Each click costs money: finding the right function in the right menu with the mouse pointer sometimes requires an arm of patience, which is why many users resort to keyboard shortcuts . In Excel you can also use key combinations for common functions and actions to speed up certain processes. What are the most practical? Can you create keyboard shortcuts from scratch?

Commonly known as keyboard shortcuts are used in many programs and operating systems to perform some functions faster and to use them it is usually necessary to press two or more keys at the same time, although not exactly at the same time. Just keep the first key pressed while the others are activated. The function is then executed when we stop pressing them.

The best shortcuts for Excel on Windows and Mac

Among the most popular shortcuts are [Ctrl] + [C], [Ctrl] + [V] and [Ctrl] + [X], with which texts or files are respectively copied, pasted and cut in many applications , also in Excel. But given their universality and that of other shortcuts for certain characters, such as the at sign (@), we have opted here not to present them as exclusive Excel keyboard shortcuts. Instead, you will learn how you can speed up your work with special keyboard shortcuts for the spreadsheet program. Along with the combinations for Windows we also list the Excel shortcuts for Mac.


The key command ( Command ) systems Mackintosh has changed in appearance several times in recent years. If before it was known as the Apple or “apple” key because it was printed with the well-known logo of the house, today the abbreviation cmd or the symbol ⌘ is often used.

Insert cellsOpens the dialog box for inserting blank cells.[Ctrl] + [⇧] + [+][control] + [⇧] + [=]
Delete cellsOpens the dialog box for deleting selected cells[Ctrl] + [-][⌘] + [-]
Edit cellsAllows you to edit the content of the active cell without having to do it in the formula bar.[F2][F2]
Copy cellCopy and drag the contents of the cell with the mouse pointer.[Ctrl] + mouse pointer[alt] + mouse pointer
Copy and insert cellCopy and drag the contents of a cell to a new cell that is inserted between two others.[Ctrl] + [⇧] + mouse pointer[alt] + [⇧] + mouse pointer
Change formatOpens the dialog box to change the cell format[Ctrl] + [1][⌘] + [1]
Enable / disable reference styleAllows you to switch between the different combinations of absolute and relative references by selecting a range of cells in a formula.[F4][⌘] + [T] or [F4]
Insert dateEnter the current date in a cell.[Ctrl] + [;][control] + [;]
Insert timeEnter the current time in a cell.[Ctrl] + [⇧] + [:][⌘] + [;]
Insert tableDisplays the Create Table dialog[Ctrl] + [T][⌘] + [T] or [control] + [T]
Insert functionDisplays the Insert Function (Windows) or Formula Builder (Mac) dialog box.[⇧] + [F3][⇧] + [F3]
Insert autosumCalculates the sum of the selected cells.[Alt] + [=][⌘] + [⇧] + [T]
Fill right and downCopies to the cells to the right or below the content and format of the cells to the left or above the selected cell.[Ctrl] + [D] / [J][⌘] + [R] / [D]
Fill multiple cellsFill the selected cell range with the current input.[Ctrl] + [↵][⌘] + [↩] or [control] + [↩]
Insert line breakLets you start a new line in the same cell.[Alt] + [↵][control] + [option] + [↩]
add commentAdd or open a cell comment.[⇧] + [F2][⇧] + [F2]
Select rowSelect an entire row[⇧] + [Spacebar][⇧] + [Spacebar]
Select columnSelect an entire column[Ctrl] + [Spacebar][control] + [Spacebar]
Hide rowsHide selected rows[Ctrl] + [9][⌘] + [(] or [control] + [(]
Show rowsShow hidden rows within selection.[Ctrl] + [ñ] + [(][⌘] + [⇧] + [(] or [control] + [ñ] + [(]
Hide columnsHide the selected columns.[Ctrl] + [0][⌘] + [)] or [control] + [)]
Show columnsShow hidden columns in selection.[Ctrl] + [⇧] + [)][⌘] + [⇧] + [)] or [control] + [ñ] + [)]
Document principleLets you jump to the beginning of a spreadsheet (top left). [Ctrl] + [HOME] [control] + [HOME] or [control] + [fn] + [←]  
End of documentJumps to the bottom of the spreadsheet, to the last cell, located in the lowest row used in the rightmost column.[Ctrl] + [END][control] + [END] or [control] + [fn] + [→]
Start / end of rowJump to the first or last cell with data in a row.[Ctrl] + [←] / [→][⌘] + [←] / [→]
Start / end of a columnJump to the first or last cell with data in a column.[Ctrl] + [↑] / [↓][⌘] + [↑] / [↓]
Change sheetGo to the next sheet or go back to the previous one in a book.[Ctrl] + [Page Down] / [Page Up][control] + [Page Down] / [Page Up] or [option] + [←] / [→]
Insert spreadsheetInsert a new worksheet into the workbook[Alt] + [⇧] + [F1] or [ñ] + [F11][⇧] + [F11]
Save asOpens the Save As dialog[F12][F12]
KeepSave a document.[Ctrl] + [G][⌘] + [S] or [control] + [S]


The keyboard shortcuts for Excel (MS Excel 2016 for Windows and for Mac) presented in the table correspond to a Spanish (Spain) QWERTY keyboard. On other keyboards the combinations may vary. The keyboard shortcuts in Excel for Mac computers are sometimes presented in two different versions to cover the key variations in different models.

Create your own keyboard shortcut for Excel

The priorities and challenges of spreadsheet users are different, so it is normal that not all regular tasks can be fulfilled with the predefined shortcuts. Excel allows, for this reason, to create shortcuts from scratch. For this, macros have to be registered , which allow a routine sequence of steps to be saved, so that Excel can execute it automatically every time it is needed. The most practical thing is that keyboard shortcuts can be assigned to macros to activate them almost immediately.

To create a keyboard shortcut in Excel, first of all select the “Record macro” tool, where we will be able to give our macro a name and assign it a keyboard shortcut. You should try to use an unused key combination in Excel, otherwise it will lose its original usefulness. It is therefore recommended to add the “Shift” key (Shift) to the usual combinations with the control key and play with letters. It is also possible to create a short description so as not to forget your role in the future.

In this first step you also decide how to save the macro. If the option “This book” or “New book” is chosen, the macro – and also the keyboard shortcut – can only be used in one book. But if the plan is to use it in general whenever the program is used, then select “Personal Macro Book”.

Once created, the macro may need to be modified at a later time. The number of cells within the function, for example, is always absolute. This means that if we add another row, the macro will not take it into account. To avoid this, select the macro you want to edit in “Show macros” and click on “Edit”. Then Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) will open, where you can access the source code of the mini-program and you can make the pertinent modifications. The function to select the field is in “.SetRange”.

By Mbah Chinedu

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