Software

TechProGuild FastAnswer: Learning basic Microsoft Excel keyboard shortcuts

GUIs make applications like Microsoft Excel much easier to learn, but having to reach for the mouse can actually be counter productive. Knowing a few keyboard shortcuts can save you some time. Here are some of the most common ones.

Save time. TechProGuild members can download the preformatted, ready-to-print version of this FastAnswer handout. The next time the problem arises in your organization, simply print and distribute the file directly to end users or members of your IT staff.

The problem

Many tasks in Microsoft Excel can be accomplished using keystroke combinations rather than pointing and clicking the mouse. Remembering these keystrokes can be difficult.

The cause

When Lotus 123 ruled, users memorized the [/] key combinations needed to do everything necessary in Lotus and never worried about using a mouse. Windows made applications easier to learn by implementing a GUI and drop-down menus requiring the use of a mouse. This made applications easier to learn but a little less efficient by forcing the user to let go of the keyboard to accomplish simple tasks. Knowing the proper keyboard commands allows users to quickly do things without having to reach for the mouse.

The solution

Microsoft didn't completely do away with the keyboard combinations used in old DOS spreadsheet programs. In fact, you can still get to the menu bar in Excel the same way you did in the old Lotus 123 menu bar: by hitting [/].  Some of the most important Microsoft Excel keyboard shortcuts you can use include:

Alternative solutions

This chart includes only a partial list of the keyboard shortcuts available in Microsoft Excel. For a complete list, you can either check the Help function in Microsoft Excel or check out Microsoft's Web Site. You can also obtain additional Excel shortcut information from TechRepublic's Quick Reference: Microsoft Office Pack.

Editor's Picks