Tag Archives: keyboard

More Essential Excel Keyboard Shortcut Combos

When you get used to using keyboard shortcuts with Excel, you start to realise that you use some shortcuts together all the time. We talked through my Top 5 Excel Keyboard Shortcut Combos before, but what other combos are there? What narrowly missed the (short)cut?

1. Change font type and font sizeAlt+HFF [type font name], Alt+HFS [type font size]

Sometimes I forget to paste formats, or notice that my worksheet looks messy due to different font types and font sizes that may have been pasted in over time. I often find myself using the shortcuts above (usually with something like Arial and then 10), to quickly tidy things up.

2. Ungroup all grouped rows and columnsCTRL+A, Alt+AJ

Every now and then I inherit a spreadsheet from someone else that has clearly had a lot of work go into it. They’ve spent a lot of time building something really in depth – so much so that they’ve made it more concise by grouping columns and rows together so you just see the key information. But I need to understand how it works, so I have to go through and unhide all of the grouped columns, group by group. This shortcut unhides all of these groups in one fell swoop (N.B. it’s not for unhiding hidden columns).

3.  See what part of a formula works out toF2, [optionally select part of the formula] F9, Escape

Big formulas can be hard to get your head around, and if they’re not working you need to break them down to see where the problem lies. F2 dives straight into the formula – you may then choose to highlight a particular element of it that may not be working. Pressing F9 will calculate just that one part of the formula. Often I will have each part calculated so I can see the big picture and check that my logic is correct. Pressing Escape is important as it means you exit the formula without changing it – otherwise it stays with all of its parts calculated and is no longer dynamic.

4. All borders, with a thick border around the outsideAlt+HBA, Alt+HBT

I think small tables of data look tidy with thin borders all over, with thick border around the outside. This combo does that really quickly.

5. Close a workbook and re-open itAlt+FC, Alt+FR1

Sometimes if I make a mistake and want to go back to the latest version quickly without saving, I’ll want to quickly close and re-open the workbook I’m in. Alt+FC closes the workbook (if you’ve made changes press N at this point to quickly tell Excel not to save them – be sure that you really want to do this), and Alt+FR1 opens the most recently opened file. Clearly if it was the second last workbook that you opened, you’ll need to press Alt+FR2.

So there you have it – five more easy but useful shortcut combos.

Text Alignment Keyboard Shortcuts

We’re going to show you how to quickly use keyboard shortcuts to align text both vertically and horizontally within cells in Microsoft Excel (the screenshots used are in Excel 2010, but the relevant sections of the Ribbon and how keyboard shortcuts work with them are exactly the same as in Excel 2007).


You may have noticed that if you press the Alt key (Alt stands for Alternate) lots of letters appear over the Ribbon (the standard toolbar at the top of Excel). Here’s what it looks like:

Excel Alt Ribbon Keyboard Shortcuts
What the Excel 2010 Ribbon looks like when you press the Alt key

Our text alignment shortcuts are in the Home tab of the Ribbon, so after pressing Alt we press H:

Excel 2010 Ribbon pressing Alt H
Excel Ribbon: Press Alt then H

Once you’ve pressed H you’ll see a whole new batch of letters appear above parts of the Home tab (if you weren’t on the Home tab to start with it will appear). In this example we’re going to Left Align, so you’ll now need to press AL:

Alt HAL to Left Align in Excel
Press Alt HAL to left align

And that’s it! You’ve learned to left align by pressing Alt HAL.

All the other text alignment shortcuts follow the same pattern – they start Alt HA and then the letter for where you want to align.


I will leave you with a quick summary of all of the basic alignment keyboard shortcuts, may they serve you well:

Excel Align Text Left, Centre, Right
Keyboard Shortcuts to Align Text Left, Centre, Right

Excel Align Text Top, Middle, Bottom

Keyboard Shortcuts to Align Text Top, Middle, Bottom

Your First 10 Excel Keyboard Shortcuts (aka The Basics)

Never used a keyboard shortcut? Want to save time in Excel? Here’s where to start:

1. Ctrl+Z   Undo

2. Ctrl+Y   Redo

3. Ctrl+C   Copy

4. Ctrl+V   Paste

5. Ctrl+S   Save


6. Ctrl+N   New Workbook

7. Ctrl+O   Open

8. Ctrl+F   Find

9. Ctrl+P   Print

10. Ctrl+A   Select All


Have you got those down now? Good work, you’re on your way. If you’re ready to learn some more, we’ve got plenty more!

Top 5 Excel Keyboard Shortcut Combos

After you start remembering your first few Excel keyboard shortcuts you notice how much time they save you, and also how you start to use some of them together very regularly. Once you’ve gotten used to using shortcuts this is the next step in speeding up your game. Here are our top 5 keyboard shortcuts that play well together:

1. Apply autofilters and freeze panes on top row CTRL+Shift+L,  Alt+WFF

Most times that you have a large array of data you will want to have autofilters and freeze panes. Therefore you may find that you use this alot. To get things just right, here’s a longer list of shortcuts to put in a realistic context…

CTRL+Home (go to cell A1)

CTRL+A (select all – ensure that all of your data is included in the autofilter)

CTRL+Shift+L (autofilters)

Down Arrow (gets you to the right row to apply freeze panes)

CTRL+Space (selects the row)

Alt+WFF (freeze panes)

CTRL+Home (takes you back to cell A1, ready to work on your data)


2. Unmerge all cells – CTRL+A,  Alt+HMC

Merged cells are bad. Ask anyone.

So once you know this you won’t use them ever again, so you won’t need to deal with them right? Well, unfortunately not everyone knows this fact, and so its quite likely that you’ll have to deal with other people’s merged cells. Or in my case, a work on various system-generated reports that contain merged cells. So I use a couple of quick shortcuts to remove them all.

CTRL+A (select all)

Sometimes this will only select the current region (the surrounding cells that are being used), which in many cases will be sufficient. But in my quest to eradicate merged cells from the world, I want to be extra sure. So I usually press CTRL+A twice to make sure the entire worksheet is selected.

Then I press Alt+HMC. This is a toggle, so if there are no merged cells at all in your worksheet, it will merge them all! Don’t worry though, if this is the case you’ll see this message:

If that happens just press cancel and be happy that you have a worksheet with no merged cells.



3. Add a new worksheet and name it – Shift+F11,  Alt+HOR

Sheet4 is not the most helpful name. It could be anything. So when you need to add a new worksheet, this will save you time. Its that simple.


4. Close the current workbook and re-open itAlt+FC, Alt+F,1 (or in 2010 its Alt+FR1)

Why would I want to close the worksheet and reopen it? Its true, you may never need this. For me its useful for two reasons:

1. I’ve made some changes that I don’t want to keep, but I want to keep on working on the workbook. If this is the case, you’ll probably have to tell Excel that you don’t want to save changes after Alt+FC.

2. I’m working on a macro that is always on (using Worksheet_Calculate()). I will use these shortcuts to either open the workbook again and enable macros for testing (in this case I’ll start with CTRL+S to save the changes I’ve made), or to stop testing and open the workbook with macros disabled to make further changes.

5. Select column and remove/highlight duplicates CTRL+Space, Remove:Alt+AM or Highlight: Alt+HLHD

CTRL Space selects the whole column and then you can choose whether you want to remove or highlight the duplicates. If you want to do this in a row instead you should start with Shift+Space.


So there you have it, some quick keyboard combos. Clearly this is not an exhaustive list, and you may not use them all yourself depending on what you use Excel for.

If you like Excel tips and keyboard shortcuts, you may want to follow @XLCalibre on Twitter, Like our page on Facebook, or join our group on LinkedIn.

There is another post here with more shortcut combos.

And of course, we’ve got loads more keyboard shortcuts here…

New XLCalibre Group on LinkedIn

If you an HR professional and use Excel and LinkedIn, come join our group on LinkedIn.

Its a forum for you to ask questions and share tips with other HR professionals on how you can best use Excel in your work. We’ll need to authorize your request to join, but only to minimize spam.

So come join the XLCalibre group and learn something new about Excel!

HR Dashboard Tip: Copy & paste chart formatting in Excel 2007

Sometimes you want to show several graphs with the same formatting or brand colours in a single HR management dashboard. After fiddling around selecting the exact design for your first chart you realize you have to remember it all and click through all the same options again. But there is another way!
First you need to click on your first, formatted graph and press CTRL+C to copy it. Then select the new, unformatted graph and press Alt H,V,S,T and then Enter. It may seem a bit long for a shortcut, but if you deal with dashboards regularly it can save a lot of time and ensure that your presentation is consistent. If you really can’t remember the shortcut keys, on the left side of the Home tab you’ll find the Paste dropdown. Select paste special and then formats. You’ll still save time.

Excel Keyboard Shortcuts – Easy as Control + 123…

Continuing our series of Microsoft Excel Keyboard Shortcuts, we’re looking at what the number keys do when you press them with Control…

1 – Format cells

2 – Bold

3 – Italic

4 – Underline

5 – Strikethrough

6 – Hide/Unhide Object

7 – Hides or displays the standard toolbar

8 – Hides or displays the outline symbols

9 – Hide selected row(s)

0 – Hide selected column(s)

A-Z of Control Keyboard Shortcuts for Microsoft Excel

Here’s a list of Excel keyboard shortcuts. Just hold control and press the letter and hey presto! We’ll look at some of them in more detail in other posts, but this gives you a quick summary…

A – Select All

B – Bold

C – Copy

D – Fill down

E – N/A

F – Find

G – Go to

H – Replace

I – Italic

J – N/A

K – Insert hyperlink

L – Create table

M – N/A

N – New workbook

O – Open

P – Print

Q – N/A

R – Fill across

S – Save

T – Create table

U – Underline

V – Paste

W – Close workbook

X – Cut

Y – Redo

Z – Undo