Best Excel Shortcuts to Be More Productive

January 07, 2018

Excel shortcuts are a great way to be more productive when working with spreadsheets. A task that takes you an hour all of a sudden can become 40 minutes with a few simple shortcuts. I know because I’ve done this so many times when helping co-workers. In fact, every time one of my co-workers comes up to me about Excel, they always start off with “I heard you’re really good in Excel” and I owe that reputation (at least partially) to learning how to use Excel shortcuts to get things done quickly. It’s a really nice feeling to know that people trust you to make a job well-done. And I’m confident that you can get that same admiration and trust from your co-workers by taking the time to learn about Excel shortcuts.

Here’s a quick video that goes over several of my favorite shortcuts that helped me be more productive. I know that these can help you out as well!

By the way, if you’d like a copy of a FREE PDF printout of awesome shortcuts, click here.

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Video Summary

Here are all of the shortcuts I recommend in the video.


Everyone needs to know this! If you ever made a mistake in Excel (be honest, I know you have), then you’ll be happy to know that you can undo that action by pressing Ctrl+Z. Almost everyone knows about this shortcut and if you just learned it, then that’s awesome :)

What you might know, though, is that if you didn’t mean to hit Ctrl+Z, then you can redo that action by pressing Ctrl+Y.

Cut, Copy, Paste, and Paste Special

When modifying data, you will no doubt be using Cut, Copy, and Paste. You are probably already familiar with what these shortcuts will do, but did you know about Paste Special? When you copy a cell, it contains a lot of info: a formula, a fill color, a border and its color, font style, and so on. With Paste Special, you can just paste only one of those items if you like (like formula, the color, etc.). Here’s a breakdown of these shortcuts:

Shortcut Description
Ctrl+C Copy - this will copy the current cell (or set of cells) that you have selected to the clipboard.
Ctrl+X Cut - this will take the current cell (or cells) and remove them from their current location and place its contents into the clipboard for pasting later.
Ctrl+V Paste - this will take whatever is in the clipboard and put it into the cell (or cells) that you have selected.
Ctrl+Alt+V Paste Special - This shortcut will open up the Paste Special window where you can select a specific item to paste such as formats, values, formulas, etc.

Paste Values

One of my favorite shortcuts is to use Paste Values from the Paste Special menu. There is a fast shortcut for this:

Ctrl+V, Ctrl, V

Please note that Ctrl+V is paste, then without typing anything else, hit Ctrl again, then V. That will take your copied cells and paste the values only. Very useful, I use it all the time.

Fast Navigation

You can navigate your worksheet in a flash with the following shortcut. When you are inside a large data table, you can hold Ctrl and use the arrow keys to reach the ends of the table. For example, Ctrl+Down will go to the last cell in that column.

An extra tip here is if you need to select an entire column of data from a data table, but not the entire column of the worksheet, you can got to the top row of that column by hitting Ctrl+Up. Then while you are there, hit Ctrl+Shift+Down to select all cells in that column. From there, you can do whatever you need like update the number format to Currency or something like that.

Jump to the Beginning of the Worksheet

Use Ctrl+Home to jump from wherever you are to the A1 of the worksheet.

Go to the Last Cell of the Worksheet

Hit Ctrl+End to navigate to the last cell of the worksheet.

Select an Entire Table

Use Ctrl+A while you are inside a table to select the entire table.

Fill Down

If you need to fill a bunch of cells with the same formula, you can select the cells you need, like A1:A4, and then just hit = and put in your formula, but before you press enter, you can press Ctrl+Enter and it will fill in all the selected cells with the formula you used (and this includes adjusting for cell references).

Another way to do this is if you have the formula already in A1, you can select A1 through A4 and then hit Ctrl+D.

A third way to do this is by selecting the formula that has the formula and dragging the Fill Handle down:

Excel Shortcut - Fill Handle Drag

One final tip here, if you have existing data and you add a formula in the next column, you can add your formula and then double-click the Fill Handle to have Excel fill down the formula until the end of the column that it’s next to. This is really handy if you have large data tables.

Excel Shortcut - Fill Handle

Sum Data Quickly

Say you had data in A1:A4. If you want to sum these values, you can enter the formula =SUM(A1:A4).

However, there is a simple keyboard shortcut that can do this for you. Use Atl+= in cell A5 to have Excel automatically add the formula for you.

Insert Today’s Date and Time

In the currently selected cell, use Ctrl+; to insert the current date.

In the currently selected cell, use Ctrl+Shift+: to insert the current time.

Edit a Cell in Place

When you are in a cell that you want to modify, rather than double-clicking the cell, use the F2 key to edit it in place.

Toggling Cell Reference Locking

When creating a formula, you can use the F4 key to toggle different cell locking.

Just make sure that your cursor is at the end of the reference you want to toggle.

Excel Shortcut - Toggle single reference

You can also highlight the entire formula and toggle all references at the same time.

Excel Shortcut - Toggle multiple references

Create an Excel Table

You can easily create an Excel Table by selecting any cell within the table and hitting Ctrl+T.

Wow, you read the whole article! You know, people who make it this far are true learners. And clearly, you value learning. Would you like to learn more about Excel? Please consider supporting me by buying me a coffee (it takes a lot of coffee to write these articles!).

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Written by Joseph who loves teaching about Excel.

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