7 Underrated Tips That Can Maximize Efficiency for Windows Users

John Biglin, CEO | July 18, 2014

Do you know all of these shortcuts in Excel?

Microsoft Excel is great for building both simple and complex spreadsheets.  Even though most of us have used the various versions of Excel for years, I still find that there are always things you can learn about it.  Also, I often see people struggle with simple functions simply because no one ever showed them some shortcuts.

Note: As the version of Excel changes, some of the short-cuts may not work, but I believe most of them will. 

1. Insert SumAlt Equals   Totalling/Summing has to be Excel’s most commonly used task, and this trick can save you several clicks every time. To sum a column of numbers, select the cell at the bottom of the column. Then, Alt =will insert the sum function.

2. Select an Entire Column:   Ctrl-Spacebar You probably know that Alt-a will select everything on a page, but if you simply want toselect one column, hit Ctrl-Spacebar. And if you want to select a single row, use Shift-Spacebar.

3. Go to Top:   Ctrl-Home  Tired of scrolling to the top, Ctrl-Home takes you to A1.  Ctrl-End takes you to the last cell.

4. Hide Data:   Ctrl-Zero To simply  hide some data without deleting it: select the column you want to hide, then hit Ctrl-Zero. To unhide it, use Ctrl-Shift-Zero.

5. Delete a Cell Alt-E, D When you want to fully delete a cell, you can certainly right-click and then hit delete, but I find it faster to keep my hands on the keyboard rather than going for the mouse. Alt-E, D. You will see the menus change to see that you are selecting “Edit”-“Delete”.

6. Add Date:  Ctrl-Semicolon  Ctrl-Semicolon inserts today’s date. Ctrl-Shift-Semicolon inserts the current time.

7. Show FormulasCtrl ~  Functions are the math formulas that give Excel its power.  The tilde (~) key is typically found in the top left corner of the keyboard.   Theyare math equations that Excel computes and displays. Normally, you enter a function either in the formula bar or directly in the cell, which then displays the result in the cell, not the formula.  The formula becomes hidden from view.  When you need to check the formulas, you can highlight every cell and look in the formula bar, or you can just hit CTRL-~, and all formulas are revealed to you at each corresponding cell.

8. Freeze Panes: Alt-W, F  First, select the top-leftmost cell of your table or data, then press Alt-W, then F.  Your table labels will freeze, and you can scroll beyond the edges of the page while still reading column/row labels.

9. Format Cells: Ctrl-1 Pressing Ctrl-1 will bring up the formatting menu for the active selection of cells.  Cell formatting is used to control how cells are displayed, a common use is setting ‘Accounting’ so that there are always 2 decimal places on numbers ($0.00)

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