Excel Keyboard Shortcuts – Basic

Using the keyboard shortcuts in Excel drastically increases efficiency and allows you to remain focussed on the task at hand – if you use Excel regularly it is essential that you utilise this functionality. This topic makes it a little easier for you to pick up the essential commands and if a more comprehensive list is of interest then download the full list of commands.

Using the in-built keyboard shortcuts within Excel you can minimise switching between the Mouse and the keyboard, locating the first level menu option, waiting for it to display the submenu headings and then finding the appropriate instruction or sub-sub menu. The majority of common instructions / menus can be accessed using easy to remember combinations of keys.

Selected instructions are broadly categorised as:

  • Editing & Worksheet Structure
  • Formatting
  • Worksheet Investigation
  • Environment & Calculation

Download your copy of Corality’s Excel shortcut sheet.


Editing & Worksheet Structure  
Edit Cells in a formula / highlight cell precedents F2
Repeat the last command F4
Undo the last command Ctrl Z
Cycle Through $ anchoring options F4 (in formula bar)
Copy Ctrl C
Paste Ctrl V
Paste Special Menu Alt E S
-Paste Formatting only ……… T
-Paste Values only ……… V
-Paste Formula only ……… F
Find / Replace / Go To Ctrl H
Select Entire Row Shift Space
Select Entire Column Ctrl Space
Scroll through Worksheets (also works with menu tabs) Ctrl Page Up / Down
Insert Row or Column (when selected) Shift Ctrl +
Remove Row or Column (when selected) Ctrl -
Group Selected Rows/Columns Shift Alt ‘right arrow’
Ungroup Selected Rows/Columns Shift Alt ‘left arrow’
Insert Range Name F3
Select the Goto Menu (the ‘special’ tab opens up options) F5

Select ‘Style’ menu Alt ‘
Choose ‘Style’ within Menu Alt ‘down arrow’
Select Formatting Menu Ctrl 1
Bold Ctrl B
Italic Ctrl I
Underline Ctrl U

Worksheet Investigation
Open Search / Replace / Goto Menu Ctrl H
Locate all on-sheet precedents Ctrl Shift [
Locate all on-sheet dependents Ctrl Shift ]

Environment and Calculation
Calculate F9
Full Calculate Ctrl Alt F9
Save (over existing file) Ctrl S
Save As (enter a new file name) F12
Access Formula bar F2 (note below)

Important note on saving even more time….
The requirement to use formatting instructions can be drastically reduced by using ‘Styles’. Styles allow the user to pre-program the appearance of certain types of cells, for example, Inputs, Section Headers, Off-Sheet references.

Using F2 to access Formula bar
A strong preference of ours is to be able to edit formula directly in the formula bar. This can be set using Tools > Options > Edit > and ensure the “Edit directly in cell” is not ticked. The core benefit of this setting is that it allows one to double click on any formula and it will take you to the nearest precedent.

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