to practice. Before you know it they will become habit, you will be saving a heap of time, and YOU will have people asking you "how did you just do that" 🙂

BTW, check out the shortcut key combination to insert emojis in the 'Fun to Know' section. I use this a lot! 😄👍👌🌺

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A list of over 70 SHORTCUTS you need to know to become a proficient user of Excel

Best Excel Shortcuts Cheat Sheet

The Absolute Essential Excel shortcut keys

Shortcut keys that everyone should have in there 'tool-kit'. You're going to use these a lot!!

Use this shortcut

to do this


To Save your file. F12 for Save As 


To Undo. CTRL + Y will Redo


To Copy the selected data


To Cut the selected data


To Paste the data you recently Cut or Copied


To go to the File, Print screen


To go to the File, Open screen


To create a New workbook (file)

ALT + I, C

To insert a new column

ALT + I, R

To insert a new row

CTRL + -

(minus symbol)

To delete a row or column. Use after you have selected the row or column to be deleted

Excel shortcut keys to Move Quickly

Shortcut keys to help you move and navigate with speed!

Use this shortcut

to do this

CTRL + Page Up

or Page Down

Move to the previous worksheet or next worksheet. Include SHIFT to select at the same time

CTRL + (arrow keys)

Move to the edge of the current table of data, in the direction of the arrow pressed

CTRL + Home


Move to the beginning and the end of the worksheet


Move to column A on the row you are currently on

Page Up

Move one screen up

Page Down

Move one screen down

ALT + Page Down

Move one screen right

ALT + Page Up 

Move one screen left


To open the Go To dialog box. Enter the cell address you want to move to.Press ENTER.

Excel shortcut keys to Select Quickly

Shortcut keys to help you select like a pro!

Use this shortcut

to do this


To select the entire column

SHIFT + Spacebar

To select the entire row

SHIFT + click

Select from the current cell to the cell you click

SHIFT + (arrowkeys)

Select one cell at a time in the direction of the arrow key pressed

SHIFT + CTRL (arrow keys)

SHIFT + CTRL(arrow keys)

CTRL + Click


CTRL + .

Press CTRL while clicking on additional ranges to include them in the one selection

Select a cell inside a data table then press to select the entire table.Outside of a table use to select the entire worksheet

Move to the corners of a selected area



Select to the last cell in the worksheet

Select to the first cell in the worksheet

SHIFT + CTRL + Page Up or Page Down

Select and group worksheets to the left or right

Excel shortcut keys to Update Quickly

Shortcut keys to help you save precious time.

Use this shortcut

to do this


Locate data within your workbook quickly using Find


Find and Replace data



Fill data down or to the right through selected cells. Select the cell and the range you want to copy to first


Repeat the last thing you did. For example if you have just inserted a row press F4 to continue inserting more rows

CTRL + 9

CTRL + 0

Hide entire row

Hide entire column


ALT, H, O, U, L

Unhide rows. Select rows on either side of hidden row(s) first

Unhide columns. Select columns on either side of hidden column(s) first

Excel shortcut keys to Format Quickly

Shortcut keys for a 'super quick' make-over.

Use this shortcut

to do this







CTRL + ~

Apply the General number format

CTRL + !

Apply the Number format with 2 decimal places & thousands separator

CTRL + #

Apply a dd-mmm-yy date format

CTRL + $

Apply the Currency format with 2 decimal places & thousands separator

CTRL + %

Apply a Percentage format, no decimal places

CTRL + 1

Open the Format Cells dialog box

ALT + H, B, A

Apply 'All Borders' to the selected area

ALT + H, B, N

Remove Borders from the selected area


Inserts a new worksheet


Add another line inside a cell, i.e. wrap to another line

Excel shortcut keys to Edit Quickly

Shortcut keys to help you make speedy changes.

Use this shortcut

to do this


Press to edit directly inside a cell


Press to cancel a selected area when using Copy or press to cancel an entry in the cell or Formula bar

F4 (to lock a cell reference and make it absolute)

In the Formula bar, highlight the cell address and then press F4. Keep pressing until you have the absolute setting you require, e.g. $A$3

Super handy Excel shortcut keys

Super handy when you need them.

Use this shortcut

to do this

CTRL + ;

CTRL + '

(semi colon) Insert today's date. +SHIFT inserts the time.

(apostrophe) Copy the cell above

ALT + V, F, F

Turn on/off Freeze Panes. Freezes from the selected cell


Paste Values. Use CTRL + C to copy prior to using this shortcut

ALT + ;

Selects visible cells only. Use to quickly locate hidden rows/columns or to select and copy only visible cells without including hidden data


Hide and display the Ribbon


Turn Filtering on/off

ALT + down arrow

Access a drop-down list of content options within the same column


To open the Go To dialog box. Enter the cell address you want to move to

ALT + = 

SUM a range. Be sure that you have selected ALL of the cells to be included in the total

Teach yourself Excel shortcuts

Excel Search and shortcuts to improve your speed.

Use this shortcut

to do this


Press to access the Search box. Type what you want to do. Let Excel take over. Available in newer versions of Excel only

Screen tip key combinations

Move your mouse over any button on the Ribbon to see the keyboard shortcut combination that will activate it. Not all buttons have this


Press ALT to display onscreen shortcuts to access Ribbon tabs and buttons, e.g. ALT, H, B will access the Border gallery

Add buttons to the QAT to create your own shortcuts

Click the Customize Quick AccessToolbar button > More Commands, or right-click any button on the Ribbon to add buttons to the Quick AccessToolbar. Now press ALT and the QAT number to use it.

Fun to know shortcut

Off topic...but fun! 🙂 😆 💥👍

Use this shortcut

to do this

Windows button + period (full-stop)

To insert an emoji, press the Windows button + period (full stop). Use your arrow key to select the emoji you want and press ENTER. To search for an emoji, start typing what you are searching for and Windows will try to find a match 🙂

Sharyn is an expert trainer.  She became the first certified Microsoft® MOUS Authorised Instructor in New Zealand.

She is endorsed by Microsoft® as a qualified Microsoft® Office Specialist and has more than 20 years of experience in the training industry, developing and delivering technology training workshops. Her approach to taking the “techie-speak” out of technology training has placed her as a preferred supplier to many of New Zealand’s leading organisations.

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