Useful Hotkeys in Excel

Can you use Excel without a mouse? What are some of the functions or features you use most often in Excel? If there are features in the Excel ribbons you use frequently, you will save a lot of time if you start using hotkeys in Excel. Yes it may take time to get used to it in the beginning, but once you are used to it, it almost becomes second nature. It will then be a lot quicker than using a mouse.

In this article we will go through some useful hotkeys in Excel which we use all the time. But we notice that the shortcuts we find useful may not be useful to you. So first we will look at how you can identify what the hotkeys are for all the different features in the Excel ribbons.

As always, if you feel that we have missed anything or if there’s anything else you would like to find out, please leave a comment below.

Finding Out Different Shortcuts in Excel

Chances are that the shortcuts we find useful may not be useful to you. But did you know that you can access all the buttons in the top Excel ribbons without using a mouse?

Start by simply pressing ALT key:


After pressing the ALT key, you will see some letters or numbers appear. The letters allow us to navigate across different tabs and the numbers let us to access the buttons at the very top such as Save, Undo, etc. For example we could press ALT and then A to navigate to the Data tab:


You would probably not use this for changing font to bold, italics or adding underline because you could do CTRL B, I and U. But let’s say we would like to do Paste Special, we could press ALT > H


And press V for Paste Value

With that in mind, we will go through two examples which we most commonly use.

Adding/Removing Filter

Adding and using filter is probably one of the most used features in Excel when it comes to reporting and analysis.

The hotkey is:

  • CTRL & Shift & L


We also know that adding filter is in the Home tab. And from the section above, we know we can also access the Filter button with:

  • ALT > H > S > F

The two sets of hotkeys are essentially the same. Of course we have to admit CTRL + Shift + L is probably more preferred. It’s similar to asking whether we would rather use ALT > H > 1 or CTRL B.

And to remove the filter, simply press the same set of hotkeys again.

Adding/Removing Border

Adding (or removing) border is something we often do when setting up a table hence this is another hotkey which we are very familiar with. This as well is in the Home tab. The hotkey for it is:

  • Adding border: ALT > H > B > A
  • Removing all borders: ALT > H > B > N
  • For any other border: ALT > H > B > Choose the following:


Get to End of Column/Row

To get from your current cell to the last non-empty cell whether it is up, down, left or right, simply press:

  • CTRL & Up/Down/Left/Right


And the other way around works as well. If you are in an empty cell and press CTRL & Up/Down/Left/Right, you would navigate to the nearest non-empty cell. And if there’s no empty cell, you would navigate to Row 1, Row 1048576, Column A or Column XFD.

Highlighting To End of Column/Row

Highlighting from one cell to the end of the end of a column/row of a table could be tedious using a mouse when you have a large set of data. It will take a lot of scrolling. To do that, simply press:

  • CTRL & Shift & Up/Down/Left/Right (depending on the direction you want to go)


Autofill or Dragging Formulas

Following on from above, once we have the range of cells highlighted, let’s have a look at how we can autofill. That is, if we have a formula in one cell and we want to drag the formula down to the bottom of the table or to the right. We will use the data below as an example:


First we need to highlight the cells where we want. Because Column B is largely an empty column, the trick would be to first move to column A, press CTRL & Down. This will bring us to the bottom of the data in Column A. Press the right-arrow key to move to Column B. Here we press CTRL & Shift & Up. Here we will highlight all the cells in Column B which we want to apply the formula to:


Once we have the cells highlighted, press CTRL D.


CTRL & D is essentially a hotkey that copies the cell directly above and pastes it in current cell. Similarly CTRL & R copies the cell directly to the left and pastes in the current cell. Hence in this case, all we are doing is copying the formula down from the very top cell all the way down to the end of the highlighted cell.

Switch Between Worksheets

To navigate between worksheets within an Excel file, we could press:

  • CTRL & PageUp: to move to the previous worksheet
  • CTRL & PageDown: to move to the next worksheet


Other Useful Hotkeys:

  • Highlight Row: Shift & Space
  • Highlight Column: CTRL & Space
  • Delete Row/Column: first highlight the row or column and then press CTRL & – (minus sign)
  • Insert Row/Column: CTRL & + (Or essentially CTRL & Shift & =)
  • Format Cell: CTRL + 1
  • Insert Current Date: CTRL & ;

What Other Hotkeys Would You Like To Know About?

What other hotkeys would you like to know about? Or what other shortcuts do you feel we should include in this article? Leave us a comment below and we will add to the list?

Harvey M

    Leave a Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *