Microsft Excel is one of the most used pieces of software on the plant. Its been around forever, and is at the heart of countless occupations.  While some make a career in Excel, others only need to stick to the basics to get by.

Regardless of your Excel experience, there are a number of shortcuts you can add to your repertoire to reduce the time you spend on menial activities, and get back to the work you need to be doing. We took a look at some of the most commonly used shortcuts as well as some time saving tips and tricks below.

Shortcuts - The Basics

These are the basic shortcuts anyone should be able to add to their workflow to get more done in less time

Close a workbook — Ctrl+W

Open a workbook — Ctrl+O

Go to the Home tab — Alt+H

Save a workbook — Ctrl+S

Undo — Ctrl+Z

Choose a fill color — Alt+H, H

Go to Insert tab — Alt+N

Bold — Ctrl+B

Open the Paste Special dialog — Ctrl+Alt+V

Center align cell contents — Alt+H, A, C

Go to Page Layout tab — Alt+P

Go to Data tab — Alt+A

Go to View tab — Alt+W

Open context menu — Shift+F10

Apply an outline border to the selected cells. — Ctrl+Shift+&

Remove the outline border from the selected cells — Ctrl+Shift+_

Delete column — Alt+H, D, C

Go to Formula tab — Alt+M

Hide the selected rows — Ctrl+9

Hide the selected columns — Ctrl+0

Repeat the last command or content addition— F4

Insert a new worksheet — Shift+F11:

Expand or collapse the formula bar — Ctrl+Shift+U

Dates and Formatting

Quick shortcuts to add the appropriate date, time, or number formatting.

Enter the current time — Ctrl+Shift+:

Enter the current date — Ctrl+;

Apply the General number format. — Ctrl+Shift+~

Apply the Date format with the day, month, and year — Ctrl+Shift+#

Apply the Time format with the hour and minute, and AM or PM — [email protected]

Apply the Number format with two decimal places, thousands separator, and minus sign for negative values — Ctrl+Shift+!

Shortcuts - For More Advanced Users

These are typically involving more advanced workflows, and are definitely time saving for the intermediate and beyond Excel user.

Create a bar chart based on selected data on a separate sheet — F11

Create an embedded bar chart based on select data on the same sheet — F11

Create, run, edit, or delete a macro — Alt+F8

Open the Microsoft Visual Basic for applications editor— Alt+F11

Insert, open or edit a note — Shift+F2

Insert, open, or reply to a threaded comment — Ctrl+Shift+F2

Open the Insert dialog to insert blank cells.— Ctrl+Shift++

Open the Delete dialog to delete selected cells — Ctrl+-

Switch between displaying cell values or formulas in the worksheet. — Ctrl+`

Copy a formula from the cell above the active cell into the cell or the Formula Bar — Ctrl+‘

Switch between hiding objects, displaying objects, and displaying placeholders for objects. — Ctrl+6

Use the Fill Down command to copy the contents and format of the topmost cell of a selected range into the cells below — Ctrl+D

Open the Insert hyperlink dialog — Ctrl+K

Check spelling in the active worksheet or selected range — F7

Display the Quick Analysis options for selected cells that contain data — Ctrl+Q

Display the Create Table dialog — Ctrl+L or Ctrl+T

Other Tips & Tricks

Instantly resize columns and rows

Needing to click and drag to resize the columns to the correct width over and over is annoying - so, never do it again! Place your mouse on the line between two columns and double click on the double arrow icon that pops up. The column will automatically resize to the widest piece of text within the column.

Move up without scrolling

Push Command (Ctrl on a PC) and the up arrow twice to get back to the top of your spreadsheet. Hit it once will bring you to the last row of data that appears before an empty row.

Embed an Excel spreadsheet in Word

Select and copy the portion of your spreadsheet that you want to embed, head over to Word and "Paste Special". Within the dialog box select the option for “Microsoft Excel Worksheet Object,” select  “Paste Link,” and then click “OK.”

Drag formulas between cells with an absolute reference

While you can highlight cells containing formulas and drag them over, Excel will automatically change cell references for you. Add a $ before the row number and/or column letter to make it an absolute reference.

Combine Text in Multiple Cells into One Cell

A really helpful tip, all you need to do is click where you want the merged cells to go, click the = sign, click the first cell to add, click the & sign, add the next cell. Repeat as many times as you need to add multiple cells.

Break Down One Cell into Two

While not necessarily a shortcut tip, if you look in the Data tab you will see a Text to Columns tab. The Text to Column wizard will help you determine your specific set of parameters.

Change Case Letters

In order to change the letters in a cell to all caps use  (=Upper(cell location)). In order to make them all lowercase letters use (=Lower(cell location)).

Restrict Input/Data Validation

You can use Data->Data Validation->Settings and to make sure only specific inputs are being added to specific cells.

Remove Blank Cells

On the Home tab select Sort & Filter, select filter, use the drop-down box at the top of the column and un-click the Select All option and then click Blank. All of the blank cells will then be highlighted - click delete and you're all set.

Customize Shortcut Menu

Customize your shortcut menu by clicking File->Options ->Quick Access Toolbar and add all of the functions you want.

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