4. Essential Shortcuts for Excel Navigation

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A few keyboard shortcuts can help you navigate in double-quick time. Here I show you how to use these shortcuts on a sample sales datasheet.

Lesson Notes

Useful keyboard shortcuts: Worksheet navigation

CTRL + Pg Dn: Move to worksheet on the right
CTRL + Pg Up: Move to worksheet on the left
SHIFT + F11: Create new worksheet
ALT + E, L: Delete worksheet
ALT + O, H, R: Change name of worksheet

Useful keyboard shortcuts: Cell navigation

→: Move to next cell
CTRL + →: Move to edge of data region
HOME: Return to first cell in the selected row
CTRL + HOME: Return to cell A1
Pg Dn: Move down one screen
Pg Up: Move up one screen
ALT + Pg Dn: Move across one screen to the right
ALT + Pg Up: Move across one screen to the left
F5: Show Go-To Dialog box


Most beginners navigate Excel using the mouse and after all, it's very simple to go to a cell by simply clicking the mouse button. However, this is a particularly slow of way of navigating Excel documents, especially those with large worksheets. A much quicker way to move around Excel is using keyboard shortcuts and that's what we'll be focusing on in this lesson. To help us in this task, I have included this sample spreadsheet that can be downloaded underneath this video and then opened in Excel. Data is arranged in one or more worksheets, which together makeup a workbook. To move to the second sheet of a workbook, I can simply scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the tab.

Or a much quicker way is to use the keyboard shortcut such as Control + Page Down, which moves me to the tab on the right hand side of the currently selected sheet. So to move to sheet three, I press Control + Page Down. To move back to sheet two, I press Control + Page Up and I press it one more time to get to sheet one. To create a new worksheet, I can use another shortcut command and that's Shift + F11 and that immediately creates a new worksheet, sheet four, to the left of sheet one, which I had previously selected. To delete a worksheet hold Alt + E and then press L, to delete sheet four and bring me back to sheet one. If we have many sheets in our workbook, it can be helpful to have more descriptive names than sheet one, sheet two, and sheet three. And so to change the name of a worksheet, we'll use the shortcut Alt + O H R and then I'm gonna change the name to Q1_sales data.

Press return and now the name of our sheet has changed. All of these keyboard shortcuts might be a little overwhelming at the start but don't worry about remembering them for now because I'll included them in the show notes below this video. Let's now move on to navigating within a spreadsheet. If you're navigating a spreadsheet using a keyboard the easiest way to do it is simply to use the keyboard arrows. However, this is a pretty slow and tedious way of navigating a spreadsheet. To move a little faster, hold Control and press a keyboard arrow So when I hold Control and press the right arrow, it moves me to the edge of the data region in the direction that I press. So for example if I want to move back to the cell that says order number, hold Control and press left arrow. If I'd like to move down to the number 12, hold Control and press down arrow. And if I press it again, it moves me to the edge of the next data region, and if I press it one more time, it brings me down to the bottom of the second data region. If I'd like to move back up to the top, I just press Control + Up Arrow, and then repeat it two more times.

Combining Control and the keyboard arrows is a great way of navigating around spreadsheets, particularly financial models, which tend to have many data regions within a single sheet.

The next set of navigation shortcuts we'll cover rely on the home button. If I have spreadsheet that has many columns, I'll often spend a lot of time scrolling back and forth, left to right. This is where the home button can become particularly useful. Let's I'm in AA3 and I'd like to get back to the left hand side of the page. Simply press the Home button and it stays in the same row, but it brings me back to the first column.

What's more, if I press Control and the Home button, it always returns me to cell A1. So if you find yourself far away from the top left hand corner on a spreadsheet, just press Control and Home and it will bring you back to cell A1 immediately. A very useful command.

Another useful navigation shortcut is the Page Down key. I currently have rows one to 23 shown on screen. If I want to view rows 23 to 45, I simply press the Page Down key. If I'd like to move back up again, I simply press Page Up.

We can also move across horizontally one screen, by pressing Alt and pressing Page Down and this shows us columns S to AK. If I'd like to move back to columns A to S, just hold Alt and press Page Up. The last navigation shortcut I'd like to show you is the go to dialog box, which can be accessed by pressing F5 at the top of your keyboard. If you'd like to navigate to a cell, let's say for example D300, click OK and this automatically brings us to that cell on the selected worksheet. The go to dialog box is very powerful, because you can access any cell, in any worksheet immediately. So for example, if I'd like to go to cell D300 on my sheet three, I'd press F5, I'll type in Sheet3, followed by an exclamation mark, then D300 and click OK.

And this brings us to cell D300 on sheet three immediately. The go to dialog box is a great shortcut command particularly if you've got large data sets spread over a number of data sheets. Let's now move back to our initial sheet by pressing Control + Page Up twice and then Control + Home to move back to the top of the page.

Although there are many more navigation commands available in Excel, I find the few I've shown you in this lesson will cover almost all of your needs. To get some practice using these shortcuts, be sure to download the Excel file underneath this video and trying navigating around the data set without using the mouse.