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Top 49 of the Best Excel Shortcuts You Need to Know

Excel is a very intuitive tool, you just have to learn about a bazillion shortcuts for it.

Almost everyone uses Excel in some form or fashion in the modern workforce. But, as it turns out, many of us may be wasting a little too much time trying to format those pesky spreadsheets.

In order to help you work a little bit faster, or maybe more efficiently, we have assembled 49 of the best Excel shortcuts that you really need to know.

1. F2: Edit selected cell

One of the handiest Excel shortcuts can be accessed by simply pressing F2. This Excel shortcut will enter cell edit mode with the cursor at the end of the cell. This will prove invaluable for making quick changes.

2. F4: Repeat the last edit

Another powerful Excel shortcut is making good use of the F4  key. This will repeat your last action or edit. If you want to repaste something again or repeat a formula insert, this key will save you a ton of time.

3. CTRL + ALT + F9: Calculates all worksheets

Using this Excel shortcut force calculates all worksheets that have open workbooks. This works for all of them even those that have not changed since the last calculation. A handy Excel shortcut not to be sniffed at. 

4: Ctrl + 1: Open the format cells dialog box

This shortcut opens the format cells dialog box so that you can quickly make changes to the appearance of your cells. 

5. F11: New chart

Using F11 is a handy and quick way to create a new chart without having to navigate through Excel's native toolbars. When you have data selected and press F11, a default chart will automatically appear with the selected data inside.

6. ALT: Access the ribbon for formulas

excel shortcuts screenshot
Source: Erik Eckel/Flickr

Pressing the ALT key makes small letters appear on the toolbar ribbons. These are called KeyTips which will help you navigate the ribbons using only your keyboard. Using CTRL + F1 will toggle the display of the Ribbon.

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7: ALT +  = : Automatically insert the SUM() function

The SUM() function is quite possibly one of Excel's most useful formulas. And this shortcut makes it even handier. 

If you have a block of data and you want to add all of the columns and the rows, using this command will Autosum the data and put all of the equations in one swoop. Make sure you include a spare column on the right and a spare row on the bottom for the summation data.

8. ALT + EnterStart a new line in the same cell

This shortcut is handy for those of us who need to put a lot of data into one cell. It essentially functions as a line break inside of a cell. If you need to write a large paragraph inside a worksheet, knowing this function is essential.

9. ALT + H + O + I: Autosize columns

excel shortcuts autofit columns
Source: BigOakFlickr/Flickr

This shortcut functions as more of a sequence. First press Alt + H to navigate to the home tab. Then type O to select the format menu (while still holding Alt). Then type I to autofit the column width.

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Be careful, however, as if you are typing too fast you may accidentally skip one of the keys. For example, the most common slip-up is missing the O, which may paste the last thing saved on Excel's clipboard. 

10. CTRL + PgUp: Go to the next worksheet

This command switches worksheet tabs to the right. Simple and effective. 

11. CTRL + PgDn: Go to the previous worksheet

This command switches worksheet tabs to the left, obviously. 

12. CTRL + ` : Display Formulas

By using this Excel shortcut you can quickly switch between displaying a cell's formula and its values in a snap. Alternatively, you can simply click on the cell to view its formula in the top formula bar.

13. CTRL + Backspace: Show active cell

excel shortcuts show formulae
Source: Collin Anderson/Flickr

If you have absolutely no idea where the active cell your working on is because you scrolled so far, this one is for you. Pressing CTRL + Backspace will quickly navigate your window right back to the active cell.

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This shortcut really is a lifesaver. 

14. CTRL + Shift + #: Change date format with the day, month, and year

This shortcut quickly gives you access to the default date format.

15. CTRL + K: Insert a hyperlink

First, you need to select where you want a hyperlink to appear. Then press these keystrokes and the insert hyperlink box appears, making the process that much easier.

16. CTRL + Shift + $: Applies the currency format to the selected cells

If you quickly want to change a cell to the currency format, you can select it and hit this shortcut. It will apply to multiple cells as well, if you have them selected.

17. Ctrl + Shift + U: Expand or collapse the formula bar 

excel shortcuts formula bar
Source: Isriya Paeireepairit/Flickr

This shortcut expands or collapses the formula bar, a useful tool when you're moving about a variety of workspaces and inspecting cells.

Very handy indeed.

18. CTRL + Shift + &: Applies border to cells

Instead of navigating through endless menus, use this Excel shortcut to quickly add borders to the cells you have selected. Borders are generally a good idea to use if you want to organize your worksheet and make it appear more professional.

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This really does pay dividends in the long run. Plus it makes you feel nice and fuzzy on the inside. 

19. CTRL + B: Bold/unbold text

Use this to quickly bold or unbold a cell or text.

20. CTRL + I: Italicize/un-italicize text

Use this to quickly italicize or un-italicize a cell or text.

21. CTRL + U: Underline text

Use this to quickly underline or un-underline a cell or text.

22. Ctrl + Shift + _ : Remove cell borders

This shortcut removes the outline border to a selected cell or range. 

23. CTRL + Shift + ~ : General style number

This command styles your cell to a general style number.

24. CTRL + Shift + % : Percentage style a number

excel shortcuts percentage
Source: Dirk Stoop/Flickr

This command styles your cell to a percentage style number. Make sure your original number has the right number of decimals. For example, if you want 20 percent, you will need to have .2 in the cell before formatting.

Alternatively, insert a formula to calculate percentages and then format as needed. 

