3 Keyboard Shortcuts for Saving & Navigating Excel Workbooks

Bottom line: Learn 3 quick shortcuts to save, close, and navigate Excel workbooks.

Skill level: Beginner

There are a ton of shortcuts for navigating and interacting with Excel workbooks. In this post, I'm going to share the three that I probably use the most to save time with these common tasks.

#1 Open the File Save As Window

If you want to save the file you are currently working on with a different name or in a different folder, then you need to open the Save As window.

Keyboard Shortcut to Open Save As Window in Excel with F12

The keyboard shortcut to open the Save As window is: F12

If you are using a laptop or keyboard with multi-purpose function keys you might need to press Fn+F12.  Checkout my article on the best keyboards for Excel for more info on that.

The shorcut for the Save As window on the Mac version is: Cmd+Shift+S

The latest versions of Excel also make file renaming easy on the File > Save As Backstage view. You can set this view to open when pressing F12 by going to Excel Options > Save and uncheck “Don't show Backstage when opening or saving files with keyboard shortcuts.”

Excel Save As Backstage View to Rename Files

However, I tend to prefer the Save As window because you can rename and change locations in one place. You can also paste in folder paths to the address bar for quick navigation to a different folder.

If you have a bunch of files open and want to close them all at once so you can get out of the office quicker, then check out my post on 3 Tips to Save & Close All Excel Files.

#2 Navigate Through Open Workbooks

Sometimes I'll have three or more workbooks open that I want to quickly flip through. You can see a list of all the open Excel files on the View tab in the Switch Windows drop-down.

Keyboard Shortcut to Select Next Open Excel Workbook Ctrl Tab

The keyboard shortcut to cycle through the open workbooks is: Ctrl+Tab

You can also go to the previous workbook by pressing: Ctrl+Shift+Tab

The shortcuts are the same on the Mac version of Excel.

You can also use Alt+Tab to flip between two workbooks, or any open application window.

Ctrl+Tab and Ctrl+Shift+Tab are best when you are switching between three or more workbooks, and only want to toggle within Excel.

Bonus tip: Ctrl+Tab also works for cycling through the tabs in your web browser.

#3 Close The Active Workbook

There are quite a few different ways to close an Excel file.

Keyboard Shortcut to Close the Active Workbook in Excel Ctrl W

My favorite shortcut to close the workbook is: Ctrl+W

The shortcut to close the workbook on the Mac version is: Cmd+W

If the workbook needs to be saved, you will be prompted with the Save / Don't Save / Cancel dialog. You can just hit Enter to save and close the file.

Ctrl+F4 is another way to close the workbook.  I just prefer Ctrl+W because it has uses in other applications.

Bonus tip: You can also use Ctrl+W to close the current tab in your web browser.

Conclusion

There are three quick tips for working with Excel workbooks. What are some other shortcuts you use for these types of tasks? Please leave a comment below.

Thank you! 🙂

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  • Actually (and I’ve seen this mentioned discussed on at least two other blog/discussion boards), Ctrl+Tab in newer versions of Excel only toggles back and forth between two workbooks while Ctrl+Shift+Tab still cycles — only in one direction of course — through all open workbooks. Ctrl+F6 is another alternative to Ctrl+Tab, but it still only toggles.

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Hello and welcome! My name is Jon Acampora and I'm here to help you learn Excel.

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