5 Ways to Save Time Using Excel Shortcut Keys

By Robert Half on May 1, 2014 at 7:00am

Microsoft leaving you shaking your head in frustration again? Here are five Excel shortcut keys that can help bring relief.

It’s another busy afternoon, and you have lots to do before calling it a day. One of your most pressing tasks: polishing off that Excel report your boss needs to present next week. Needless to say, you need to get it done as quickly as possible.

Fortunately, there is a wide array of shortcuts that can make it easy to create and format your spreadsheets.

By using some basic Excel tips and tricks, you can enhance your skills while increasing your productivity.

You can begin to excel at Excel with these five simple shortcuts:

1. Move with ease

When dealing with a large spreadsheet, it can be difficult to navigate your way through your work, and sometimes it’s even possible to forget where you are in the document! Microsoft’s online tutorials offer several Excel tips and tricks, among them keyboard shortcuts that can help you move around within your spreadsheets much faster. For example, if you need to get to the first or last cell in a column in a data region, simply press Ctrl+↑ to go to the top cell or Ctrl+↓ to go to the bottom cell. (Mac users: replace Ctrl with Cmd.)

2. Control your columns

Adding columns and rows is one of the most common Excel tasks. To make this task easier, simply use the control and minus or equal keys to add or delete columns or rows. To insert a column or a row adjacent to your cursor, press Ctrl+Shift+=. To delete the column or the row, press Ctrl+-. (Mac users: Ctrl+i to add, Ctrl+- to delete.)

3. Jump between worksheets

Working on multiple tabs simultaneously can be frustrating, especially if you have to flip from one to another repeatedly. Fortunately, there’s a shortcut that can help with that. To move to the worksheet to the right, press Ctrl+PgDn. To move to the worksheet to the left, use Ctrl+PgUp. (Mac users: Cmd+Fn+↑ to move right, Cmd+Fn+↓ to move left.)

4. Make it automatic

When inputting numbers or other data into several rows or columns, instead of typing the entire list over and over, a simple drag of the mouse can do the trick. Enter the data in one cell, then point your cursor to the bottom right corner of the cell until the cursor becomes a black plus (+) sign. Now drag the plus sign into the adjacent cells to populate them with the information.

5. Add ’em up

Need to total up figures quickly? Here’s another one of our handy Excel shortcut keys: Click an empty cell at the bottom of the column or the end of the row that contains the numbers you want to add. Then press Alt+=. Excel does the work and enters the sum for you. (Mac users: Cmd+Shift+T.)

Check back on the blog for future posts about Excel tips and tricks, including pointers for formulas and layouts. In the meantime, do you have any additional Excel shortcut keys to offer? Share them in the comments section below.

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