The first version of Microsoft Excel was launched in 1985. The world’s most popular spreadsheeting software has evolved significantly over the past 35 years. Earlier versions of Microsoft Excel were not very user-friendly. New keyboard shortcuts have been introduced over the past few versions, which make the application much easier to use.
We found that a lot of people aren’t familiar with the different Excel shortcuts that are available. We put together a guide on some of the most helpful shortcuts. Afterwards, we realized that it was a lot longer than we expected, so we decided to break it up into two parts. The first part will focus on the benefits of using some of the more common and simpler shortcuts that will help you save time on formatting. Although these shortcuts may not seem like they will save a huge amount of time when they need to be invoked, they will be needed a lot more frequently. The 0.5 seconds that you will save by bolding or underlining a cell with a shortcut command will add up significantly once you realize that you need to use them so often.
The next post is going to cover less common keyboard shortcuts for more complicated issues. You will find that these shortcuts may not be needed as often, but they can really eliminate a lot of frustrations when you do. Adding tables and making multiple formatting changes at once is going to be enough of a challenge as it is, so you might as well know what keyboard shortcuts can make your life easier.
Here are some of the simpler shortcuts that you should be aware of if you are using Microsoft Excel.
Format cells dialog
The default numerical formatting for cells doesn’t include any decimals or special characters, such as currency signs. If you want to change the formatting, then you will need to invoke the Format Dialog box.
If you don’t want to have to scroll through all of your menus to find the Format Dialog box, then you can simply use the Ctrl + 1 shortcut instead.
Apply or remove bold
Adding bold to your text isn’t as common in Excel as it is in Microsoft Word or many other applications. However, there are still plenty of instances when it is necessary to bold a specific cell.
A keyboard shortcut might not be as big of a timesaver with this function as many others, because the bold button is easily visible from the main menu. Nevertheless, you can still save time by using one of the following keyboard shortcuts:
- Ctrl + b
- Ctrl + 2
Either of these shortcuts will have the same effect.
Apply or remove italic
Adding and removing italic text is also occasionally necessary when you are using Excel. You can accomplish this with either of the following keyboard shortcuts:
- Ctrl + i
- Ctrl + 3
Apply or remove underline
You will probably need to underline cells more often then you will need to bold or italicize them. Therefore, a keyboard shortcut to underline cells in your Excel document could save you a lot of time. Either of the following shortcuts will accomplish this for you:
Ctrl + u
Ctrl + 4
Add or remove strikethrough
Adding or removing a strikethrough will occasionally be necessary. Although this feature may not be as commonly used, it can be a serious hassle when you do need to use it. The problem is that it can be hard to find the strikethrough button on the main menu, especially if you don’t know what to look for. Don’t worry – there is a keyboard shortcut that makes things a lot easier. You can simply hit Ctrl + 5.
Ctrl + Shift + F
This command will be easier to remember than using the command from your Home menu.
Familiarize yourself with different Excel shortcuts to save time
Creating, editing and formatting Excel documents can be a massive time sink. The good news is that there is a plethora of keyboard shortcuts that make it easy to call the commands that you need to accomplish the necessary tasks. Take some time to learn them. This will save you countless hours over the course of a month.