10 Essential Shortcuts for Excel Tables

Bottom Line: Learn mouse and keyboard shortcuts to save time when working with Excel Tables.  These shortcuts are for both Windows and Mac versions of Excel.

Skill Level: Beginner

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Table Shortcuts.xlsx (157.7 KB)

Master Excel Tables With These 10 Shortcuts

If you work with Excel Tables often, you're going to want to memorize several of the following shortcuts to make your life easier. These shortcuts are for both mouse and keyboard and can be used on Windows or Mac.

1. Selecting Rows and Columns

To select a column in an Excel Table, hover over the top half of column's header cell, until your cursor becomes a down arrow. Then left-click and it will select all of the cells in that column. (If you left-click a second time, it will include the header cell in your selection.)

The keyboard shortcut for selecting a column in Excel tables is Ctrl + Space.

Shortcut to Select a Column in Excel Tables

In the video above I mention a small nuance with Ctrl + Space. If you have the cell in the first row of the body of the table selected, Ctrl + Space will scroll down to the bottom of the table. You can press Ctrl + Backspace to scroll up and activate the first cell in the selection/column. If you have a cell in any subsequent row selected, Ctrl + Space will NOT scroll down. Another weird but possibly useful quirk of Excel tables…

To select a row, hover your cursor near the left border of the table until it becomes a right-pointing arrow; then left-click.

The keyboard shortcut is Shift + Space.

Shortcut to Select a Row in Excel Tables

2. Selecting the Entire Table

To select the data for the entire table, you can press Ctrl + A. This highlights everything except the header and total rows. If you'd like to include those rows as well, simply press Ctrl + A a second time.

Shortcut to Select am Entire Table in Excel Tables

3. Moving Columns

To move a column, select the header cell in the column that you want to move. Then hover your cursor over the border of that cell until the cursor becomes a crosshairs.

Crosshairs

Then drag it to where you want it to go, keeping the cursor in the header row. A vertical green bar will appear between columns as you drag the cursor to indicate where the column will end up when you release the mouse.

To move a column in Excel Tables

Moving rows is similar. Essentially, you follow the same process, but you drag your row (or rows) up or down instead of left/right.

4. Autofitting Column Widths

To resize the widths of the columns so that the cells in the table display all of the contents, use this shortcut. First select all of the table contents (see Shortcut 2 above), including the header and total rows. Then select Autofit Column Width in the Format drop-down menu on the Home tab.

The keyboard shortcut for this is Alt + H O I.

Shortcut to Autofit Column Widths in Excel Tables

Autofitting is a great technique to use after you have inserted, deleted, or moved columns in a table, since the column widths do not automatically resize.

I don't know of a Mac equivalent for this keyboard shortcut, so you'll have to use the Format menu option on the Home tab.

5. Inserting/Deleting Rows and Columns

To insert a row, start by selecting any cell in the table. The inserted row will be above that cell. Then type Ctrl + +. (If you are using a laptop, you may need to hit Ctrl + Shift + +.)

Deleting a row is similar. Start by selecting any cell in the row you want to delete and then hit Ctrl + -.

Shortcut to Insert or Delete a Row in Excel Tables

For inserting or deleting columns, the commands are the same. However, you first start by selecting two or more cells in the same column, then press Ctrl + + or Ctrl + -.

You can also select the entire row or column before pressing the shortcuts, but it is not required.

6. Open the Filter Drop-Down Menu

To open the filter drop-down menu, press Alt + if your cursor is on the header cell.

Shortcut to Open Filter Drop Down Menu in Excel Tables

If you have a cell selected further down the column, just hit Shift + Alt + . This will open the filter drop-down menu without having to scroll back up to the header cell.

7. Toggle the Total Row

On an Excel Table, you can add or delete a Total Row at the bottom really easily. To toggle the row on and off, just hit Ctrl + Shift + T.

Shortcut to Toggle Total Row Off or On in Excel Tables

8. Renaming a Table

To rename a table, just use keyboard shortcut Alt + J T A. That will set the focus on the Table Name box in the ribbon so that you can update the name.

Shortcut to Rename Excel Table 1

This shortcut is only available on Windows.

9. Insert a Table

Turning your data into an Excel Table is really easy when you use the shortcut Ctrl + T. This will bring up the Create Table window, including what Excel assumes the boundaries for your table should be. If those look right, you can just hit OK, and it will format your data as a table.

Shortcut to Insert a Table in Excel Tables

If you'd like to select different formatting for your table when inserting it, you can instead use the shortcut Alt + H T. (This shortcut is only for Windows.) This brings up a menu of formatting options and you can select whichever you like best.

Shortcut to Create and Format a Table in Excel Tables

Checkout this post & video on Tips & Shortcuts for Inserting Excel Tables to learn more.

10. Refresh a Query

If your table is connected to a query through Power Query, you can refresh it by hitting Alt + F5.

Shortcut to refresh a query

You can also right-click the table and select Refresh.

Related Posts

Want to see more shortcuts? Check out these tutorials!

Conclusion

I hope these shortcuts help to save you time and add to your reputation of Excel wizard in your workplace. Let me know if you have any questions or if you find these types of post helpful by leaving a comment below. See you next time!

  • A really useful set of shortcuts. I have been watching your videos for about a year now and learned loads of useful stuff. Thanks

  • Glad I found your site. Every tutorial so far has been a great tool for learning more about what you can do in Excel.

  • Tables and Vlookup are two of my new ‘Gotta Learn’ things and you are helping immensely. I even bought two of your recommended books at Christmas time.
    I have tried several email Excel subscriptions but it always comes back to just two that I keep and yours is one of them.
    Thank you Jon for making Excel fun and productive in a clear and concise way.

  • Jon, never been able to get tip #3 to work for me. Tried on 2 different Excel’s (Office Pro 2016 and Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise), both with the same build. When I try to move the column, I don’t get the green bar and it tries to overwrite the column where I drop it.

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