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Basic Excel Shortcuts Keys

Microsoft Excel is powerful spreadsheet software used by the majority of people worldwide to store, fetch and manipulate data using basic and complex arithmetic operations and functions. Since it is powerful software and has been around for a long time, it has several advanced features, and one of such features is the use of shortcut keys in Excel.

No one can deny the fact that shortcut keys have made our Excel experience faster and easier. If you're a perpetual Microsoft Excel user, you can refer to this guide to learn some of the major ones. Excel provides a wide range of shortcut keys that you might have never heard of. Though it is obvious, you cannot remember all of them, so it is always beneficial to have a list just a glimpse away.

Before moving forward with the shortcuts, let us cover some fundamental concepts of shortcuts so that we can understand them efficiently:

  1. Plus Symbol (+): The plus sign (+) is used to assist the shortcut key combinations in Excel so can press multiple keys simultaneously. For example, if a shortcut key to print any document is Ctrl + P, we need to press the 'Ctrl' key and the 'P' key together.
  2. Comma Symbol (,): When there is a comma sign (,) in a shortcut key combination, we must press multiple keys in order. For example, if we are given a shortcut key combination as Alt + H, A, C, we are first required to press the 'Alt' key and 'H' together, then release those keys and press A and C one after another.
  3. Function keys: When there is a use of function key (such as F1, F2, F3?..F12) in a shortcut key combination, we must first activate function keys by pressing the 'Fn' button from the keyboard and then try the corresponding shortcut. For some keyboards, it may not be necessary.

Shortcut keys

Let's explore the list of Excel shortcut keys. Before we move forward, note that the list of keywords is extensive. Therefore we have categorized them based on Excel applications.

1. Excel Shortcut keys to display and manage windows

While working with Excel, the first thing you do is to open an Excel workbook window. So let's proceed with Excel windows shortcut keys category:

S.NO Shortcut Command
1. Alt +Tab To move to the next program.
2. Alt + Shift + Tab To move to the previous program.
3. Ctrl + Esc To display the Windows Start menu.
4. Alt +Print Screen To capture the image of the selected window and it paste into the Clipboard.
5. Ctrl+F5 To restore the window size of the selected workbook window.
6. F6 To switch to the next worksheet pane that has been split.
7. Ctrl +F10 To maximize or restore the selected Excel window.
8. SHFT+F6 To switch to the previous pane in a worksheet that has been split.
9. PRTSCR To capture the image of the screen and paste it to the Clipboard.
10. CTRL+F6 To switch to the next Excel window if you are working on more than one workbook window at a time.
11. CTRL+SHFT+F6 To move to the previous Excel window.
12. CTRL+F7 To perform the Move command when an Excel window is not maximized. You can also take advantage of arrow keys to move the window, and once done, press the ESC key.
13. CTRL+F8 To perform the Size command when a workbook window is not maximized. You can also take advantage of the arrow keys to resize the workbook window, and once done, press the ENTER key.
14. CTRL+F9 To minimize the Excel window to an icon.
15. Ctrl + W or Ctrl +F4 To close the selected Excel workbook window.

2. Commonly Used Excel Shortcut Keys

This category includes the shortcuts that are most commonly used in Excel:

S.NO Shortcut Command
1 F1 To open a Help Pane.
2 Ctrl + A To select all the data present in your Excel worksheet.
3 Ctrl + B To apply/ remove Bold from the selected cells.
4 Ctrl + I To apply/ remove Italic from the selected cells.
5 Ctrl + U To apply/ remove the underscore from the selected cells.
6 Ctrl + C To copy data from Excel worksheet.
7 Ctrl + V To paste the copied data from the clipboard to Excel worksheet.
8 Ctrl + Alt + V To open the 'Paste Special' window.
9 Ctrl + X To cut the selected cells from your Excel worksheet.
10 Ctrl + Z To undo the changes/ action in your Excel worksheet.
11 Ctrl + Y To redo the changes/ action your Excel worksheet.
12 Ctrl + D To duplicate the object, text, or formula.
13 Ctrl + P To print the Excel Workbook.
14 Ctrl + F To open the 'Find and Replace' window with the Find tab selected.
15 Ctrl + H To open the 'Find and Replace' window with Replace tab selected.
16 Ctrl + F4 To close Excel window.
17 Ctrl + F2 To switch to print preview option.

