Excel shortcut keys you SHOULD know!

This post‘s topic is one the most requested topics for the site.


These are keyboard shortcuts that EVERY Excel user needs to know, practice, and commit to muscle memory.

From the beginning Excel user to the most advanced power-user ninja; knowing these shortcuts will not only increase your productivity and streamline your workflow, but they may even impress your co-workers to the point where they feel honored to be working beside such an Excel master.

They may even sing songs about you after you get promoted to that exalted position in the company that everyone strives for.

Let’s not waste any more time.  Drumroll, please!!!!

Shortcut #1

Add/Remove Filters

When you wish to display the filter/sort dropdown controls on the header row of your table, click inside the data set and press


This is also a VERY fast way to clear ALL your filters so you can formulate a fresh filter strategy.  Simply press


This will quickly turn the filters OFF (and display all records) and then back ON again, essentially resetting the filters.

Shortcut #2

Create a Table

When you wish to “upgrade” your plain table into a proper Excel Data Table, click anywhere in the data and press


Assuming you have no blank rows or columns, and you have a header row, you can press ENTER and you have your newly upgraded table.

You now have access to all the bells, whistles, and toys for manipulating Data Tables, like

  • Adding a total row
  • Adjusting row/column banding
  • Summarizing with a PivotTable
  • Inserting Slicers for advanced filtering

If you want all the features of a proper Data Table, but none of the art styling, press the lower of the three buttons to the right of the Table Styles group and select Clear.

This will remove all the artistry from the table while retaining all other Data Table functionality.

If you wish to remove ALL Data Table functionality and return to a plain table, click Convert to Range in the Tools group of controls.

Shortcut #3

Move to the Edge of the Data Region

To instantly move to the last row in your data (assuming you have no blank rows in the data), press

CTRL-⇓ (down arrow key)

To instantly move to the last column in your data (assuming you have no blank column in the data), press

CTRL-⇒ (right arrow key)

To instantly move to the first row in your data, press

CTRL-⇑ (up arrow key)

To instantly move to the first column in your data, press

CTRL-⇐ (left arrow key)

This technique is much, much faster than using the traditional scrollbar.

Shortcut #4

Increase Selection to the Edge of the Data Region

If you want to select (highlight) all the cells from your current cell to the last row, press


If you want to select (highlight) all the cells from your current cell to the last column, press


Assuming you are in the “first” cell of your table (“first” being the upper-left corner), you can highlight all your data by pressing


Shortcut #5

Format Cells Dialog Box

After you have selected a range of cells, and you want to apply some exotic formatting that can’t be accomplished by the Ribbon alone, press


This will allow you to control borders, shades, number formatting, alignment, cell protection, and many more features not readily available on the ribbons.

Shortcut #6

Instant AutoSum

Because the AutoSum function is the most used function in the function library, it gets its own dedicated launch button in the upper-right corner of the Home ribbon.

You can create a formula using the SUM function by clicking below a column (or to the right of a row) of data and pressing

ALT-= (equals sign)

If you have a single cell selected, the SUM function will give you a change to proof the selected range for accuracy.

If you have several columns (or rows) of data that require SUM operations, select the cells where you wish the SUM functions to exist and press


This will create the formulas without user intervention.  It’s still a good idea to proof the results for accuracy.

Shortcut #7

Paste as Values

If you wish to take a cell (or array of cells) containing formulas and copy the formula results to a new location, but you only want the formula results, not the formulas themselves, select the cells and press


or COPY from the Home ribbon.

Next, select the location you wish the copied cells to reside and press


This will bring up the Paste Special dialog box; now press ENTER.

This can be difficult to remember, so create a pneumonic like “East Some Vitamins”, or something that sticks in your brain to help you remember the key sequence.

Shortcut #8

Create In-cell Carriage Return

If you wish to “stack” text in a cell to keep from using multiple cells in a column, press


This produces the effect of an “in-cell carriage return”.

Shortcut #9

Select Data in Current Range

To select all the data in a selected region, click in the data range and press


Shortcut #10

Insert Chart on the Same Sheet

To insert a default chart on the current sheet, click in the data range and press


If you wish to create a default chart on a new, dedicated “chart sheet”, click in the data range and press


Shortcut #11

Flash Fill

Flash Fill is one of the most impressive tools in Excel for cleaning and fixing data with simple issues.

Suppose we wish to create email addresses for all the sales representatives in this list.

Click in an empty cell on the first sales reps row and type their email address and press ENTER.

After you press the ENTER key, immediately press


Flash Fill looks for patterns in your example and repeats those patterns for the remainder of the list.

Shortcut #12

Select Entire Row

To select/highlight an entire row, press


Shortcut #13

Select Entire Column

To select/highlight an entire column, press


Shortcut #14

Insert a New Cell/Row/Column

To insert a new row or column, click where you wish to perform the insertion and press

CTRL-+ (plus sign)

This will bring up the Insert dialog box.

NOTE: This MUST be the “plus sign” on the numeric keypad.  If you use the “plus sign” key located along the top row, you will need to add the “Shift” key to the key sequence (i.e. CTRL-Shift-+).

To streamline this process, let pair this with Shortcuts #12 and #13.

To insert a new column, click in the desired cell and press


To insert a new row, click in the desired cell and press


Cool Tip: If you select multiple rows or columns and execute a CTRL-+ action, you can insert multiple rows or columns in a single keystroke.  Give it a try; it’s REALLY cool!!!

Shortcut #15

Delete a Cell/Row/Column

Using the same techniques noted in Shortcut #14, we will substitute the “plus sigh” with the “minus sign”.

CTRL- – (CTRL and the minus key)

This will give us the ability to delete a column or row.

Don’t forget the previous tip where you select multiple rows or columns and then press CTRL- -.

Shortcut #16

Drag a Cell/Row and Paste in Between Rows

If you wish to drag an entire row of data and place it between two other existing rows of data, select the row to be moved and press


…to select the row; then click-and-hold the border of the highlighted row.

The trick is to hold down the SHIFT key while you drag the row to its new position in the sheet.

Shortcut #17

Hide Columns

To hide an entire column, select a cell in the desired column and press

CTRL-0 (zero)

Shortcut #18

Hide Rows

To hide an entire row, select a cell on the desired row and press

CTRL-9 (nine)

Shortcut #19

Select Visible Cells

If you are curious as to whether rows or columns have been hidden in your sheet, press

ALT-; (semi-colon)

This will select the visible cells.  The byproduct of this action is that hidden rows and columns will have a visible line identifying their position.

If there is no visible break indicator, then no rows or columns are hidden.

Shortcut #20

Add Date/Time Stamp

If you wish to add a date stamp of the current date, select a cell and press

CTRL-; (semi-colon)

If you wish to add a time stamp of the current time, select a cell and press

CTRL-Shift-: (colon)

You can add a date/time stamp by selecting a cell and pressing

CTRL-; (add a space or two) CTRL-Shift-:

Bonus Shortcut

Select Cells with Values

If you have a file and you suspect that some of the cells containing formulas have been replaced with statically typed values, or you simply wish to identify any and all cells containing typed values, press

F5 then ALT-S-O-X

Pick 3 and Practice

It will take time to commit all these shortcuts to memory, so for the time being, pick three of the shortcuts that you think will save you the most time.  Practice those three until they become automatic in nature.

Once you have those three mastered, pick three more and repeat the process.

Before long, you will use these shortcuts without even the slightest thought.

20 Excel Shortcuts PDF Download Link

Feel free to Download the Shortcuts PDF HERE.

Or the Excel version HERE.

Excel Download Practice file

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