Four handy Excel keyboard shortcuts

Use these easy keyboard shortcuts to quickly format cells, without pulling down a menu or reaching for the mouse.

Formatting cells takes just a few clicks — it couldn't get much simpler than choosing Cells from the Format menu and clicking the appropriate setting. However, you can also format a cell or range from the keyboard. For quick formatting tasks without a menu or mouse, use the following keyboard shortcuts:
  • Date: [Ctrl] + #
  • Number: [Ctrl] + !
  • Time: [Ctrl] + :
  • General: [Ctrl] + ~
You can test these shortcuts quickly enough by entering a value and toggling through the different formats. First, enter the value 123 into any cell. Then, with that cell still selected, press [Ctrl]+# (but don't press Enter). Excel expresses the value 123 as the date 2-May-00. Next, press [Ctrl]+! and Excel formats the cell contents as a number, defaulting to two decimal places. Press [Ctrl]+: and Excel formats 123 as a time value. These keyboard shortcuts aren't huge time-savers, but if you prefer using the keyboard, they're certainly handy.

About Susan Harkins

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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