Finance News & Insights

21 best Excel shortcuts — all in one place


Love ’em or loathe ’em, spreadsheets are the lifeblood of any Finance department.

Why not make it as easy on yourself as possible? Here’s a collection of the best Excel shortcuts – bet you don’t know them all:

CTRL — Shift & Outline border to the selected cells.

CTRL Shift # — Change Date format with day, month and year.

CTRL Shift @ — Change Time format with hour and minute, AM or PM.

CTRL Shift : —  For the current time.

CTRL ; — For current date.

CTRL 9 — Hide selected rows.

CTRL 0 — Hide selected columns.

CTRL ` — Display Formulas/Alternate in the worksheet.

CTRL+K — To insert Hyperlink.

CTRL+H — Opens up the Find and Replace dialog box.

CTRL+R — Uses the Fill Right command to copy the contents and format of the leftmost cell of a selected range into the cells to the right.

CTRL+7 — Hides or displays the standard toolbar.

ALT+F1 — This creates a chart out of the data in the current range (selected cells). This is the most well-known feature of Excel, and now you know a new way to use it!

ALT+SHIFT+F1 — Inserts a new worksheet into a workbook.

F6 — Switches between the worksheet, Ribbon, task pane, and Zoom controls. This is probably the most useful shortcut of all. This cool shortcut is also the most beloved to all the anti-mouse users out there.

SHIFT+F6 The reverse of the F6 shortcut.

CTRL+F6 Switches to the next workbook window when multiple workbook windows are open.

CTRL+SHIFT+$ Applies the currency format to the selected cells.

CTRL+` Alternates between showing the value of a cell and the formula in the worksheet. Great for complex worksheets.

CTRL+D Fill down command on the selected cells. Fill down copies the content and format of the topmost cell into the cells below.

CTRL+R Fill right command on the selected cells. Fill right copies the content and format of the leftmost cell to the cells to the right.

It’s worth posting a copy of this list next to every Finance PC. It can save time and frustration.

Any additional shortcuts you’d like to share? Pass them along here.

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  • Teri Evers

    CTRL + F – Opens up the Find and Replace dialog box.

  • ed

    I thought you might find this useful

  • CTRL+R is repeated on this list… so 20 best shortcuts 🙂

  • Melissa

    F4 repeats the last action – very handy!

  • Ann

    F2 – opens the cell highlighted for edit – very nice!

  • Janet

    Ctrl ` is also repeated. This list includes several shortcuts I didn’t know, so thanks! I just tried Ctrl 9 and Ctrl 0 for hiding and discovered that adding the Shift key Un-hides. Too cool!

    Ctrl F and Ctrol H open the same dialog box but default to different tabs – F for find, H for replace. Here are some of my most favored favorites:
    Shift + spacebar selects the current row(s)
    Ctrl+ spacebar selects the current column(s)
    Combine these with:
    Ctrl – (minus) to delete the selected row or column
    Ctrl + to insert the number of rows/columns that are highlighted. If you have already copied (Ctrl C) or cut (Ctrl X) rows or columns, then the Ctrl + acts as Insert-Paste.
    Another of my favorites is Ctrl ‘ (apostrophe) which copies the contents of the cell directly above. It doesn’t copy formatting. I guess the delete and insert ones above aren’t as useful if you are working on a laptop keyboard, but I’m usually working on a standard keyboard and use them daily.

  • Janet

    BTW, does anyone know a short-cut for Paste-Special-Value or Paste-Special-Format? I use them a lot and would love to have shortcuts. Thanks.

  • Angela

    CTRL + ` is also repeated. Still a useful list of shortcuts!

  • Karen

    F11 makes a basic bar chart out of your data.

  • David

    Control+’ is also repeated.

    Shift + F11 will also create a new sheet in a workbook

  • AStroman

    I use the keyboard strokes for paste value as follows:
    CTRL + C then ALT then E then S then V

    For Format, it is the same except instead of V it is F at the end.

  • Shannon

    paste value (in 2007)
    Alt then H then V then V

  • Shannon

    ctrl + shift+end : this selects the whole section that you are working with
    combine with
    ctrl+ shift + arrow keys to really fine tune the area selected

  • thomas

    except for cut and paste, I tend to use mouse short cuts… but one that combines the two that i have found handy if you have a scroller on your mouse is + to zoom in and to zoom out

  • I use the paste special, value so much I created a macro and assigned the shortcut of CTRL B. Saves a lot of time.

  • SeenFresh

    F2 – allows quick access the contents of a cells also available/evident in the formula bar.
    F4 – changes a cells reference types only when the cell is in EDIT mode (absolute, relative references, and mixed) where formulas are evident.

    F2 followed by F4 is a quick way to switch a cells reference types.

    CTRL + Insert : another way to copy cells contents
    SHIFT + Insert: another way to paste cells contents

    CTRL + P: Print
    CTRL + O: Open file dialog
    CTRL + B : Bold formatting
    CTRL + I : Italic formatting
    CTRL + U : Underline formatting

    CTRL + F10: Maximize wb
    CTRL + F9 : Minimize wb

    ….etc all very handy

  • thomas

    sorry, the symbols i used did not filter into the message… CTRL + to zoom in and CTRL – to zoom out or you can use your mouse scroller and CTRL

  • Tami

    One of my favorites- to highlight all populated columns to the right and rows below: CTRL + SHIFT + Arrow Right then Arrow Down.

  • I use CTRL Z, for replaceing entrys that have been deleted or typed over by mistake.

  • Midge

    Great list! You left off CTRL+A which highlights all cells in the spreadsheet.

  • Ryan

    ‘Cntrl + ~’ flips all cells from formula view to results view. Very handy for complex modeling.

  • Dexter77

    Dear Janet

    Ctrl + Alt + V Past Special

    Have fun


  • Matthieu Liatard

    I made a blog article on the same topic and it is fun to see how different preferred shortcuts in Excel can be, depending on our approach to Excel.

    My personal top 2 would be

    CTRL SHIFT L => use the current selection as head row of a filtered table

    ALT = => automatically creates a sum function below a column of figures

    If you want to have a look and do the little quiz at the end, follow this link: