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)
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
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 it – Alt+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.
And of course, we’ve got loads more keyboard shortcuts here…