4. Essential Shortcuts for Excel Navigation


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.

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  1. Navigating Between Worksheets (00:40)

    You can move to the next worksheet in a workbook by pressing Ctrl + PgDown. You can move to the previous sheet using Ctrl + PgUp.

    To create a new worksheet, press Shift + F11. To delete the current worksheet, press Alt, E, L. To rename the current worksheet, press Alt, O, H, R, and type in the name you want.

  2. Navigating Within Worksheets (02:02)

    Using the keyboard arrows on their own is a slow way of navigating through a spreadsheet. To speed things up, use Control and an arrow key to move to the edge of the current data region. If we’re at the edge of a data region, this technique moves us to the start of the next one.

    The Home button can be used to move to the left of the spreadsheet. Pressing Home brings you to column A of the current row. Pressing Ctrl + Home brings you to cell A1.

    You can move up or down through a worksheet by pressing PgUp and PgDown. You can move left and right by pressing Alt + PgUp and Alt + PgDown.

    The GoTo dialog box can be accessed by pressing F5. This lets you navigate to any cell in the worksheet by typing in the cell reference, for example D300. You can navigate to cells in another worksheet by including the worksheet name and an exclamation mark, for example Sheet3!D300.


In the previous lesson, we learned how to add, edit, and delete data from cells. In this lesson, we'll learn how to navigate in Excel using keyboard shortcuts.

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 way of navigating Excel documents, especially those with large worksheets. A much quicker way of moving 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've 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 make up 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 a keyboard shortcut such as Ctrl + 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 Ctrl + Page Down. To move back to sheet two, I press Ctrl + Page Up, and I press it one more time to get back to sheet one. To create a new worksheet, I can use another shortcut command and that's Shift + F11. That immediately creates a new worksheet, sheet four to the left of sheet one, which I had previously selected. To delete a worksheet, Alt + E + 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 them for now because I'll include 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 Ctrl and press a keyboard arrow.

So when I hold Ctrl 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 Ctrl and press the left arrow. If I'd like to move down to the number 12, hold Ctrl and press the 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'll just press Ctrl + Up Arrow, and then repeat it two more times.

Combining Ctrl 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 a 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 say 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 brings me back to the first column.

What's more, if I press Ctrl and the Home button, it always returns me to sell A1. So if you find yourself far away from the top left hand corner on a spreadsheet, just press Ctrl and Home and it will bring you back to sell 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 holding 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 trick that I'd like to show you is the Go To dialogue box, which can be accessed by pressing F5 on 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 on any worksheet immediately. So for example, if I'd like to go to cell D300 on sheet three, I'll press F5, I'll type in sheet three, followed by an exclamation mark, then D300, and click OK.

And this brings us to sell D300 on sheet three immediately. The Go To dialog box is a great shortcut command, particularly if you got large data sets spread over a number of data sheets.

Let's now move back to our initial sheet by pressing Ctrl + Page Up twice, and then Ctrl + 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 try navigating around the data set without using the mouse.