7 Uncommon Excel Shortcuts to Share with Your Coworkers

Bottom Line: Learn some Excel keyboard timesavers that will make you popular around the office.

Skill Level: Beginner

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Uncommon But Useful

If you're not already considered a hero around at work, sharing these simple Excel shortcuts might help to elevate your status in the eyes of your coworkers. πŸ™‚ These tips are not as well known as Ctrl + C for copy and Ctrl + V for paste, but they're almost just as useful.

1. Open an Options Menu

Win: Alt + ↓

Mac: Opt + ↓

This shortcut can be used in several different situations. For example:

  1. If your filters are turned on, you can open the filter drop-down menu from any of the headers.
  2. For cells with data validation lists, this shortcut will open the drop-down menu that displays your options.
  3. For cells that don't have data validation lists, this shortcut will bring up an auto-fill list containing all of the unique entries from the column that the cell is on.
  4. When writing formulas, you can see the argument options by placing your cursor over the relevant data and using the shortcut to see what other options are available for selection.
Open Options Menu with Ctrl + Down Arrow
Formula argument options with alt + down arrow

I've got more tips when it comes to filtering drop-down menus in this helpful article: 7 Keyboard Shortcuts for the Filter Drop Down Menus

2. Repeat Your Last Action

Win: F4

Mac: Cmd + Y

After performing an action on a cell in your worksheet, using this shortcut allows you to repeat the action in another cell. This includes applying number formatting, changing fonts and fill colors, inserting shapes, and more.

Repeat Last Action with F4

3. Select All Used Cells in a Column

Win and Mac: Ctrl + Shift + ↓

This is especially helpful if you have a spreadsheet with really long columns of data. If you want to select the entire column, just start at the top and use Ctrl + Shift + ↓ to highlight all the way to the end of the column.

Select Used Cells in a Column with Ctrl + Shift + Down Arrow

Now, if there are cells with no data in your column, this shortcut only selects the cells down to that first non-blank cell, so keep that in mind. Check out these tutorials for workarounds to that issue:

4. Copy a Sheet

Win: Ctrl + drag

Mac: Opt + drag

You can make a duplicate of an existing sheet using this shortcut.

  1. Start by clicking on the tab you want to copy.
  2. Then drag to the right until the down triangle arrow moves from the left of the tab to the right.
  3. Before releasing your click, hit the Ctrl button (Opt button for Macs) and you will see a little plus symbol (+) appear in the icon.
  4. When you release mouse button, the duplicate tab will appear to the right of the original.
How to Copy a Worksheet with Ctrl Left Click

This procedure can also be done to copy multiple tabs at once.

Want some more tips and timesavers for working with tabs? Check out this post: 7 Shortcuts for Working with Worksheet Tabs in Excel

5. Toggling Between Sheets

Win: Ctrl + PgUp | Ctrl + PgDn

Mac: Fn + Cmd + ↑ | Fn + Cmd + ↓

Using this shortcut will move you to other open sheets in the workbook. The up shortcut will move you to the next tab to the right, and the down shortcut moves you to the left.

Select Other Sheets Using ctrl +PgUp or PgDn

Some keyboards may not have the PgUp and PgDn buttons, so be aware of that. I have this article on the Best Keyboards for Excel Keyboard Shortcuts that you might want to check out.

6. Enter Today's Date and/or Time

For date:

Win and Mac: Ctrl + ;

For time:

Win: Ctrl + Shift + ;

Mac: Opt + ;

If you want to put the current date or time in a cell, use this shortcut. It will automatically enter the date or time from your computer system.

Insert Date or Time with Ctrl + semicolon

If you want both the date and the time in the same cell, just enter a space between the respective shortcuts.

(If you've entered the time in the cell, but it is not showing when you leave the cell, you may want to check the cell's format settings. You will probably have to change the format to an option that displays the time.)

Check out my article on how dates work in Excel for more details.

7. Sum a Range of Numbers (AutoSum)

Win: Alt + =

Mac: Opt + Shift + T

If you want to quickly add all of the numbers in the range directly above a cell, just use this shortcut. The formula to add up the numbers is created automatically, and you can simply hit Enter to get your sum.

AutoSum with Alt + equals

Conclusion

Have you used any or all of these shortcuts before? Can you see yourself putting some of them to use to save time and help others?

These 7 techniques are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all of the ways you can save time with keyboard shortcuts in Excel. What are some of your favorite and most-used shortcuts? Let me know in the comments below.

36 comments

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  • Trick to Select non-contiguous cells in a column.
    1. select the whole columns by clicking the column letter
    2. shift the active cell to the first cell (Ctrl+period)
    3. Crtl+Shift+up arrow will select a bottom-up direction, so all the cells will be selected.
    done

  • Excellent as ever Jon,.
    Ctrl D to copy down
    Ctrl R to copy right
    both get used quite a bit & copy just the adjoining cell or if you select a few cells – including the one you want to copy – it fills them all.

