Bottom Line: Learn some Excel keyboard timesavers that will make you popular around the office.
Skill Level: Beginner
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. 🙂 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:
- If your filters are turned on, you can open the filter drop-down menu from any of the headers.
- For cells with data validation lists, this shortcut will open the drop-down menu that displays your options.
- 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.
- 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.
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
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.
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.
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:
- 2 Keyboard Shortcuts to Select a Column with Blank Cells
- 7 Keyboard Shortcuts for Selecting Cells and Ranges in Excel
- 5 Keyboard Shortcuts for Rows and Columns in Excel
4. Copy a Sheet
Win: Ctrl + drag
Mac: Opt + drag
You can make a duplicate of an existing sheet using this shortcut.
- Start by clicking on the tab you want to copy.
- Then drag to the right until the down triangle arrow moves from the left of the tab to the right.
- Before releasing your click, hit the Ctrl button (Opt button for Macs) and you will see a little plus symbol (+) appear in the icon.
- When you release mouse button, the duplicate tab will appear to the right of the original.
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.
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
Win and Mac: Ctrl + ;
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.
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.
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.