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The Most Useful Shortcuts In Microsoft Excel

There are lots of reasons to use Microsoft Excel for your business.  Being an industry leader filled with high-quality features, part of a great package of software and integrating with many other software solutions are just a few.  But when it comes to using Excel, one of the best parts about it are the shortcuts.

What are shortcuts?

Shortcuts are a combination of keys that allow you to do something quickly.  Rather than scrolling through a menu to click on an option, you simply press two or three keys together to achieve the same result.  Sometimes this is to access something, change something or to add something.  And with Excel, there are lots of them to make your day easier.

Most popular shortcuts

Let’s start with some of the most popular shortcuts and what they do.  Shortcuts are different on a Windows PC to a Mac so we will include both options to help all users.

  • Add a border to a cell

This adds an outline around the outer edge of any selected cells when you press the shortcut.  This could be a single cell, a whole row or an entire column.

PC: Alt+H, B – Mac: COMMAND+Option+0

  • Insert a table

If you want to easily add a table to a document you already have open, then this shortcut will do the job.  It will ask where you want the table to be inserted then do it for you.


  • Select an entire row

Selecting an entire row at a time can cut down on all that clicking and selecting.  You can use it to select a single row or if you add Shift while pressing the keys, you can then use the up/down arrows to select multiple rows.

PC: Shift+Space – Mac: ⇧+Space

  • Select an entire column

To go the other way and select the entire column, then use this shortcut.  Again, you can hold down Shift with the buttons and select multiple columns using the arrow keys.

PC: CTRL+Space – Mac: ⌃+Space

  • Hide rows and columns

Sometimes you input information but don’t need to see it and that’s where hiding rows and columns can be ideal.  To hide rows, use PC: Ctrl+9 – Mac: ⌃9 while to hide columns use PC: Ctrl+0 – Mac: ⌃+0

File menu shortcuts

The file menu is the first on the list and where you control lots of the main functions of the document.  There are also lots of shortcuts to save time on operating these functions.

  • Create a new workbook CTRL (or command) + N
  • Open workbook CTRL (or command) + O
  • Save workbook CTRL (or command) + S
  • Print file CTRL (or command) + P
  • Close current workbook CTRL (or command) + W
  • Close Excel completely ALT + F4 – Command + Q

Shared shortcuts

You will also find shortcuts that you have probably used elsewhere on the internet on a browser or on other software.  CTRL + Z (Command Z) is a common one to undo the last action.  CTRL + V (Command V) is to paste the content of the clipboard while CTRL + F (Command F) is to find something within the document.

If you are looking to extend your knowledge in Microsoft Excel, Elliott Training offer excel training courses for beginners right through to advanced level. Microsoft Excel can save your business time, and we can help your team bring these skills to life.

Want to book spaces on our courses or find out what’s on offer? Fill out a contact form or call us on 01454 203 355.

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