Excel Shortcuts to Work with Cells, Columns, and Rows

Mastering Microsoft Excel keyboard shortcuts is must-have knowledge. It can significantly enhance your productivity. You can save the time and effort needed to move and click using the mouse. Many common column and row operations along with cell editing can be quickly performed using keyboard shortcuts.

In this article, we will explore a range of essential keyboard shortcuts that work with cells, columns, and rows in Excel. Additionally, we will address some frequently asked questions to help you optimize your Excel workflow.

excel shortcuts screenshot
Excel Shortcuts Screenshot

Section 1: Navigating and Selecting Cells

Efficiently moving within and selecting cells is essential for working with data in Excel. Whether you need to move one cell at a time or jump to the last non-empty cell in a specific direction, these shortcuts will help you save time and stay focused on your data analysis tasks.

Sr. NumberExcel Shortcut toShortcut
1Move one cell in the respective directionArrow Keys (←, ↑, ↓, →)
2Move one cell to the right or leftTab / Shift + Tab
3Jump to the last non-empty cell in the selected directionCtrl + Arrow Keys
4Select cells in the respective directionShift + Arrow Keys
5Extend the selection to the last non-empty cell in the selected directionCtrl + Shift + Arrow Keys
6Select the entire column of the active cellCtrl + Spacebar
7Select the entire row of the active cellShift + Spacebar

Section 2: Working with Columns and Rows

Columns and rows form the backbone of any Excel spreadsheet, and knowing how to manipulate them quickly is crucial. In this section, we will delve into keyboard shortcuts that simplify the process of inserting, deleting, and adjusting the width and height of columns and rows. These shortcuts will empower you to organize your data effectively and maintain a clean and visually appealing spreadsheet layout.

Sr. NumberExcel shortcut toShortcut
1Insert a new column or rowCtrl + Shift + ‘+’
2Delete the selected column or rowCtrl + ‘-‘
3Double-click on the right boundary of the columnAutoFit Column Width
4Double-click on the bottom boundary of the rowAutoFit Row Height
5Select the entire column(s) of the active cellCtrl + Spacebar
6Select the entire row(s) of the active cellShift + Spacebar
7Select the entire worksheetCtrl + Shift + Spacebar

Section 3: Formatting Cells, Columns, and Rows

Formatting cells appropriately enhances data clarity and readability. This section will introduce keyboard shortcuts that allow you to swiftly apply formatting options to selected cells. Whether you want to change the number format, apply currency or percentage formatting, or access the comprehensive Format Cells dialog box, these shortcuts will make the formatting process a breeze. By efficiently formatting your data, you can convey information effectively and make your spreadsheet more visually appealing.

Sr. NumberExcel shortcut toShortcut
1Open the Format Cells dialog boxCtrl + 1
2Apply the currency format to the selected cellsCtrl + Shift + $
3Apply the percentage format to the selected cellsCtrl + Shift + %
4Apply the default number formatting to selected column(s) or row(s)Ctrl + Shift + 1
5Apply the date format to selected column(s) or row(s)Ctrl + Shift + #

Section 4: Modifying Cell Contents

Editing, copying, and pasting cell contents are frequent actions when working with Excel. This section will cover keyboard shortcuts that streamline these operations, making them quicker and more convenient. Whether you need to edit the content of a cell directly, move to adjacent cells efficiently, or copy and paste data, these shortcuts will optimize your workflow and ensure smooth data manipulation.

Sr. NumberExcel shortcut toShortcut
1Edit the active cell’s contents directly in the cellF2
2Complete the cell edit and move downEnter
3Complete the cell edit and move upShift + Enter
4Complete the cell edit and keep the active cell selectedCtrl + Enter
5Copy the selected cell(s)Ctrl + C
6Cut the selected cell(s)Ctrl + X
7Paste the copied or cut cell(s)Ctrl + V

Section 5: Working with the Formula Bar

The formula bar in Excel is a powerful tool for working with formulas. In this section, we’ll explore keyboard shortcuts that enhance efficiency when editing formulas. From navigating within the formula to copying, pasting, and finalizing formulas, these shortcuts optimize your workflow and maximize productivity. Mastering these shortcuts unlocks Excel’s formula capabilities and streamlines data analysis.

