20 years ago I had an article published on Excel shortcuts keys – let’s revisit it.
My first article was published on 10 August 2001 in the Accountants Weekly magazine.
I have scanned the original article and it is shown below.
20 years later I thought I would update the 10 points from the article.
- The right mouse button is still a time saver and now has even more options. You can now Filter and Sort using the right click. Try right clicking the navigation icons on the left of the sheet tabs for a complete list of sheets. I drag with the right mouse button to copy formats only, or values only.
- Yes, I still use the Ctrl key to copy quickly. Try dragging a sheet tab with the mouse whilst holding the Ctrl key down – it copies the sheet – woohoo!
- Selecting multiple ranges with the Ctrl key and mouse is even better now. In the more recent Excel versions you can de-select ranges. In the old days you had to start from scratch if you wanted to change a selection.
- Toolbars are gone but the Quick Access Toolbar is customisable – see this post on that.
- Toolbars are out, but you can create your own ribbon tabs using Customize The Ribbon – right click the ribbon.
- Conditional Formatting (Home ribbon) now has lots more options and many built-in ones.
- Shift key – still lots of options with Shift.
- Double clicking – yes lots of time savers. Try double clicking the Format Painter (left side of Home ribbon) to apply formats multiple times. Press Esc to stop.
- Comments – now Comments have been re-badged as Notes and Comments are a new threaded commentary system.
- Paste Special – Ctrl + Alt + V opens Paste Special after copying.
When published all those years ago these tips applied to both Excel 97 and Excel 2000. We have come a long way since those days.
There are a few lock downs in place around Australia at the moment, so let’s look at putting Excel into lock down.
When you have a filter in place in Excel you typically only affect the visible cells when you edit multiple cells. There is a case when you are affecting all cells not just the visible ones.
I started using Excel in the late 80’s on a Mac. It had a Save and Close button. When I discovered VBA in Excel on the PC, the very first macro I ever made was save and close.
I thought this would be a good example to take you through creating a macro from scratch and sharing a technique to make it easy to use.
When you protect a sheet in Excel many icons are turned off (greyed out), including the ever popular AutoSum icon. That’s when it pays to know keyboard shortcuts.
You can use a keyboard shortcut to enter today’s date in a cell, but you can also use it in lots of other places in Excel.
Copying between sheets or files is a common task. I’d like to share a quick and easy way to do it.
When you create an Excel file that handles inputs it is best practice to colour code the input cells. The colour you choose isn’t important but making sure you use it consistently is. You may need to unlock the input cells if you plan to add sheet protection to the file. Here’s a couple of ways to do that.
In some cases you may have to make manual inputs across multiple cells that are spread across a sheet. Before making the entries you need to clear the existing entries. Creating a range name can make that process much quicker.
When a list is filtered you are only seeing the rows that match the filter. The other rows are still there, just hidden. If you want to make the same entry in a group of filtered cells you can’t use the fill handle to drag and copy as you will overwrite the hidden rows. There is an easy way to do it.
When you are moving images, charts or other objects that float above the grid you can use the Shift key to make it easier.
The Data Validation dialog allows you to limit or control what a user enters into a cell. There are two keyboard shortcuts to open it.
Do you use the Ctrl key and the mouse to select multiple ranges? Well you may want to watch this short video.
When I ran some face to face training sessions recently I was reminded how much people LOVE keyboard shortcuts. So I decided to update my keyboard shortcut webinar.
In October 2018 I shared lots of keyboard shortcuts. Download the materials using the button below and watch the video.
CPD note – if you are claiming CPD for watching this recording you need to keep your own records. People who attend the live sessions receive an annual listing of attendances.
Using the mouse isn’t always the quickest way to perform tasks in Excel. Keyboard shortcuts can speed up your work and save you hunting through screens and dialogs. Some of the keyboard shortcuts you will learn in this session are:
- wrap text and other useful formats
- applying row and column grouping
- selecting a table quickly
- copying visible cells only
- apply and remove Freeze Panes
- returning after following a hyperlink
- how to avoid an annoying feature of formula and reference dialogs when you press an arrow key to move around
- get the most out of the Tab key
There will be lots of other shortcuts as well. Even if you prefer using the mouse you might learn a few useful new techniques.
There are certain situations when you can’t “unhide” columns on the left and/or rows at the top and it is not a sheet protection issue.
There are a number of mouse and keyboard shortcuts for copying. But there is one type of copy that can be frustrating. Copying dates can be challenging because, in general, Excel wants to increment them, not copy them. There is a simple technique to instruct Excel to copy a date.
Excel has a shortcut that allows you to follow a link to its source but it has a limitation find out how to get around that limitation.
I recently helped a client reduce the size of an Excel file. The file took a while to save which was frustrating and time consuming. I thought I would share this reasonably easy solution.
I have found a keyboard shortcut combination to one on my favourite right click options and its quicker to use.
I use Alt key shortcuts a lot when I am working and I have found a couple more useful ones.
This Excel keyboard shortcut is powerful, but it has a few quirks you need to be aware of. Its quick to use because the A and Ctrl keys are so close together.
There are times in Excel when you want to see as much of the Excel grid as possible. You may be reviewing or presenting a dashboard or looking at a large PivotTable. Excel has a Full Screen mode that shows just the grid and the sheet tabs.
It is common to use Q1 for quarter one. Excel will even cycle through Q1,Q2,Q3 and Q4 when you drag a cell contain Q1. What if you want to use the sequence M1 to M12 for months? Custom Lists to the rescue!
Let’s say you have a file that has numerous input cells, in numerous sheets. Each month you must clear the input cells and start the new month. There is a technique that allows you to clear the input cells if you have used a dedicated colour for those cells.
Excel’s Fill Handle has a lot of cool tricks. This short video demonstrates a couple of them.
Sometimes when Excel imports email addresses they are not recognised as emails and are not hyperlinks. They are two ways to fix this.
Comments are like post it notes for cells. They are a great documentation feature because you can add cell-specific notes to help you and other users understand the spreadsheet better. There are also a few “outside the box” uses for cell comments.
If you need to limit where a user can scroll to in a sheet you can change a setting in the VBA screen to restrict access to a specific range.
It is easy to print things from Word. It is not so easy in Excel. Excel has this huge grid and if you don’t tell Excel otherwise, it will print everything on the sheet, whether you want it to or not.