3. Excel shortcut keys to quickly work with smart tags

This category of shortcut keys includes the smart tags to quickly switch, select, close or perform action to your tag menu.

S.NO Shortcut Command
1 Alt +Shift +F10 To show the menu or message for a smart tag. If you have two or more smart tags in your worksheet, you can move to the next tag and show its menu or message.
2 Down Arrow To select the next element in a smart tag menu.
3 Up Arrow To select the previous element in a smart tag menu.
4 Enter To execute the action for the selected item in a smart tag menu.
5 Esc To close the smart tag menu or message.

4. Excel shortcut keys to work with task panes

This category includes the shortcuts that will help you quickly display, move, select, and perform different actions with Excel task panes.

Note: A task pane is a window within Microsoft Excel that stores commonly used Excel commands. Its placement and flexible size permit the users to use these commands while still working on their files.

S.NO Shortcut Command
1 F6 To move to a task pane from another pane.
2 CTRL+TAB To switch between the different Excel workbooks if you opened two or more workbooks at once.
NOTE: It may not work in the first instance so you may need to press this shortcut key more than once.
3 TAB To move the cursor to the next cell to the right.
4 SHFT+TAB To move the cursor to the next cell to the left.
5 CTRL+SPACEBAR To show the full set of commands on the task pane menu.
6 DOWN ARROW or UP ARROW To move among choices in a selected submenu.
7 SPACEBAR or ENTER To launch the selected menu, or perform the action assigned to the selected button
8 SHFT+F10 To launch the Excel shortcut menu or the drop-down menu.
9 HOME or END To select the first or last command on the menu if the menu is visible.
10 PAGE UP To scroll up in the selected gallery list
11 PAGE DOWN To scroll down in the selected gallery list
12 CTRL+HOME To move to the top of the selected gallery list
13 CTRL+END To move to the of the selected gallery list

5. Excel shortcut keys to work with menus and toolbars

This category includes the shortcuts that will help you work with the menu and toolbars without using your mouse.

S.NO Shortcut Command
1 F10 or ALT This shortcut key will enable the hotkeys to select the various options from the Excel menu bar (the horizontal bar present below the title bar that contains the names of menus).
2 TAB or SHFT+TAB To select the next or previous button or menu on the toolbar (if a toolbar is selected).
3 CTRL+TAB or CTRL+SHFT+TAB When a toolbar is selected, select the next or previous toolbar.
4 ENTER To open the selected menu, or perform the action for the selected button or command.
5 SHFT+F10 To display the shortcut menu for the selected item.
6 ALT+SPACEBAR To display the Control menu for the Excel window.
7 DOWN ARROW or UP ARROW To select the next or previous command (if a menu or submenu is open).
8 LEFT ARROW or RIGHT ARROW To select the menu to the left. If a submenu is open, this shortcut key helps to switch between the main menu and the submenu.
9 RIGHT ARROW To select the menu to the right. If a submenu is open, this shortcut key helps to switch between the main menu and the submenu.
10 HOME or END To select the first or last command on the menu or submenu.
11 ESC To close an open menu. If a submenu is open, this shortcut key only closes the submenu.
12 Ctrl +DOWN ARROW To show the full set of commands on a menu.

6. Shortcut keys to work with dialog boxes

We all closely work with Excel dialog boxes. Below given are some shortcut keys that will help you to work with dialog boxes quickly.

