Another way to increase your productivity in Excel is to take advantage of the many shortcuts in Excel such as keyboard shortcuts. With one hand on the keyboard and one hand on the mouse at all times, you can work more efficiently.
In this section, we’ll cover two types of keyboard shortcuts – the Ctrl keyboard shortcuts and the Alt keyboard shortcuts.
The Ctrl keyboard shortcuts are useful for common Excel operations. To use these, hold Ctrl and press the corresponding key:
- Copy – Ctrl-C. This, combined with paste, will create a duplicate of the cells you’ve selected.
- Paste – Ctrl-V. This will paste whatever cells you have copied or cut.
- Cut – Ctrl-X. This will remove the selected cells, and allow you to paste them elsewhere.
- Undo – Ctrl-Z. This will undo the last action.
- Redo – Ctrl-Y. This will redo the last action.
The second type of Excel keyboard shortcuts are the Alt shortcuts. These keyboard shortcuts all start with the Alt key. Press Alt, and each menu item in the ribbon will have a letter or number assigned to it:
Release the Alt key, then press the letter or number of the command you need. For example, if you want to go to Data Validation in the Data tab, you would press Alt followed by A to navigate to the Data tab. Then press V to select Data Validation.
However, there’s a feature that makes Alt keyboard shortcuts even more useful. When you press Alt, all of the commands in the Quick Access Toolbar are assigned numbers, so any of those shortcuts that we’ve created before become super short shortcuts with the Alt key. You can use this to create customized keyboard shortcuts for the Excel commands you use frequently.
For example, we can create a simple scatter chart in a second or less. Highlight the data, type Alt, then 4, then Enter. It’s that easy.