15. Useful shortcuts and key combinations

When working in MS Excel, things may get a lot faster when you know a few keyboard shortcuts. Here is a non-exhaustive list of shortcuts which replace the most common operations such as opening files, saving files, copying, pasting, cutting, formatting, accessing menus and so on.


The ALT shortcuts

ALT menuWhen working on an Excel worksheet, pressing ALT will display letters and numbers over the different menus and options (see picture to the right). Simply press ALT and one of the displayed letters to access the function or menu located under that letter. For instance, ALT+F will open the File menu whereas ALT+1 will offer to save your work. Submenus (such as the File menu) also offer shortcuts when ALT is pressed. Pressing ALT+S from the File menu thus offers to save your work. Note that it is possible to access a function which lays deep in a submenu by pressing ALT and the right combination of keys. Example: ALT+F+S will first open the File menu and then offer to save your work in a file; ALT+F+N will open the File menu and then open a new Excel workbook…


The CTRL shortcuts

If you have been working with MS Word, MS Powerpoint or other common softwares in the past, you might be familiar with CTRL+X, CTRL+C and CTRL+V which help you to cut, copy and paste, respectively. These shortcuts, among many others, also work in MS Excel. Beside these, you may find the following shortcuts useful:
CTRL+A = select the whole datasheet (All)
CTRL+D = delete the content (Delete)
CTRL+F = open the “Find and Replace” dialog box (Find)
CTRL+N = open a new workbook (New)
CTRL+O = open a dialog box to find and open an existing file (Open)
CTRL+P = open a dialog box to print your datasheet (Print)
CTRL+S = save your work in a file (Save)
CTRL+T = open the “create table” dialog box (Table)
CTRL+Y = repeat or redo the last action
CTRL+Z = undo the last action
CTRL+1 = open the “Format” dialog box
CTRL+2 = applies or remove bold formatting
CTRL+3 = applies or remove italic formatting
CTRL+4 = applies or remove underlining
CTRL+UP = select the top cell in the current column
CTRL+LEFT = select the first cell in the current row

Many other shortcuts may be found here.

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