S.NO Shortcut Command
1 TAB To move to the next option.
2 SHFT+TAB To move to the previous option.
3 CTRL+TAB or CTRL+PAGE DOWN To switch to the next tab in a dialog box.
4 CTRL+SHFT+TAB or CTRL+PAGE UP To switch to the previous tab in a dialog box.
5 Arrow keys To move between options in an open drop-down list or in a group of options.
6 SPACEBAR To select or clear the data of the selected cell.
7 First letter of an optn in a drop-down list To launch the list if it is closed and move to that option in the list.
8 ALT+ the underlined letter in an optn To select an option, or select or clear a check box.
9 ALT+DOWN ARROW To launch the selected drop-down list.
10 ENTER To perform the action for the default command button in the dialog window.
11 ESC To cancel the command and close the dialog box.

7. Shortcut keys to edit boxes within dialog boxes

Utilize the below shortcut keys to edit boxes within Excel dialog boxes.

NOTE: These shortcut keys will work only if you have open a dialogue box in Excel.

S.NO Shortcut Command
1 HOME To move to the starting option of the dialog window.
2 END To move to the ending option of the dialog window.
3 LEFT ARROW or RIGHT ARROW To move one character to the left or right.
4 CTRL+LEFT ARROW To move one word towards the left of the window.
5 CTRL+RIGHT ARROW To move one word toward the right of the window.
6 SHFT+LEFT ARROW To select or unselect one character towards the left.
7 SHFT+RIGHT ARROW To select or unselect one character towards the right.
8 CTRL+SHFT+LEFT ARROW To select or unselect one word towards the left.
9 CTRL+SHFT+RIGHT ARROW To select or unselect one word towards the right.
10 SHFT+HOME To select from the insertion point to the starting of the dialog box.
11 SHFT+END To select from the insertion point to the end of the dialog box.

8. Shortcut keys to access the Open, Save As, and Insert Picture dialog windows

This category includes the shortcuts to quickly access the open, save as and insert picture windows:

S.NO Shortcut Command
1 ALT+1 To move to the previous folder
2 ALT+2 To open the folder up one level above the open folder
3 ALT+3 To close the dialog box and open your Web search page.
4 ALT+4 To delete the selected folder or file
5 ALT+5 To quickly create a new folder in your Excel workbook.
6 ALT+6 To switch among available folder views.
7 ALT+7 or ALT+L To display the Tools menu.
8 SHFT+F10 To show the shortcut menu for the selected element unlike a folder or file
9 TAB To move between options or areas in the dialog box
10 F4 or ALT+I To open the Look in list
11 F5 To refresh the active file list

9. Use the Help task pane and Help window

This category includes the shortcuts to quickly access and use the Help task pane and Help window:

S.NO Shortcut Command
1 F1 To launch the Help task pane.
2 F6 To switch between the help pane and active application.
Note In your worksheet that has been split, this shortcut key will also include the split panes while switching between the panes.
3 TAB To select the next element in the Help task pane.
4 SHFT+TAB To select the previous element in the Help task pane.
5 ENTER To perform the action for the selected element.
6 DOWN ARROW It selects the next element in a Table of Contents
7 UP ARROW It selects the previous element in a Table of Contents
8 RIGHT ARROW and To expand the selected element in a Table of Contents
9 LEFT ARROW To collapse the selected element in a Table of Contents
10 ALT+LEFT ARROW To move back to the previous task Pane.
11 ALT+RIGHT ARROW To move forward to the next task Pane.
12 CTRL+SPACEBAR To launch the menu of Pane options.
13 CTRL+F1 To close and reopen the active task pane.
14 RIGHT ARROW To expand a +/- list.
15 LEFT ARROW To collapse a +/- list.