  • Thank you so much! I have a question, I knew we can do ctrl shift + down to select all contents in the column but what if I want to select everything and then deselect one or more rows? e.g. if there is a row showing total number, I wouldn’t want to include that one. Not sure if it is possible? Thank you!

  • Awesome stuff, John. As always, thank you for passing on your skillz to us. ( I spell it with a (z) lol.
    One question though, was wondering when I use shortcut (Ctrl + =) it gives me subtotal formula. I’m using a PC.

  • To enter the same value, or formula, in a series of continuous cells, vertically or horizontally, select the entire range where you want the entry made, then type the value or formula into the first cell (the anchor cell) then press Ctrl + Enter. Either the same value, numeric or text, or the same formula with cell references adjusted as if you did drag and drop, will be entered into the entire range pre-selected.

  • Always find something new to learn and appreciate the effort you put into these Youtube videos and emails.
    My β€œgo to” channel when l need to find something about Excel, explained in a logical informative manner.

  • You shared a shortcut within the past ~18ish months that has been a life saver but did not make your current list – copy and paste visible cells only using
    Alt+; Ctrl+c Ctrl+v
    In earlier versions I could use Find & Select to produce those results but I’ve been unable to make that work consistently in the past couple of versions.
    I like your method much better anyway; a lot less work.
    Thanks for all you do!

  • Wow! I have used Excel for 25 years. I consider myself to be an expert. I only knew about three of these “uncommon” shortcuts. Thanks. Always appreciate your knowledge and your well-done videos!

  • Copy Sheet just became my new best friend!!!! Thank you for sharing this!

    I have a spreadsheet for payroll. Each sheet is a month and not only does it figure the payroll based on the time checked in and out but it carries forward YTD info and tracks vacation time used and balance. Each month I copy and paste for the next month and I have to reformat the page and change my YTD calculations for the current prior month (I hope I’m making sense here). I have a complete year now, so with this shortcut I can now copy the full year. Formatting copies along with the correct YTD formulas and all I have to do is empty the check-in/out fields – unless you are willing to share a macro that will do that for me πŸ˜‰ .

    The Current Time shortcut will also be useful here.

    Question – I have protected and locked the sheet for co-workers so they can only enter times checking in and out. If I unprotect to copy for the next year, will it copy the locked cells so all I have to do is protect the sheet again?

    Thanks again!

    • Hi Lori,
      Awesome! I’m happy to hear it. I think the Copy Sheet shortcut is one of my favorites too because of how much time it saves. Going through the right-click menu is 4 to 5 clicks.

      Your monthly process could definitely be automated with a macro. Since you are a member of our VBA Pro Course, you might want to submit this as a question for a VIP session. We have one coming up.

      In regards to protected sheets and locked cells, YES, those properties and settings will be carried over to the new (copied) sheet. If the sheet is protected, then the new sheet will be protected as well.

      I hope that helps. Thanks! πŸ™‚

  • You picked a great bunch of shortcuts – I use them all!

    Here are some more of my go-to time-savers:
    1) Ctrl+Space … select entire column
    2) Shft + Space … select entire row
    3) Ctrl + +/- … insert/delete entire row/column (or cells if row/column not selected)
    4) Ctrl + ‘ … repeat contents of cell above
    5) Ctrl + r … repeat contents of cell to the left
    6) Ctrl + 1 … format cells

    And a couple that I just discovered:
    1) Ctrl + 2 (or 3 or 4) … font bold (or italic or underline)
    2) Ctrl + ( … hide row
    3) Ctrl + ) … hide column
    Are there also shortcuts for unhide row/column?

    Thanks for keeping it fun!

  • Jon,
    Thanks, I’ll be sharing this with my co-workers. But for some reason Tip #1 isn’t working for me. Maybe I changed some Option? The Ctrl +Alt + Down Arrow works when I have a Table. Any ideas why Alt + Down Arrow isn’t working with Data Filters?

    Brian

    • Hi Brian,
      I’m not exactly sure why Alt+Down Arrow wouldn’t be working. Do you have the cell in the header row selected? That’s the cell with the filter button in it.

      And thanks for sharing the post. I appreciate your support! πŸ™‚

  • In shortcut 3, the END Key also works (instead of CTRL). However, if a cell contains a formula that evaluates to a BLANK it is also selected. Do you know if it there is a shortcut that will treat the formula as a BLANK?

    • Thanks Rich! Interesting, I never knew that about the End key instead of Ctrl. It’s kind of weird combination, but I found you can press and release End before pressing Shift+Down Arrow. Cool!
      I don’t know of a shortcut that treats a formula returning a blank as an actual blank cell. You could potentially use the Find Window (Ctrl+F) to find the blank. Change the Look In option to Values. And change Search to by Columns if you are looking down a column.
      I hope that helps. Thanks again and have a nice day! πŸ™‚

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