Bottom Line: Learn 15+ shortcuts for the Power Query Editor. These can be used in Excel or Power BI.
Skill Level: Intermediate
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Download the Excel File
Get the Excel workbook that you see in the tutorial by downloading this file.
Our Excel Shortcuts List that contains over 270 shortcuts for Windows, Mac, & the web versions of Excel has also been updated with these shortcuts. You can grab the pdf version on the Excel Shortcuts Guide Page.
Power Query Tips & Tricks
I'd like to share with you some ways to navigate and modify queries when using Power Query in Excel or Power BI. These shortcuts should help save you time with common tasks and transformations in the Power Query Editor.
Note: The Power Query Editor is only available on the Windows Desktop version of Excel at this time.
1. Open the Power Query Editor
There are actually two different ways to go about this.
Quick Access Toolbar
Normally, to open Power Query, you would go to the Data tab (or Power Query tab for older versions of Excel). Then, from the Get Data menu, you would select Launch Power Query Editor. Since there is no direct shortcut for this action, I recommend adding it to your Quick Access Toolbar.
To add it to the Quick Access Toolbar, just right-click on that menu option and select Add to Quick Access Toolbar.
Once the button is added to the Quick Access Toolbar, hitting the Alt key will show you what number you can press as a keyboard shortcut to utilize it.
One of the great advantages of the buttons on the Quick Access Toolbar is that no matter what tab you have selected on the Ribbon, those buttons are always accessible.
Alt Sequence: A, PN, L
This one's not the easiest to commit to memory, but there is an Alt sequence that will lead you to launch the Power Query Editor. Simply press Alt, then A for the Data tab, P N to open the Get Data drop-down, and then L for Launch.
Checkout my recent post on Shortcuts to Open the Power Query Editor to learn more.
2. Alt Sequences for Any Button
Within Power Query, pressing down the Alt button will reveal letters that can be pushed which correspond with the selections you would normally click on with your mouse.
3. Quick Access toolbar in the Power Query Editor
The Power Query Editor has its own Quick Access Toolbar. You can add buttons for any of the options that you find in the Ribbon of the Editor. Simply right-click on the option that you want added and select Add to Quick Access Toolbar.
4. Rename Column
The keyboard shortcut to rename any column is F2. Just select the column that you want renamed and hit F2. This will open up the name field in the column header and you can type the new name.
You can also use the mouse shortcut which is to double-click the column header to edit and rename it.
5. Remove Column(s)
With any columns selected, hitting the Delete key on the keyboard will remove them.
Remember that deleting a column in the Power Query Editor does not remove the column from the source data. It only removes it from the query.
6. Undo Last Action
It would be fantastic if there were an undo button in Power Query, but as of right now, there isn't one. The closest we have is to hit the Tab key six times. That will set the focus on the Query Settings pane, highlighting the last action. Hitting Delete will allow you to remove that last step.
So, Tab key 6 times then Delete is the keyboard shortcut to Undo in Power Query. This sequence will likely change in the future as the user interface changes.
The number of times you press Tab is also dependent on where your focus is currently set. The six times assumes your focus is set on one of the columns in the data table.
7. Select All Columns
To select all of the columns in your query, just use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + A.
You can then apply transformations to all columns like Detect Data Type, which automatically assigns data types to all columns.
8. Select First or Last Column
If you are navigating a large data set with a lot of columns, it can be useful to use the Home and End keys to jump to the first and last columns respectively.
9. Select Multiple Columns
To select multiple columns, you can use Shift or Ctrl combined with the arrow keys. If the columns you want to select are side by side, you can hold down the Shift key while using the left or right arrow buttons.
To select the columns individually because they are not together, hold down the Ctrl key, navigate to the columns you want to be selected using the left and right arrows, and then press the Space bar to actually select those columns.
10. Open Filter Drop-down Menu
With any column selected in the Power Query Editor, you can press Alt + ↓ to open the filter drop-down menu. When the menu is open, you can navigate up and down using the arrow keys, or jump to the search box or filter items list using Tab.
11. Open Right-click Menus
To open the right-click menus in Power Query, you can use the ≣ Menu button, if your keyboard has one. It's located to the right of the space bar. Here are the Best Keyboards for Excel Keyboard Shortcuts, in my opinion. And I also have a post on Excel Keyboard Shortcuts for the Menu Key (Right-click Context Menu).
After pressing the ≣ Menu key to open the right-click menu, you can then use the up and down arrows to navigate the menu. Often, you can also press the first letter of the option you want and it will jump to that point in the menu.
12. Open Table Options Menu
The Table Options Menu is a unique menu that gives you a list of things that can be applied to the entire table, not just an individual column. The button for accessing this menu is to the left of the column headers in Power Query. To open this menu using your keyboard, just hit the left arrow (←) when your first column is selected, and then hit Enter or Space.
You can always close a drop-down menu by using the escape (Esc) key.
13. Select Task Panes
By using the Tab button, you can jump to various spots in the panes of the Power Query Editor. To navigate in the opposite direction, you can use Shift + Tab. Once you navigate to the formula bar, it may stick, so you can hit Esc or Shift + Tab to get unstuck.
14. Close Power Query Window
To close out the editor in the same way that you would click on the X in the top right of the window, you can use Alt + F4. If you've made changes, you'll be prompted to either keep or discard those changes before closing.
15. Close & Load
To Close & Load your query, you can use Alt , F, Enter. If it's the first time working with your query, it will create a new sheet with the output and set focus to that new sheet.
Bonus: You can also add the Close & Load and Close & Load To… buttons to the Quick Access Toolbar in Power Query for easy access and Alt+Number shortcuts.
Grab the Shortcuts PDF
We've updated our Excel Shortcuts List to include these shortcuts for Power Query. The list contains over 270 shortcuts for Windows, Mac, & the web versions of Excel. You can download the pdf version on the Excel Shortcuts Guide Page.
Free Webinar on Power Query, VBA, & More
I also have a free webinar running right now that covers an introduction to Power Query and the other Excel tools like Power Pivot, Power BI, Macros & VBA, pivot tables, and more.
I hope these shortcuts are helpful for you. If you'd like to learn more about Power Query, you can check out this overview: Power Query Overview: An Introduction to Excel’s Most Powerful Data Tool. Or I've got a ton of great tutorials on specific Power Query topics here: Power Query Library.
If you have questions, comments, or want to share your own Power Query keyboard shortcut, I'd love to hear from you in the comment section below.