2. Keyboard Shortcuts

 
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Overview

Keyboard shortcuts dramatically improve your productivity in Excel. This lesson explains the two types of keyboard shortcuts in Excel and how to use them.

Summary

  1. Shortcuts that Access the Ribbon (00:53)

    Instead of accessing ribbon commands with the mouse, it’s much quicker to use keyboard shortcuts. Shortcuts that access the ribbon all start with Alt, followed by a shortcut for the tab, then a shortcut for the command.

    For example pressing Alt, then H accesses the Home tab. Pressing Alt, H, P accesses the command to convert the current cell to a percentage. In these notes, commas indicate that you press the keys one after the other. When you press Alt, you can see the available shortcuts on screen. As a result, you don’t need to commit these shortcuts to memory.

  2. Shortcuts that Don’t Access the Ribbon (01:37)

    Other shortcuts execute commands without accessing the ribbon. These shortcuts are probably used more often, and must be committed to memory. Many of these shortcuts use the Control key (labeled Ctrl on many keyboards).

    Some examples include Ctrl + C to copy, Ctrl + V to paste and Ctrl + PgDown to move to the next worksheet. In these notes, the + symbol indicates the keys are pressed at the same time.

Transcript

In the previous lesson we introduced Excel's user interface. In this lesson we'll learn about the two main types of keyboard shortcut in Excel. When using Excel we typically spend our time typing numbers and text. And typically keep two hands on the keyboard almost all of the time. As a result, reaching for the mouse repeatedly to access commands in the ribbon becomes very time consuming. A much better alternative is to use keyboard shortcuts to access these commands. Although, they require some practice at the start keyboard shortcuts will make you much faster at Excel overtime.

There are broadly two types of keyboard shortcuts in Excel, shortcuts that directly access the ribbon commands and then shortcuts that don't. To access shortcuts in the ribbon we simply press the Alt key. And this displays a series of letters underneath each tab. Let's press H for the Home tab.

And this immediately provides me with all the shortcut commands for this tab. For this example if I wanted to convert the number 12 into the percentage format I would just press P and this gives me 1200%. If I press Alt A instead of Alt H you can see that the shortcuts appear for this tab as well. Ribbon shortcuts are very helpful because all you need to remember is one key, Alt and Excel will tell you the rest of the keys to press to execute the shortcut. The second set of keyboard shortcuts which do not access the ribbon are probably used more often, but they do require you to commit them to memory. Some of these shortcuts you might be familiar with from other programs. For example, Control B to bold text, Control C to copy, and Control V to paste, others such as Control Page Down to move to the next sheet are specific to Excel.

Although, I tried to use shortcuts as much as possible there are some occasions, for example, when I'm selecting a text color where I find the mouse easier to use. If you can learn to limit your use of the mouse to these few instances you'll become much more productive at navigating and manipulating data in Excel.