Quick Excel Shortcuts

By | 16th August 2015

Quick Excel ShortcutsThere are lots of quick Excel shortcuts that can make all the difference to your Excel workflow, but some are buried so deep you would never find them unless someone told you about them. I regularly come across long-term Excel users that have never been shown these tips before, and the reaction is always the same – “I never knew you could do that!”

Even newcomers to Excel often tell me they have learnt most of their skills from sitting next to a colleague, or have changed their role within the company and were shown how to complete certain tasks when they started out. Many people learn this way – in most cases, people will only learn enough to do their job, but that means they miss out on the kind of quick Excel shortcuts that I am sharing with you here.

Excel Formatting Shortcuts

The intention of this post is to share some of the best and most useful Excel shortcuts using keystroke combinations, and as always, I urge you to try these tips for yourself. Quick Keys in Excel are there to make life easier and to save time, so use them or lose them!

1.  How to Insert the Date and Time

  • Inserting today’s date that will update itself
    • =TODAY()
  • Inserting the current time that will automatically update
    • =NOW()
  • Inserting the current date that will NOT update itself
    • Ctrl+semi-colon
  • Inserting the current time
    • Ctrl+Shift+semi-colon

Watch the video on Inserting the Date and Time here

2.   How to Insert a Chart

  • Highlight the areas you want to base the chart upon
    • It is a good ideas not to include totals, but make sure you include the appropriate labels for the data
  • To insert a chart on a new sheet
    • Press F11
    • The new chart will be placed on its own sheet and named Chart 1
  • If you want it on the same sheet as the data, click Move Chart from the Chart Tools, Design tab
  • To insert a chart on the same sheet
    • Hold down the Alt key and press F1
    • The chart will be placed on the active sheet
  • It is often quicker to use these shortcuts and then edit the chart instead of starting from scratch.

Watch the video on Inserting a Chart here

3.    How to Update an Existing Chart When New Data is Added

Update Chart

  • When data is added to the range that your chart is based on it is useful to change the chart to reflect the new data
  • To add the new data to the chart
    • Select the new data including labels and press Ctrl+C to copy it
    • Click in the chart Plot Area and press Ctrl+V to paste
  • The chart automatically grows to include the new information

Excel Chart Not Updating

If your Excel chart does not update when the data changes it could be because the link to the data has become broken. The most common cause for this is for the original data file to have been moved. Don’t worry though – Excel can help you fix it. Click on the chart to select it, then from the Chart Tools, Design tab click Select Data from the Data group. The cell address of the data is shown in the dialog box – if it is incorrect, just highlight the correct data then your Excel chart not updating will be just a memory!

Watch the video on Updating an Excel Chart here

4.  Quick Excel Formatting Shortcuts

This is one of the most useful quick Excel shortcuts I know and something I use all the time:

  • It is useful to be able to format a block of figures in a certain way with a quick shortcut key combination
  • To format numbers as Numbers with 2 decimal places
    • Use Ctrl+Shift+1
  • To format numbers as Currency with 2 decimal places
    • Use Ctrl+Shift+4
  • To format numbers as a percentage
    • Use Ctrl+Shift+5
  • Decimal places can be added or removed with the Increase or Decrease decimals buttons from the Number group of the Home tab

Watch the video on Formatting Excel Data here

5.    Automatically incrementing Days or Months

  • It is easy to add sequential days or months to a worksheet
    • Type the first day or month in the first cell of the sequence but don’t press Enter
    • Click on the little square in the bottom right-hand corner (the Fill handle) and hold down your mouse button
    • Drag across the adjacent cells
  • Excel will fill in the next in the sequence
  • You can add a Custom List of your own if the list of items is something you use often

Excel Formatting Shortcuts

For more Quick Excel Shortcuts see our Excel Course outline

3 thoughts on “Quick Excel Shortcuts

  1. Kate

    Some really useful shortcuts that I didn’t know. Thank you, I will be putting them into practice!

  2. Pingback: Excel Quick Tips | Netresult Training

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