10. Shortcut keys to utilize the Help window

This category includes the shortcuts to quickly access and use the Help window:

S.NO Shortcut Command
1 TAB To select the next hidden text or hyperlink, or Show All or Hide All at the top of a topic.
2 SHFT+TAB To select the previous hidden text or hyperlink, or the Browser View button.
3 ENTER To perform the action for the selected Show All, Hide All, hidden text, or hyperlink.
4 ALT+LEFT ARROW To move back to the previous Help topic.
5 ALT+RIGHT ARROW To move forward to the next Help topic.
6 CTRL+P To print the active Help topic.
7 UP ARROW To Scroll small amounts up within the currently-displayed Help window.
8 DOWN ARROW To Scroll small amounts down within the currently-displayed Help window.
9 PAGE UP AND To Scroll larger amounts up within the currently-displayed Help window.
10 PAGE DOWN To Scroll larger amounts down within the currently-displayed Help window.
11 ALT+U It allows you to change whether the Help window appears connected to (tiled) or separate from (untiled) the active application.
12 SHFT+F10 To show a menu of commands for the Help window.

11. Shortcut keys to work with Preview and print

It holds all the shortcuts that will quickly help you perform the print and preview operation in Excel:

S.NO Shortcut Command
1 Arrow keys To move around the page when zoomed in.
2 PAGE UP or PAGE DOWN To move by one page when zoomed out.
3 CTRL+UP ARROW or CTRL+LEFT ARROW To move to the first page when zoomed out.
4 CTRL+DOWN ARROW or CTRL+RIGHT ARROW To move to the end page when zoomed out.

12. Excel worksheets generic Shortcut keys

Shortcuts to smoothly work with worksheets:

S.NO Shortcut Command
1 SHFT+F11 or ALT+SHFT+F1 This shortcut is used to insert a new worksheet to your exiting workbook.
2 CTRL+PAGE DOWN This shortcut is used to move to the next worksheet in the workbook.
3 CTRL+PAGE UP This shortcut is used to move to the previous worksheet in the workbook.
4 SHFT+CTRL+PAGE DOWN This shortcut is used to select the current and next Excel worksheet.
5 SHFT+CTRL+PAGE UP This shortcut is used to select the current and previous Excel worksheet.
6 ALT+O, H, R This shortcut is used to rename the current Excel worksheet.
7 ALT+E, M To move or copy the current Excel worksheet.
8 ALT+E, L To delete the active worksheet.

13. Shortcut keys to move and scroll within worksheets

In the above section, we covered the generic worksheet shortcuts. This category will work around the shortcut keys that will help us to move and scroll within worksheets.

S.NO Shortcut Command
1 Arrow keys To move one cell up, down, left, or right in your worksheet.
2 TAB To move one cell to the right in your worksheet.
3 SHFT+TAB To move one cell to the left in your worksheet.
4 CTRL+arrow key To move to the edge of the current data region.
5 HOME To move to the beginning of the row.
6 CTRL+HOME To move to the starting of the worksheet.
7 CTRL+END To move to the last cell on the worksheet, in the bottom-most used row of the rightmost used column.
8 PAGE DOWN To move down one screen in your worksheet.
9 PAGE UP To move up one screen in your worksheet.
10 ALT+PAGE DOWN To move one screen to the right in your worksheet.
11 ALT+PAGE UP To move one screen to the left in your worksheet.
12 F6 To switch to the next pane in a worksheet that has been split.
13 SHFT+F6 To switch to the previous pane in a worksheet that has been split.
14 CTRL+BACKSPACE To scroll to show the current cell.
15 F5 To show the Go To dialog box in your worksheet.
16 SHFT+F5 To show the Find dialog box in your worksheet.
17 SHFT+F4 To repeat the last Find action (it works same as Find Next).
18 TAB To move between unlocked cells on a protected worksheet.

