February 17, 2024

Excel Shortcuts Cheat Sheet to Boost Your Productivity

Excel is one of the most useful tools that anyone can have in their workspace. It turns processes that could take days or weeks into a task of just seconds and minutes. However, many users are not aware of all the options that this software offers to make all processes even easier and faster through the use of shortcuts.

Learning all the shortcuts may sound like quite a difficult task, but it is not necessary to do so if you have at hand a guide to quickly access them. For this reason, I've created this Excel shortcuts cheat sheet with the most useful and important shortcuts for whenever you need them.

Fundamental Excel Shortcuts for Beginners

There are a series of shortcuts that any Excel user should know. All these shortcuts will allow you to move information from one cell to another without the need to right-click on each. You can find them below:

  • Copy selection: Ctrl+C
  • Paste selection: Ctrl+V
  • Undo recent action: Ctrl+Z
  • Repeat the last command or action, if possible: Ctrl+Y
  • Remove cell contents: Delete
  • Cut selection: Ctrl+X
  • Close a workbook: Ctrl+W
  • Open a workbook: Ctrl+O
  • Go to the Home tab: Alt+H
  • Save a workbook: Ctrl+S
  • Open the Paste Special Dialog Box: Ctrl+Alt+V
  • Hide the selected rows: Ctrl+9
  • Hide the selected columns: Ctrl+0
  • Check spelling in the active worksheet or selected range: F7

Navigation Shortcuts in Excel

There are also certain tricks that will completely facilitate the work every time you want to move through the rows and columns. Here are the most important navigation shortcuts you should know:

  • Move one cell up in a worksheet. Up arrow key
  • Move one cell down in a worksheet: Down arrow key
  • Move one cell left in a worksheet: Left arrow key
  • Move one cell right in a worksheet: Right arrow key
  • Move to the edge of the current data region in a worksheet: Ctrl+Arrow key
  • Move to the previous cell in a worksheet or the previous option in a dialog box: Shift+Tab
  • Move to the last cell on a worksheet, to the lowest used row of the rightmost used column: Ctrl+End
  • Move to the beginning of a worksheet: Ctrl+Home
  • Move one screen down in a worksheet: Page down
  • Move to the next sheet in a workbook: Ctrl+Page down
  • Move one screen to the right in a worksheet: Alt+Page down
  • Move one screen up in a worksheet: Page up
  • Move one screen to the left in a worksheet: Alt+Page up
  • Move to the previous sheet in a workbook: Ctrl+Page up
  • Move one cell to the right in a worksheet. Or, in a protected worksheet, move between unlocked cells: Tab Key
  • Zoom in: Ctrl+Alt+Equal sign ( = )
  • Zoom out: Ctrl+Alt+Minus sign (-)
  • Scroll horizontally: Ctrl+Shift, then scroll your mouse wheel up to go left, down to go right

Formatting Shortcuts for Excel Data

Formatting in Excel can be done in a matter of seconds using shortcuts. The information in the data can be modified to make it much easier to read and understand, and it can be done very quickly with the following commands:

  • Italicize text or remove italic formatting: Ctrl+I or Ctrl+3
  • Bold text or remove bold formatting: Ctrl+B or Ctrl+2
  • Underline text or remove underline: Ctrl+U or Ctrl+4
  • Apply or remove strikethrough formatting: Ctrl+5
  • Switch between hiding objects, displaying objects, and displaying placeholders for objects: Ctrl+6
  • Apply an outline border to the selected cells: Ctrl+Shift+Ampersand sign (&)
  • Remove the outline border from the selected cells: Ctrl+Shift+Underscore (_)
  • Display or hide the outline symbols: Ctrl+8
  • Enter the current time: Ctrl+Shift+Colon (:)
  • Enter the current date: Ctrl+Semicolon (;)
  • Choose a fill color: Alt+H, H

Excel Shortcuts for Efficient Data Entry and Editing

It's no secret that the most time-consuming part of developing an Excel document is adding the required data, especially if you are dealing with massive amounts of information. Here are the most useful shortcuts to help you fill in and edit information more effectively:

  • Use the Fill Down command to copy the contents and format of the topmost cell of a selected range into the cells below: Ctrl+D
  • Apply the General number format: Ctrl+Shift+Tilde sign (~)
  • Apply the Date format with the day, month, and year: Ctrl+Shift+Number sign (#)
  • Apply the Time format with the hour and minute, and AM or PM: Ctrl+Shift+At sign (@)
  • Open the Insert hyperlink dialog box: Ctrl+K
  • Start a new line in the same cell: Alt+Enter
  • Invoke Flash Fill to automatically recognize patterns in adjacent columns and fill the current column: Ctrl+E
  • Fill the selected cell range with the current entry: Ctrl+Enter
  • Complete a cell entry and select the cell above: Shift+Enter

Formula-Related Shortcuts in Excel

One of the advantages of Excel when working with tasks involving large numbers is the possibility of automating a wide variety of calculations and functions. Here are some of the most useful shortcuts when working with formulas:

