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Best Excel Keyboard Shortcuts for Beginners | Tips and Tricks

Sharyn Baines

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! 😁👍🙌💥

Excel Keyboard Shortcuts Cheat Sheet PDF

The Absolute Essential 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

CTRL + S

To Save your file 

CTRL + Z

To Undo

CTL + C

To Copy the selected data

CTRL + X

To Cut the selected data

CTRL + V

To Paste the data you recently Cut or Copied

CTRL + P

To go to the File, Print screen

CTRL + O

To go to the File, Open screen 

CTRL + N

To create a New workbook (file)

CTRL + Spacebar

To select the entire column

SHIFT + Spacebar

To select the entire row

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

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 of the worksheet

CTRL + End

Move to the last cell of the worksheet (most bottom right cell)

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

F5

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

Shortcut keys to Select Quickly

Shortcut keys to help you select like a pro!

Use this shortcut

to do this

SHIFT + click

Select from the current cell to the cell you click

SHIFT + (arrow keys)

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

SHIFT + CTRL + (arrow keys)

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

CTRL + A

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

SHIFT + CTRL + End

Select from the selected cell to the last cell in the worksheet

SHIFT + CTRL + Home

Select from the selected cell to the first cell, A1

Shortcut keys to Update Quickly

Shortcut keys to help you save precious time.

Use this shortcut

to do this

CTRL + F

Locate data within your workbook quickly using Find

CTRL + H

Find and Replace data

CTRL + D

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

CTRL + R

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

F4

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

CTRL + 9

Hide entire row

CTRL + 0

Hide entire column

SHIFT + CTRL + 9

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

ALT, H, O, U, L

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

Shortcut keys to Format Quickly

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

Use this shortcut

to do this

CTRL + B

Bold

CTRL + I

Italics

CTRL + U

Underline

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

ALT + SHIFT + F1

Inserts a new worksheet

ALT + ENTER

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

Shortcut keys to Edit Quickly

Shortcut keys to help you make speedy changes.

Use this shortcut

to do this

F2

Press to edit directly inside a cell

ESC

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 shortcut keys

Super handy when you need them.

Use this shortcut

to do this

CTRL + ;

(semi colon) Press to insert today's date

CTRL + '

(apostrophe) Press to copy the cell above

ALT + V, F, F

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

CTRL + ALT + V, V, ENTER

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

ALT + ;

Highlights visible cells. Use this to quickly locate hidden rows/columns

CTRL + Click

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

SHIFT + CTRL + L

Turn Filtering on/off

F5

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

ALT + =

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

Teach yourself shortcuts

Excel Search and shortcuts to improve your speed.

Use this shortcut

to do this

ALT + Q

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

ALT

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

Right-click any button on the Ribbon. Select 'Add to Quick Access Toolbar'. 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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