Resolve to Learn and Use 14 Excel Keyboard Shortcuts in 2014
by David Ringstrom on
It’s a new year, which brings the promise of fresh starts, and resolutions to work smarter. Keyboard shortcuts are one of the best ways to both save time and reduce wear and tear on your wrists when working in Microsoft Excel. In this article I discuss fourteen of the keyboard shortcuts that I use most often in Excel. This is by no means a comprehensive listing, but rather a throwing down of the gauntlet to challenge you to incorporate at least 14 keyboard shortcuts into your daily work.
In no particular order, here are fourteen of the keyboard shortcuts that I use most frequently in Excel:
1. Ctrl-Z: Undo the last action. In Excel 2003 we were limited to undoing our last sixteen actions, but in Excel 2007 and later I’ve been able to undo at least the last 100 actions—I quit counting after I reached triple digits.
2. Ctrl-O: Launch the Open dialog box. To get the most out of this keyboard shortcut in Excel 2013 turn on Don’t Show Backstage View When Opening Or Saving Files setting shown in Figure 1. Doing so will enable you to bypass the File menu rigmarole in that version of Excel.
Figure 1: By default Ctrl-O launches the File menu in Excel 2013 unless you turn off the Backstage View.
3. Ctrl-S: Save the active workbook. Judging by the ever increasing number of page views for my Recovering Unsaved Excel Workbooks article, more Excel users should incorporate this into their spreadsheet work.
4. Ctrl-N: Open a new, blank workbook.
5. Ctrl-C: Copy to the clipboard. Although I generally use Ctrl-C to copy blocks of cells to the clipboard, I also frequently use it to copy data from Excel’s Formula bar to the clipboard. Data that you copy from cells only remains there temporarily—many simple actions in Excel clear the clipboard. However, if you copy data from the Formula bar, the contents will remain on the clipboard until you place something else there, which is the way the clipboard works in virtually every other program.
6. Ctrl-V: Generally if you copy something to the clipboard, you’re going to want to paste it somewhere else. I often use Ctrl-V, but if I only need to paste the item once, I’ll press Enter, which simultaneously pastes and clears the clipboard.
7. Ctrl-B: Toggles Bold on or off, which is helpful when improving the look and feel of your spreadsheet.