  • Expand or collapse the formula bar: Ctrl+Shift+U
  • Cancel an entry in the cell or formula bar: Esc
  • Complete an entry in the formula bar and select the cell below: Enter
  • Move the cursor to the end of the text when in the formula bar: Ctrl+End
  • Select all text in the formula bar from the cursor position to the end: Ctrl+Shift+End
  • Calculate all worksheets in all open workbooks: F9
  • Calculate the active worksheet: Shift+F9
  • Calculate all worksheets in all open workbooks, regardless of whether they have changed since the last calculation: Ctrl+Alt+F9
  • Apply the Currency format with two decimal places (negative numbers in parentheses): Ctrl+Shift+Dollar sign ($)
  • Apply the Percentage format with no decimal places: Ctrl+Shift+Percent sign (%)
  • Apply the Scientific number format with two decimal places: Ctrl+Shift+Caret sign (^)
  • Apply the Number format with two decimal places, thousands separator, and minus sign (-) for negative values: Ctrl+Shift+Exclamation point (!)
  • Insert the AutoSum formula: Alt+Equal sign ( = )
  • Switch between displaying cell values or formulas in the worksheet: Ctrl+Grave accent (`)
  • Copy a formula from the cell above the active cell into the cell or the formula bar: Ctrl+Apostrophe (')
  • Insert a function: Shift+F3
  • Create an embedded chart of the data in the current range: Alt+F1
  • Create a chart of the data in the current range in a separate Chart sheet: F11

Excel Shortcuts for Quick Data Selection and Management

The most logical thing if you are one of those who handle considerable volumes of data is that you also have to work with many rows and columns full of information that you will constantly need to edit and adjust. Here are some helpful shortcuts to do so:

  • Select the entire worksheet: Ctrl+A or Ctrl+Shift+Spacebar
  • Select the current and next sheet in a workbook: Ctrl+Shift+Page down
  • Select the current and previous sheet in a workbook: Ctrl+Shift+Page up
  • Extend the selection of cells by one cell: Shift+Arrow key
  • Extend the selection of cells to the last used cell on the worksheet (lower-right corner): Ctrl+Shift+End
  • Turn extend mode on and use the arrow keys to extend a selection. Press again to turn off: F8
  • Add a non-adjacent cell or range to a selection of cells by using the arrow keys: Shift+F8
  • Select an entire column in a worksheet: Ctrl+Spacebar
  • Select an entire row in a worksheet: Shift+Spacebar
  • Select all objects on a worksheet when an object is selected: Ctrl+Shift+Spacebar
  • Extend the selection of cells to the beginning of the worksheet: Ctrl+Shift+Home
  • Select the current region around the active cell: Ctrl+Shift+Asterisk sign (*)
  • Select the first command on the menu when a menu or submenu is visible: Home
  • Expand grouped rows or columns: While hovering over the collapsed items, press and hold the Shift key and scroll down.
  • Collapse grouped rows or columns: While hovering over the expanded items, press and hold the Shift key and scroll up.

Advanced Shortcuts for Expert Excel Users

Once you are familiar with Excel's shortcuts and tools, it is time to unlock its full potential, like discovering and creating custom macros. They are a series of commands that you can configure and automate. Here is a list of shortcuts to access some of the more advanced tools to use in Excel:

  • Create, run, edit, or delete a macro: Alt+F8
  • Open the View tab and preview page breaks and layouts, show and hide gridlines and headings, set zoom magnification, manage windows and panes, and view macros: Alt+W (while over the ribbon tab)
  • Open the Microsoft Visual Basic For Applications Editor: Alt+F11
  • Open the Power Query Editor: Alt+F12
  • Open the Insert tab and insert PivotTables, charts, add-ins, Sparklines, pictures, shapes, headers, or text boxes: Alt+N (while over the ribbon tab)
  • Open a context menu: Shift+F10 or Windows Menu Key
  • Display the Quick Analysis options for selected cells that contain data: Ctrl+Q
  • Display the Create Table dialog box: Ctrl+L or Ctrl+T
  • Open the Workbook Statistics dialog box: Ctrl+Shift+G

How to Create Your Own Shortcuts in Excel

There is no real way to create shortcuts in Excel, but there are some alternatives and end up working the same.

  1. Quick Access Toolbar

First, click on the dropdown menu on the Quick Access Toolbar 

Then, click on More Commands…

There, choose the command you want to create the shortcut for and click on Add >>

Once you see the command added, click on Okay. If you press the Alt key, you will see a number assigned to the desired command.

Now, you just have to press Alt + the number assigned to the command and voilà. You’ve sort of created a shortcut.

  1. Create Macros 

For this one, you simply look for the Record Macro option and select it. A box will appear where you’ll name the macro, choose the shortcut and add a description if you want to.

Once you click “OK”, do the action you want automated, and just like that you’ve created a macro. 


Shortcuts are one of the most useful tools when using Excel, not only do they facilitate many tasks, they also save a lot of time, increasing productivity. With shortcuts, you can do simple things like copying and pasting text as well as automate entire processes that might otherwise be quite complex. Little by little, these shortcuts will completely change your experience when using Excel.

The best thing is that the shortcuts will not only give you a great advantage in your work life compared to many people who do not know them yet, they can also help you in your personal life to organize your household accounts or even to calculate your taxes. I hope that all the commands presented here will allow a significant change in your experience when using Excel.