14. Shortcut keys to move within a selected range

The below shortcut keys will quickly help you to move within a selected range:

S.NO Shortcut Command
1 ENTER To move from top to bottom within the selected range.
2 SHFT+ENTER To move from bottom to top within the selected range.
3 TAB To move from left to right within the selected range. If cells in a single column are selected, move down.
4 SHFT+TAB To move from right to left within the selected range. If cells in a single column are selected, move up.
5 CTRL+PERIOD To move clockwise to the next corner of the selected range.
6 CTRL+ALT+RIGHT ARROW To switch to the next selection to the right in non-adjacent selections,
7 CTRL+ALT+LEFT ARROW To switch to the next selection to the left in non-adjacent selections,

15. Shortcut keys to scroll with SCROLL LOCK on

The below shortcut keys will quickly help you to move or scroll with SCROLL LOCK on:

S.NO Shortcut Command
1 SCROLL LOCK To turn the SCROLL LOCK option on or off.
2 HOME To move to the cell in the upper-left corner of the active window.
3 END To move to the cell in the lower-right corner of the active window.
4 UP ARROW To scroll one row up.
5 UP ARROW or DOWN ARROW To scroll one row down.
6 LEFT ARROW To scroll one column left.
7 RIGHT ARROW To scroll one column right.

16. Select cells, rows and columns, and objects

Selecting cells, rows & columns is one of the common operations while working with Excel worksheets. Below are shortcut keys to make it move faster and easier:

S.NO Shortcut Command
1 CTRL+SPACEBAR This shortcut key selects the entire column.
2 SHFT+SPACEBAR This shortcut key selects the entire row.
3 CTRL+A This shortcut key selects the entire worksheet. If your worksheet contains data, CTRL+A selects the current region. If you press CTRL+A for a second time, it will select the entire worksheet.
4 SHFT+BACKSPACE This shortcut key selects only the active cell with multiple cells selected.
5 CTRL+SHFT+SPACEBAR This shortcut key selects the entire worksheet.
6 CTRL+6 This shortcut key alternate between hiding objects, displaying objects, and displaying placeholders for objects.

17. Shortcut keys to select cells with specific characteristics

Selection is important and random in Excel. Below are the shortcuts which will help you in selection:

S.NO Shortcut Command
1 CTRL+SHFT+* (asterisk) To select the current region around the active cell..
2 CTRL+/ To select the array.
3 CTRL+SHFT+O (the letter O) To select all cells that contains Excel comments.
4 CTRL+\ To select the cells for a selected row that doesn't match the formula or value in the active cell.
5 CTRL+SHFT+| To select the cells for a selected column that doesn't match the formula or value in the active cell.
6 CTRL+[ (opening bracket) To select all cells directly referenced by formulas in the selected range.
7 CTRL+SHFT+{ (opening brace) To select all cells directly or indirectly referenced by formulas in the selection.
8 CTRL+] (closing bracket) To select cells that hold formulas that directly references the active cell.
9 CTRL+SHFT+} (closing brace) To select cells that contain formulas that directly or indirectly references the active cell.
10 ALT+; (semicolon) To select the visible cells in the selection.

18. Shortcut keys to extend a selection

In the above section we discussed the shortcuts that would help to select cells with specific characteristics. In this category we will discover the shortcuts to extend a selection.

S.NO Shortcut Command
1 F8 This shortcut helps to turn the extend mode on or off.
2 SHFT+F8 This shortcut adds another range of cells to the selection.
3 SHFT+ arrow key This shortcut extends the selection by one cell.
4 CTRL+ SHFT+ arrow key This shortcut extends the selection to the last non-blank cell in the same column or row as the active cell.
5 SHFT+HOME This shortcut extends the selection to the starting of the row.
6 CTRL+SHFT+HOME This shortcut extends the selection to the starting of the Excel sheet.
7 CTRL+SHFT+END This shortcut extends the selection to the last used cell on the Excel sheet (lower-right corner).
8 SHFT+PAGE DOWN This shortcut extends the selection down one screen.
9 SHFT+PAGE UP This shortcut extends the selection up one screen.
10 END+ SHFT+ arrow key Ext This shortcut extends end the selection to the last non-blank cell in the same column or row as the active cell.
11 END+SHFT+HOME This shortcut extends the selection to the last used cell on the Excel sheet.
12 END+SHFT+ENTER This shortcut extends the selection to the last cell in the current row.
13 SCROLL LOCK+SHFT+HOME This shortcut extends the selection to the cell in the upper-left part of the window.
14 SCROLL LOCK+SHFT+END This shortcut extends the selection to the cell in the lower-right part of the window.

