Excel Alt key shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts rule

The ALT key (there’s one on either side of your Spacebar) has some really useful shortcuts. See if they can save you some time and effort. These can be handy if, like me, you sometimes struggle with your laptop’s built-in mouse controller and you don’t have your external mouse handy. And remember most keyboard shortcuts work in all versions of Excel.

Please leave a comment (bottom of the page) and mention your favourite keyboard shortcuts.

ALT + =

Inserts the SUM function in the current cell(s). It’s the same as pressing the AutoSum toolbar button. You may be surprised to know that you can’t use the AutoSum on a protected sheet. But you can use ALT+ =.

ALT + Enter

When editing in a cell this inserts a line break (line feed) in the current cell. This is different to the Wrap Text format which will change the line breaks as the column widens. This technique will retain the line break.

ALT + numbers

Inserts symbols. Whilst holding the ALT key down press 0128 this will insert the Euro symbol in a cell. 0163 will give the pound currency symbol. To see a list of the other Alt key numbers click here

ALT + graphics

If you hold the ALT key down whilst you are moving graphics (including charts) on your sheet you will notice that the graphics will “snap to” or line up with the sheet’s gridlines. This makes it incredibly easy to perfectly line up your charts or images. If you hold the ALT key down while you are resizing the images it will also “snap to” the sheet’s gridlines.

ALT + SHIFT + Right Arrow
ALT + SHIFT + Left Arrow

Adds or removes Data Grouping from the selected range. Data Grouping is used to hide and unhide rows or columns, quickly and easily.

ALT + ;

Selects visible cells only. You can use this before you copy to ensure that what you are only copying the visible cells and not any hidden rows or columns. If you have used Excel’s Data Subtotal feature and you only wish to only copy the Subtotals, you can use Data Grouping to hide the detail and display only the Subtotals and then select the range and press ALT + ; to the visible cells only and then copy and paste to paste the Subtotals only.

ALT + Down Arrow

This will open the Data Validation drop-down list for a cell or it will give you a list of previous text entries in a database.

ALT + 1 through 9

This shortcut works only with Excel 2007 and 2010. It is a shortcut to quickly access the first nine buttons on the Quick Access Toolbar (the toolbar above or below the ribbon). ALT + 1 is the first button. So you can rearrange the buttons to allow you to quickly access them with the ALT key.

ALT + F8

Opens up the macro dialog to allow you to run or edit macros.

ALT + F11

Opens up the VBE window to allow you to work with macros and VBA programming. Once open ALT + F11 allows you to toggle between Excel and VBE window.

Alt > h > v > v

This sequence, pressing each key after the other, Pastes Values after a copy in Excel 2007 and Excel 2010

Alt > e > s > v > Enter

This sequence pressing each key after the other, Pastes Values after a copy in Excel 2003.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.