Published On: Sat, Dec 15th, 2018

11 Excel Shortcuts That Will Save You A Lot Of Time

By Contributing Author

One of the most used and abused tools in the world is Excel. It is an easy-to-understand-and-navigate worksheet that allows users to do tasks such as data entry, charting, arithmetic computations, and data analysis among others. Excel can be used anytime by anyone – students, teachers, parents, and even starting entrepreneurs.

Still, Excel can be overwhelming for some. One wrong formula could compromise the enter worksheet and give you devastating consequences. Lucky for you, we’re here to help by listing time-saving shortcuts on how to use Excel:

Keyboard Shortcuts

Before you learn about functions, you need to master the basic keyboard shortcuts. This includes:

  • F4 – To repeat the last command
  • Shift + F9 – Calculate the active worksheet
  • Ctrl + Home – Move to the beginning of the spreadsheet
  • Shift + Tab – Move to the previous cell or option
  • Ctrl + Shift + : / ; – Enter the current time / date
  • Ctrl + Page Down / Page Up – Move to the next spreadsheet in the workbook / to the previous one  

Ready-to-Use Templates

You may not notice it, but creating templates such as budget, invoice,  inventory, or calendar, is one of the most time-consuming activities you do when using Excel – or any other tool. Thankfully, you can find free templates online, particularly on the Microsoft website, which you can use for your specific purpose.

This will definitely save you a lot of time instead of making your own.

Navigating “The Ribbon”

Apparently, moving the mouse to click File or Format entails time – even if it’s just for a few seconds. Save those precious seconds by navigating the ribbon with ease.

All you need to do is to click Alt on your keyboard and it will display related keys on the tabs you want to click. For instance, if you want to click the Formulas tab, simply click Alt + M. You can also move between tabs by pressing Alt and then navigate the left and right arrow keys.

Freeze Rows and Columns

This is ideal if your spreadsheet contains tons of data. Freezing rows and columns prevents you from losing sight of your headings.

To do this, select Freeze Panes from the view tab and select the applicable option from the Freeze Panes drop-down.

Format Painter

This feature allows you to duplicate a format in other cells. Did you know that you can take advantage of this tool with just two clicks? Simply double-click the Format Painter option and voila, what you need is copied.  

Ctrl + Shift + Whatever You Need

This comes in handy if you have data that needs formatting. Here are some shortcuts you need to master:

  • Ctrl + Shift + $ – to make the number format into currency
  • Ctrl + Shift + ! – to format the numbers with two decimal places and commas
  • Ctrl + Shift + % – to format the numbers into percent
  • Ctrl + Shift + : to post the current time
  • Ctrl + Shift + ; – to post the current date


This is among the most powerful tools in Excel. Apparently, this function can be tedious if you have voluminous data on your spreadsheet. Here’s how to use Vlookup faster:


This means the first VLOOKUP ID will check if the ID you are looking for exists in the table. The second VLOOKUP ID will return the corresponding value IF the ID exists.

Repeat Formula

Dealing with formulas can be a daunting task. Plus, one wrong character could affect the data. If you’re going to use the same formula for a specific worksheet, then you can repeat a formula so you don’t have to type it over and over in new cells.

To do this, create the formula in the first cell. Move the cursor to the lower right of the cell until it turns into a plus sign. Double click the plus sign to copy the formula into the cells in that column.

Copying a Pattern

Excel can recognize a pattern in your data, thereby allowing you automatically copy it to other cells.

To do this, enter information in two rows that establish a pattern. Highlight the rows that you want to populate. This will help you show the pattern of dates, days, or even numbers.

Automatic Sum

The AutoSum feature is one of the most useful features you will use when using Excel. Instead of manually computing the number, you simply have to highlight the data and click the AutoSum button.

There’s an easier way: click the cell of the column you want to get the sum of, which will automatically highlight the entire column, and then press Alt + ‘=’ or the equals key. This will automatically get the sum for the entire column.

Displaying Formula

There are instances when numbers don’t seem to make sense. In that case, you might want to check on your formula and see where you went wrong. Simply click Ctrl + ` (acute accent key) to display the formula and then make necessary adjustments.   

Are you excited to try out these functions?

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