Microsoft Excel is extensively used across the globe to store and analyze data. Despite various new data analytics tools in the market, Excel remains the go-to product for working with data. It has numerous in-built features, which makes it easier for you to organize your data. 

The shortcut keys in Excel help you work on your data in a jiffy. In this article, we’ll be discussing the various Excel shortcuts. These keyboard shortcuts are used to perform tasks faster and effectively.

What is Microsoft Excel? 

Although many of you are already aware of Excel, let’s have a small introduction anyways. Microsoft Excel is an application developed by Microsoft that is used to record, analyze, and visualize data. Excel, a spreadsheet application, was developed by Microsoft in 1985.


Fig: Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet

Data in Excel is in the form of rows and columns. Excel is commonly used to record and analyze data, perform mathematical operations, and visualize structured data in charts and graphs. Finally, another important application of Excel is that it helps in automating tasks through excel macros. 

To perform the tasks mentioned above quickly, Excel has a set of shortcuts. Various operations can be achieved with a few simple keyboard strokes. Let’s dive deep into the Excel shortcuts that can help us work better on an Excel spreadsheet.

Need for Excel Shortcuts

Excel supports a plethora of keyboard shortcuts that help you work efficiently and increase productivity. Instead of accessing the toolbar with a mouse, two or three keystrokes are used to perform significant functions. Isn’t that easier and time-saving? Using Excel shortcuts drastically increases the speed, and thus reduces work-time. 

Now the question is, if you have to memorize these shortcuts, the answer is no. However, it would be an advantage if you can remember a few of them. With regular practice, you will be able to remember most of the common Excel shortcuts.

Let’s now look at the Excel shortcuts cheat sheet, which you should know when working on Microsoft Excel. In this article, we have categorized 50 Excel shortcuts based on their operations. First, we will look at the workbook shortcut keys.

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Workbook Shortcut Keys

In this section, we will understand the basics of operating a workbook. We will learn how to create a new workbook, open an existing workbook, and save a spreadsheet so that you don’t lose any data or calculations that you have done. We will then go through how you can toggle between several different sheets in a workbook. 


Excel Shortcuts 

1. To create a new workbook

Ctrl + N

2. To open an existing workbook

Ctrl + O

3. To save a workbook/spreadsheet

Ctrl + S

4. To close the current workbook

Ctrl + W

5. To close Excel

Ctrl + F4

6. To move to the next sheet

Ctrl + PageDown

7. To move to the previous sheet

Ctrl + PageUp

8. To go to the Data tab

Alt + A

9. To go to the View tab

Alt + W

10. To go the Formula tab

Alt + M

Those were the Excel shortcuts that can help you navigate through your spreadsheet. Once the workbook creation is done, the next key step is cell formatting.

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Cell Formatting Shortcut Keys

A cell in Excel holds all the data that you are working on. Several different shortcuts can be applied to a cell, such as editing a cell, aligning cell contents, adding a border to a cell, adding an outline to all the selected cells, and many more. Here is a sneak peek into these Excel shortcuts.


Excel Shortcuts 

11. To edit a cell


12. To copy and paste cells

Ctrl + C, Ctrl + V

13. To italicize and make the font bold

Ctrl + I, Ctrl + B

14. To center align cell contents

Alt + H + A + C

15. To fill color

Alt + H + H

16. To add a border

Alt + H + B

17. To remove outline border

Ctrl + Shift + _

18. To add an outline to the select cells

Ctrl + Shift + &

19. To move to the next cell


20. To move to the previous cell

Shift + Tab

21. To select all the cells on the right

Ctrl + Shift + Right arrow

22. To select all the cells on the left

Ctrl + Shift + Left Arrow

23. To select the column from the selected cell to the end of the table

Ctrl + Shift + Down Arrow

24. To select all the cells above the selected cell

Ctrl + Shift + Up Arrow

25. To select all the cells below the selected cell

Ctrl + Shift + Down Arrow

In addition to the above-mentioned cell formatting shortcuts, let’s look at a few more additional and advanced cell formatting Excel shortcuts, that might come handy. 

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We will learn how to add a comment to a cell. Comments are helpful when giving extra information about cell content. We will also learn how to find value and replace it with another value in the spreadsheet. After this, we will look into how to insert the current time, current date, activate a filter, and add a hyperlink to a cell. Finally, we will see how to apply a format to the data in a cell.


Excel Shortcuts 

26. To add a comment to a cell

Shift + F2

27. To delete a cell comment

Shift + F10 + D

28. To display find and replace

Ctrl + H

29. To activate the filter

Ctrl + Shift + L

Alt + Down Arrow

30. To insert the current date

Ctrl + ;

31. To insert current time

Ctrl + Shift + :

32. To insert a hyperlink

Ctrl + k

33. To apply the currency format

Ctrl + Shift + $

34. To apply the percent format

Ctrl + Shift + %

35. To go to the “Tell me what you want to do” box

Alt + Q

After working with cell formatting Excel shortcuts, the next step is to understand how to work with an entire row/column in Excel. 

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Row and Column Formatting Shortcut Keys

In this section, we’ll look at some critical row and column formatting shortcuts.

We will understand how to delete rows and columns, hide and unhide the selected rows and columns, and group and ungroup rows and columns.


Excel Shortcuts 

36. To select the entire row

Shift + Space

37. To select the entire column

Ctrl + Space

38. To delete a column


39. To delete a row

Shift + Space, Ctrl + - 

40. To hide selected row

Ctrl + 9

41. To unhide selected row

Ctrl + Shift + 9

42. To hide a selected column

Ctrl + 0

43. To unhide a selected column

Ctrl + Shift + 0

44. To group rows or columns

Alt + Shift + Right arrow

45. To ungroup rows or columns

Alt + Shift + Left arrow

Now that we have looked at the different shortcut keys for formatting cells, rows, and columns, it is time to jump into understanding an advanced topic in Excel, i.e. dealing with pivot tables. Let’s look at the different shortcuts to summarize your data using a pivot table.

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Pivot Table Shortcut Keys

First, let’s create a pivot table using a sales dataset.

In the image below you can see that we have a pivot table to summarize the total sales for each subcategory of the product under each category.


Fig: Pivot table using sales data

46. To group pivot table items

Alt + Shift + Right arrow

The image below depicts that we have grouped the sales of bookcases and chairs subcategories into Group 1.


47. To ungroup pivot table items

Alt + Shift + Left arrow

48. To hide pivot table items

Ctrl + -

You can see below we have hidden the Chairs, Art, and Label subcategories.


49. To create a pivot chart on the same sheet

Alt + F1

50. To create a pivot chart on a new worksheet



Fig: Pivot chart on the same sheet

Have a look at the video below that explains worksheet related shortcuts, row and column shortcuts, and pivot table shortcut keys.

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Excel shortcut keys will indeed help you build your reports and analysis faster and better. After reading this article, you would have understood the different types of Excel shortcuts related to the workbook, cell formatting, row and column formatting, and pivot tables. 

To kick-start your fruitful career in Excel, enroll in Business Analytics with Excel course.

We hope you find these hacks useful and can easily master these shortcut keys by working on excel regularly. Do you have any questions related to this article? If so, then please put it in the comments section of the article and our experts will get back to you at the earliest. 

About the Author

Shruti MShruti M

Shruti is an engineer and a technophile. She works on several trending technologies. Her hobbies include reading, dancing and learning new languages. Currently, she is learning the Japanese language.

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