Top 5 Excel Keyboard Shortcuts

Excel Keyboard Shortcuts – My Top 5 List

There is, I assure you, a very high degree of correlation between amount of time you spend on Excel, and the number of Excel keyboard shortcuts you know. Over time, it becomes especially aggravating to move your hands from the keyboard and on to your mouse in order to use some feature or the other in Excel. It might seem like a trifling thing to begin with, but those seemingly inconsequential seconds can add up to become entire eras in their own right.

Which is why keyboard shortcuts are a blessing from above, and which is why you should know as many as possible. I’ll let you in on a little secret though: even power users have their own personal favorites that they just can’t do without! And in this tutorial on MS Excel, I am going to talk about my personal top five keyboard shortcuts. They aren’t rocket science, each of these five, but if you integrate them into your routine while working on Excel, you’ll soon find yourself saving a lot of time.

  1. Alt+E+S: The Paste Special is a tool that has saved many an Excel user from collapsing in a heap on the psychiatrist’s couch, and with good reason. It allows you to copy cells over with special tips and tricks, such as pasting cells and retaining only the values, or only the formats, – or what-have-you. You can even paste the data after transposing it, that is, you can copy a row of data, and paste it as a column. But invoking the magic in Excel can be done by either clicking on the little black triangle under Paste on the Home ribbon…

or by hitting Alt+E+S. And once you have practiced it a bit, you’ll see that the keyboard shortcut works a lot better and a lot faster. Go ahead, practice it for a while, we’ll wait.

2. CTRL+Pg Up and CTRL+Pg Dn: This one took me a while to get used to actually, and I’ll admit, it was immensely frustrating until I did make it a habit. Windows users have been indoctrinated thoroughly into using Alt + Tab when they want to switch windows – and the natural tendency of Excel users is to hit that same combination of keys if they want to switch sheets in an Excel file. Except, of course, it doesn’t quite work that way. To switch sheets, you need to hit CTRL+ Pg Up or CTRL + Pg Dn. Keep this Excel 2010 keyboard shortcut in mind to save yourself the trouble of going “Arrrgghh!” every few minutes or so. I speak from personal experience!

3. Alt+W+V+G: Spreadsheets sans gridlines look much better than, well spreadsheets non-sans gridlines. And the way to remove gridlines in Excel is to use your mouse, head on over to the “View” tab, and click on the Gridlines button and uncheck it.

Or, in another, easier world, hit Alt+W+V+G, and get on with the task at hand – pronto!

4. Alt+N+K: Rare indeed is the Excel user who does not create a chart at least once a day, right? Excel has, by now, a positively bewildering variety of chart options, and most of us end up using one variant or the other in the course of our work. Accessing the chart wizard is done by hitting the following combination of keys: Alt+N+K. They other, and rather laborious process, involves going over to the Insert Ribbon and choosing the relevant chart.

You see that little arrow in the lower right corner? That’s where they’ve hidden the Chart Wizard. Isn’t the keyboard shortcut much simpler?

5. Alt+= : I’ve saved the best for the last. This little fella whom I’m about to introduce has been convenience itself practically every time I have opened Excel. Say you happen to have a column (or a row, this will work in either case) of data, which needs to be summed. Like so:

More often than not, one’s thoughts will stray to the summation button on the Home tab in this case:

But there’s a neater trick! Select the cell just below the data which needs summing up, and hit Alt and the “=” key. And there you have it – data summed up, just like that!

These aren’t the only five keyboard shortcuts in Excel around; not by a long way. In fact, there are lots, lots more – but these happen to be my personal favorites.

What about you? Do you have any tips and tricks about keyboard shortcuts that you just can’t do without? Do let us know in the comments!