25. CTRL + Shift + ^ : Scientific notation style

Working with a big number? Use this shortcut to quickly convert to scientific notation. This useful for all us engineers out there.

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26. CTRL + Shift + @ : Time style

This shortcut will give you quick access to the time of day style and allow you to add it into a cell.

27. CTRL + Shift + ! : Number style

Using this will give you access to a cells number style.

28. CTRL + F12: Open another workbook

Forgot that the data you needed was in another workbook? Hit this shortcut and quickly open the open file dialog box. 

29. CTRL + SpacebarSelect the entire column

excel shortcuts spacebar
Source: Ben Hutchison/Flickr

Instead of using your mouse to click on the header, use this shortcut to automatically select the entire column that you are working in.

This is really, really, useful. 

30. CTRL + [: Select all cells directly referenced by formulas in the selection

This shortcut is especially useful in Excel worksheets that have seemingly endless formulas. If you quickly want to see what cells are referenced in another cell, use this Excel shortcut to see them.

31. CTRL + ;: Insert the current date in the active cell

Can't get a date? Hit this shortcut to get one quickly. Sadly, this one only works in Excel, not real life.

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32. CTRL + Shift + ; : Insert current time in active cell

Need to remember exactly when you input some data into your spreadsheet? Using this function will place the exact current time in a cell of your choosing.

33: Ctrl + 0: Hide those pesky columns

Utilize this shortcut to hide any columns you currently have selected.

34: Alt + H + D + C: Delete selected columns

excel shortcuts delete columns
Source: Matt McGee/Flickr

This combo-shortcut can be used to delete columns. Make sure you first hit the Alt key and then the other keys in succession to use this one. 

35. CTRL + A: Select all

If you are frustrated with your worksheet and just want to start over, use this shortcut to select all and delete. When the frustration abides and you want all your work back, just hit CTRL + Z and undo the last Excel operation, or operations.

Alternatively, you can use this shortcut to help you rapidly copy and paste all data from a table somewhere else. 

36. CTRL + Shift + J: List constants

Hitting this will list your properties/methods/constants within a worksheet. 

37. CTRL + D: Copy equation down

excel shortcuts ctrl key
Source: Rocco/Flickr

This command will make an exact copy of the formulas in the cell above it. Useful for repeating cells or if you want a new cell with a slightly altered formula quickly.

38. CTRL + F: Quickly access the mighty find function

Forgot where you put that crucial piece of data, use this shortcut to quickly find it.

39. CTRL + H: Find and replace

If you misspelled a word or just want to replace something with a new something, the find and replace function is the best way to go about it. This is also incredibly powerful for mass-changing formulas and large amounts of data. 

40. CTRL + Right arrow : Move right

Essentially, this pages right in your Excel worksheet.

41. CTRL + Left arrow: Move left

This does the same thing as the page right above, except it pages left.

42. Alt + Q: Let Excel help you out when in a bind

Do you ever find yourself stuck with no idea what to do in Excel? Utilize this shortcut to quickly land in the help search bar.

excel shortcuts keys
Source: nofrills/Flickr

43. CTRL + Up arrow: Move up

Use this function to page up in a worksheet.

44. CTRL + Down arrow: Move down

Use this function to page down in a worksheet, obviously. 

45. CTRL + Enter: Stay in your active cell

This handy shortcut lets you remain in the active cell after editing it, instead of moving to the next one down. 

46. Shift + SpacebarSelect the entire row

If you are working in a cell and realize you need to select the entire row that cell is in, hitting this Excel shortcut will automatically select the row. You can then delete the entire row or make whatever changes you think are necessary.

Alternatively, you can click on the row number on the left of the screen. 

excel shortcuts keyboard
Source: Jim Makos/Flickr

47. Shift + F3: Find Previous

If something in your data is starting to look a little repetitive, you can use this shortcut to make sure you aren't just going crazy. "Find Previous" is especially useful for finding patterns in a spreadsheet or seeing when something occurred before.

48: Some of the most frequently used shortcuts

All of the above are very handy, but for casual users, you may never actually need them. Here are some of the most common ones that everyone should take advantage of. 

To do this

Press

Close a workbook

Ctrl+W

Open a workbook

Ctrl+O

Go to the Home tab

Alt+H

Save a workbook

Ctrl+S

Copy

Ctrl+C

Paste

Ctrl+V

Undo

Ctrl+Z

Remove cell contents

Delete

Choose a fill color

Alt+H+H

49. Some handy pivot table shortcuts

Pivot tables are some of the most powerful data organization tools in Excel. If you use them a lot or just want to become a pivot table guru, take a look at the pivot table shortcuts below.

Key combination

Description

Right-click

Open the context menu for the selected cell, column, or row.

Ctrl+A

Select the entire table.

Ctrl+C

Copy selected data.

Ctrl+D

Delete the table.

Ctrl+M

Move the table.

Ctrl+R

Rename the table.

Ctrl+S

Save the file.

Ctrl+Y

Redo the last action.

Ctrl+Z

Undo the last action.

And that, Excel enthusiasts, is your lot for today. 

Using some of these shortcuts can seem tedious at first, but as soon as you get the motions down, it can speed up your work pace by a lot! All of these shortcuts should work on Windows machines, but Mac keystrokes will likely be different.

Some will be similar while others simply may not exist. But the principles behind operations stay the same.

If you are new to Excel, these tutorials may also prove helpful.

Interesting Engineering is a participant of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and various other affiliate programs, and as such there might be affiliate links to the products in this article. By clicking the links and shopping at partner sites, you do not only get the materials you need but also are supporting our website.

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