Sr. NumberExcel shortcut toShortcut
1Activate the formula barF2 or Click in the formula bar
2Move the cursor to the beginning of the formulaCtrl + Home
3Move the cursor to the end of the formulaCtrl + End
4Delete the character to the left of the cursorBackspace
5Delete the character to the right of the cursorDelete
6Copy the selected text in the formula barCtrl + C
7Cut the selected text in the formula barCtrl + X
8Paste the copied or cut text into the formula barCtrl + V
9Undo the previous action in the formula barCtrl + Z
10Redo the previously undone action in the formula barCtrl + Y
11Select the entire text in the formula barCtrl + A
12Insert or edit a function in the formulaShift + F3
13AutoComplete the function or range names in the formulaCtrl + Shift + A
14Enter the formula into the selected cell(s)Enter
15Cancel editing the formula without making changesEsc

Section 6: Cell Formatting Shortcuts

In Excel, proper cell formatting is essential for effectively presenting data. This section focuses on keyboard shortcuts that streamline cell formatting tasks. From applying number formats to adjusting alignments and adding borders, these shortcuts enhance efficiency and ensure visually appealing spreadsheets. Mastering these shortcuts saves time and helps create consistent data visualizations in Excel.

Sr. NumberExcel shortcut toShortcut
1Open the Format Cells dialog boxCtrl + 1
2Apply the General number formatCtrl + Shift + ~
3Apply the Currency formatCtrl + Shift + $
4Apply the Percentage formatCtrl + Shift + %
5Apply the Date formatCtrl + Shift + #
6Apply the Time formatCtrl + Shift + @
7Apply the Short Date formatCtrl + Shift + !
8Apply the Scientific formatCtrl + Shift + ^
9Apply the Fraction formatCtrl + Shift + /
10Apply the Accounting format with two decimal placesCtrl + Shift + $ (or Ctrl + Shift + 4)
11Increase decimal placesCtrl + Shift + +
12Decrease decimal placesCtrl + Shift + –
13Apply bold formattingCtrl + B
14Apply italic formattingCtrl + I
15Apply underline formattingCtrl + U
16Apply strikethrough formattingCtrl + 5
17Apply or remove borderCtrl + Shift + &
18Align text to the leftCtrl + Shift + L
19Align text to the centerCtrl + Shift + E
20Align text to the rightCtrl + Shift + R
21Merge cellsAlt + H, M
22Wrap text within a cellAlt + H, W
23Adjust column width to fit contentsAlt + H, O, I
24Adjust row height to fit contentsAlt + H, O, A

FAQs on Excel Shortcuts

Yes, you can customize keyboard shortcuts in Excel.
Go to “File” > “Options ” > “Customize Ribbon,” and then click on “Customize” next to “Keyboard shortcuts.” You can assign or modify shortcuts based on your preferences.

Most Excel shortcuts mentioned in this article are applicable to both Windows and Mac versions of Excel. However, some specific shortcuts may differ. For Mac, use the Command key (⌘) instead of the Ctrl key.

To select an entire worksheet, press Ctrl + Shift + Spacebar.

Press Ctrl + Shift + ‘+’ then select the “Entire row” option. This is the shortcut to insert a row near the current cell. This shortcut will open the insert row prompt, you will have to select where to insert it. Select the option “Entire row” to insert the row.

Mastering Excel keyboard shortcuts can significantly boost your productivity by allowing you to perform various cell, column, and row operations quickly and efficiently. The shortcuts discussed in this article provide a solid foundation for navigating, selecting, formatting, and modifying data in Excel. By incorporating these shortcuts into your workflow, you can save time and streamline your data analysis tasks. Experiment with these shortcuts, customize them to your liking and discover the full potential of Excel as a versatile data management tool.

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