Tech Tip: The Best Excel Shortcuts


Microsoft Excel is the premier spreadsheet software, but unless you know keyboard shortcuts and formulas, it can be cumbersome and tricky to get the most value out of this software solution.

Thankfully — with just a few keystrokes — you too can achieve mastery over Microsoft Excel. Here are some of the most popular and useful keyboard shortcuts for this spreadsheet system:

  • Cut: Ctrl + X
  • Copy: Ctrl + C
  • Paste: Ctrl + V
  • Open a Workbook: Ctrl + O
  • Close a Workbook: Ctrl + W
  • Save a Workbook: Ctrl + S
  • Undo: Ctrl + Z
  • Navigate between cells and menu options: Arrow Keys
  • Expand/Collapse Ribbon: Ctrl + F1
  • Move to the beginning of the worksheet: Ctrl + Home
  • Move to the next sheet in the workbook: Ctrl + Page Down
  • Move to the previous sheet in the workbook: Ctrl + Page Up

Entering Information in Cells

You can also use various keyboard shortcuts to enter values into your cells:

  • Enter the current time: Ctrl + Shift + :
  • Enter the current date: Ctrl + ;
  • Apply the General Number format: Ctrl + Shift + ~
  • Apply the Currency format with two decimal places: Ctrl + Shift + $
  • Apply the Percentage format with no decimal places: Ctrl + Shift + %
  • Apply the Scientific number format with two decimal places: Ctrl + Shift + ^
  • Apply the Date format with the day, month, and year: Ctrl + Shift + #
  • Apply the Time format with the hour and minute, and AM or PM: Ctrl + Shift + @
  • Apply the Number format with two decimal places, thousands separator, and minus sign for negative values: Ctrl + Shift + !

As you might expect, this is only a small fraction of what Excel can do if you know enough about it. If you want even more keyboard shortcuts in addition to these, Microsoft details even more of them on its website.

Alan Edwards, CISM, is chief information officer at Computerware, Inc., in Vienna, Virginia.

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