19. Shortcut keys to access and enter special characters

Below given are the shortcut keys that will help us to access and enter special characters:

S.NO Shortcut Command
1 ALT+0162 This shortcut key enters the cent character ¢ in your Excel worksheet.
2 ALT+0163 This shortcut key enters the pound sterling character £.
3 ALT+0165 This shortcut key enters the yen symbol ¥.
4 ALT+0128 This shortcut key enters the euro symbol ?.

20. Shortcut keys to enter and calculate formulas

Below given are the shortcut keys that will help us to enter and calculate formulas:

S.NO Shortcut Command
1 = (equal sign) To start an Excel formula.
2 F2 To move the insertion point into the Formula Bar when editing in a cell is turned off.
3 BACKSPACE To delete one character to the left in the Formula Bar
4 ENTER To complete a cell entry from the cell or Formula Bar.
5 CTRL+SHFT+ENTER To enter a formula as an array formula
6 ESC To cancel an entry in the cell or Formula Bar.
7 SHFT+F3 To show the Insert Function dialog box In a formula.
8 CTRL+A To show the Function Arguments dialog box when the insertion point is to the right of a function name in the given formula.
9 CTRL+SHFT+A To insert the argument names and parentheses when the insertion point is to the right of a function name in a formula.
10 F3 To paste a given name into a formula.
11 ALT+= (equal sign) To insert an AutoSum formula with the SUM function.
12 CTRL+SHFT+ (quotation mark) To copy the value from the cell above the active cell into the cell or the Formula Bar.
13 CTRL+' (apostrophe) To copy a formula from the cell above the active cell into the cell or the Formula Bar.
14 CTRL+` (single left quotation mark) To alternate between showing cell values and displaying formulas.
15 F9 To calculate all worksheets in all open workbooks.
16 SHFT+F9 To calculate the active worksheet.
17 CTRL+ALT+F9 To calculate all worksheets in all open workbooks, despite they have changed since the last calculation.

21. Excel shortcut keys to Edit data

This category includes the shortcuts to quickly edit your Excel data:

S.NO Shortcut Command
1 F2 To edit the active cell and position the insertion point at the end of the cell contents.
2 ALT+ENTER To add a line break in the selected cell.
3 BACKSPACE To Edit the active cell and then clear it..
4 DELETE To delete the character to the right of the insertion point, or delete the selection.
5 CTRL+DELETE To delete text to the end of the line.
6 F7 To show the spelling dialog box.
7 SHFT+F2 To edit a cell comment.
8 ENTER To Complete a cell entry and select the next cell below.
9 CTRL+Z To undo the last action.
10 ESC To cancel a cell entry.
11 CTRL+SHFT+Z To undo or redo the last automatic correction.

22. Shortcut keys to insert, delete, and copy cells

This category includes the shortcuts to quickly insert, delete, and copy cells in your Excel worksheet:

S.NO Shortcut Command
1 CTRL+C To copy the selected cells from your active worksheet.
2 CTRL+C, instantly press another CTRL+C To show the MS Office Clipboard
3 CTRL+X To cut the selected cells from your active worksheet
4 CTRL+V To paste copied cells to your active worksheet.
5 DELETE To delete the selected content from your active worksheet.
6 CTRL+HYPHEN To delete the selected cells from your active worksheet
7 CTRL+SHFT+PLUS SIGN To insert blank cells.






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