Excel Keyboard Shortcuts: The Complete Guide

Learning keyboard shortcuts can save you a lot of time when working in Excel.

Instead of navigating through the ribbons and menus, you can use simple key combinations to execute commands quickly.

In this guide, we will cover the most useful Excel keyboard shortcuts to help you become more efficient.

What are Keyboard Shortcuts?

A keyboard shortcut is a combination of two or more keys that you press at the same time to perform an action. For example, Ctrl + C is used to copy and Ctrl + V is used to paste.

Keyboard shortcuts provide an alternative to clicking menus and toolbar options to execute commands.

They help you save time and effort while working in any software program, especially Excel.

Why Should You Learn Keyboard Shortcuts?

Here are some key benefits of using keyboard shortcuts in Excel:

  • Saves time – Using shortcuts allows you to accomplish tasks faster instead of navigating through menus and toolbars. You can get more work done in less time.
  • Increases productivity – Once you memorize the common shortcuts, you don’t have to interrupt your workflow to use the mouse. This helps you stay focused.
  • Makes work easier – Shortcuts reduce the effort required to perform repetitive actions. With practice, using them becomes second nature.
  • Improve efficiency – Expert Excel users utilize shortcuts to work more efficiently. Learning them will help boost your overall skill level.

How to Learn Keyboard Shortcuts

Here are some effective tips to memorize the essential Excel shortcuts:

  • Start small. Don’t try to learn all shortcuts at once. Focus on the common ones first.
  • Print out a shortcuts cheat sheet and keep it handy as you work.
  • Make flashcards of the shortcuts and quiz yourself periodically.
  • Use the shortcuts instead of the mouse whenever possible. The more you practice, the better you will remember them.
  • Learn keyboard sequences for your most frequent tasks first.

Be patient as you train your fingers to adapt to the new shortcuts. With regular practice, you will establish muscle memory which will make using them automatic.

Must-Know Excel Keyboard Shortcuts

Now let’s go through the most useful Excel keyboard shortcuts you should know:

1. Navigation Shortcuts

These shortcuts allow quick navigation in spreadsheets:

Ctrl + Arrow KeysNavigate to the edge of current data region in a worksheet
Ctrl + Shift + Arrow KeysSelect cell range in the direction of the arrow keys
Ctrl + HomeGo to the beginning of a worksheet
Ctrl + EndGo to the bottom right corner of a used range in a worksheet
Page Up, Page DownScroll worksheet one page up or down
Alt + Page DownMove one screen to the right in a worksheet
Alt + Page UpMove one screen to the left in a worksheet
Ctrl + BackspaceTakes you back to the previous cell you edited

2. Formatting Shortcuts

Use these shortcuts to format and styles cells or ranges quickly:

Ctrl+ Shift +~Apply general number format
Ctrl + Shift + $Apply currency format with two decimal places
Ctrl + Shift + %Apply percentage format with no decimal places
Ctrl + Shift + ^Apply scientific number format
Ctrl + Shift + #Apply date format
Ctrl + Shift + @Apply time format
Ctrl + BMake text bold
Ctrl + IMake text italic
Ctrl + UMake text underline
Ctrl + 5Apply strikethrough effect
Alt + H + H + NApply normal number format
Alt + H + H + DApply date format
Alt + H + H + TApply time format
Alt + H + H + LApply currency format
Alt + H + H + PApply percentage format

3. Editing Shortcuts

Edit cell contents faster with these handy shortcuts:

F2Enter Edit mode in a cell
Alt + EnterStart a new line in a cell
Ctrl + CCopy selected cells
Ctrl + XCut selected cells
Ctrl + VPaste content from clipboard to selected cell
Ctrl + ZUndo last action
Ctrl + YRedo last action

4. Workbook Management Shortcuts

Operate workbooks and worksheets quicker using these shortcuts:

Ctrl + NCreate a new blank workbook
Ctrl + OLaunch open file dialog box to open an existing workbook
Ctrl + SSave active workbook
Ctrl + WClose current workbook window
Ctrl + TabSwitch between all open Excel workbooks
Ctrl + F4Close current Excel workbook window
Shift + F11Insert a new worksheet
Ctrl + Shift + F3Create a name for cell range

5. Formula Shortcuts

Speed up formula creation and calculation with these useful shortcuts:

=Enters formula edit mode
F4 after cell referenceToggle absolute and relative cell references
Ctrl + Shift + EnterMake a formula an array formula
Alt + =Automatically sum selected cells
Ctrl + ‘Display formulas instead of calculated results
Ctrl + Alt + VDisplays calculated value within formula
Ctrl + Shift + UExpand or collapse formula bar
Ctrl + ASelect all contents of worksheet
Ctrl + TDisplay Excel table tools contextual tab

This covers the most vital Excel shortcuts for daily usage.

Keep practicing them regularly along with the mouse actions. Very soon you will find yourself completing tasks quicker and increasing overall productivity!

Tips to Learn Shortcuts Faster

Here are some useful techniques to memorize the key combinations efficiently:

  • Identify your 3-5 most used Excel tasks and focus on their shortcuts first. For example – copy/paste, cell formatting, navigate sheets etc.
  • Install a shortcuts mapping software like KeyRocket to see which keys you press. It tracks usage and helps reinforce muscle memory faster through visualization.
  • Set reminders to quiz yourself on the shortcuts 2-3 times per day in the beginning. Test how many you can recall without checking references.
  • Make flashcards, print posters and place them in your office as visual clues until the sequences get imprinted in your mind.
  • Take small breaks to explicitly practice sets of Excel shortcuts for 15-20 minutes daily. The more you repeat, quicker they get wired in your fingertips.

Be patient with yourself initially. Like any skill, you will steadily improve shortcut recollection over the next few weeks of practicing this focused way.


Learning Excel keyboard shortcuts takes time and effort but it pays off hugely in terms of increased speed, reduced errors and better efficiency. The most successful Excel users utilize shortcuts for almost every operation to maximize productivity.

This guide covered the essential shortcuts for navigation, formatting, editing workbooks and formulas. Start applying these regularly instead of pointing and clicking everything with the mouse. Very soon you will gain mastery over Excel just like pros!

So stop hunting through the complex ribbons everytime you want to execute a command in Excel. Memorize these useful keyboard shortcuts instead for smooth sailing!

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