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Shortcuts

Shortcuts are keyboard-only keystroke sets that operate Excel commands.  As you become more proficient in using Excel, you’ll want to keep your hands on the keyboard to become more productive - moving over to the mouse, finding the cursor, moving it correctly and then completing your operation become too time-consuming and annoying. Excel implements all the standard shortcuts you expect, plus a bunch of specialty keyboard shortcuts.  A pretty comprehensive list of them is available here, listed by keystroke.  Another list, somewhat shorter, by objective, is available here. Below, I’ll list the standard shortcuts I use everyday.  Master these, then move on to the more esoteric. Switch between two applications or Excel windows ALT + TAB Highlight the current area of contiguous cells CTRL + SHIFT + 8 Highlight all cells to the (direction) CTRL + SHIFT + ARROW       (for example, CTRL + SHIFT + RIGHT ARROW selects all the cells        to the right of the current cell) Copy CTRL + C Paste CTRL + V Cut CTRL + X Notice these three commonly-used shortcuts are located right next to each other on the keyboard - makes it easy to use them in combination. New workbook CTRL + N Save CTRL + S Undo CTRL + Z Redo CTRL + Y Every user’s best friend - undo.  Remember that you CAN’T undo after a save or after invoking a macro. Italicize font CTRL + I Bold font CTRL + B Underline font CTRL + U Underlining is very seldom used - better in almost all cases to use the border tool to underline the cell. This next set of commands is Excel-specific, and looks at how to “commit” a formula (in other words, you’ve typed in a formula in a cell, and want to go to another cell.  How do you exit the formula?) Commit formula ENTER Commit formula and keep the cursor ON the active cell CTRL + ENTER This is great if you want to format the cell after you are finished with the formula Commit Array formula CTRL + SHIFT + ENTER Array formulas are very powerful, but rarely used.  I’ll explain them elsewhere on this site, and also explain why you don’t want to use them. Edit cell F2 I use this all the time.  When you revisit an existing formula, use F2 instead of double-clicking with the mouse Set Absolute reference (aka “$”) F4 Another must-know.  Instead of typing in all the “$” to create absolute references, click the F4 key as follows: One click Column and row absolutes Two click Row-only absolutes Three click Column-only absolutes Four click Remove all absolutes Five click Same as One click... Calculate worksheet F9 A common requirement if you have a slow computer or huge file; set your calculation method to Manual, then click F9 every time you want to recalculate the workbook. Quick Access Tab QAT before clicking ALT QAT after clicking ALT This is a bit different.  The commands in your quick access tab (QAT) can be accessed by clicking the ALT key, then a number.  For example, in my QAT, the third command is SAVE.  ALT + 3 will save the workbook.  ALT + 4 will “Save as” and “ALT + 5” will undo.  Clearly, I should remove those commands from my QAT, as they are redundant with existing shortcuts. Note that, after we get to command “9”, we now have command “09”.  Press and release the 0 (zero) and then press and release the 9 - DON’T hold them down together. Once you find the commands you use the most which don’t have easy (or any) shortcuts, add them to your QAT.