2. Keyboard Shortcuts

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

Lesson Notes

Keyboard shortcuts in the ribbon

- These shortcuts automatically access commands in the ribbon
- To start, simply press ALT and then type the letter under the desired tab

Other keyboard shortcuts

- These shortcuts do not access the ribbon and must be committed to memory
- Some are common to Word and PowerPoint (e.g. CTRL + C to copy)
- Others are specific to Excel (e.g. CTRL + PgDn to move worksheet)


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 on 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 over time.

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.

So for 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, Ctrl + B to bold text, Ctrl +C to copy, and Ctrl + V to paste.

Others, such as Ctrl + Pgdown to move to the next sheet are specific to Excel.

To help you remember these shortcuts, I'll include every new shortcut I use in the lesson in the show notes underneath the video.

Although I try 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.