Top 5 Excel Keyboard Shortcuts You Wish You Knew

Microsoft Excel is a powerful tool for organizing, analyzing, and presenting financial data – and one of its best features is its panoply of keyboard shortcuts for its major and minor functions.  While you can edit cells one at a time by clicking on them and choosing the appropriate command from one of the various dropdown menus or toolbars, knowing the keyboard shortcuts allows you to make the same changes with a few quick keystrokes.

Keyboard shortcuts save time and allow you to give commands to the program without interrupting your train of thought.  The top five Excel keyboard shortcuts for financial professionals include:

1.     [Alt]+[‘]

This shortcut displays the Style dialog box.  The Style dialog allows you to set a number of parameters for a cell or group of cells, such as the number display, alignment, font, border, shading, and whether or not to “lock” the cell data against editing.  These parameters can be given a name and saved for future use.

2.     [Ctrl]+[1]

This shortcut displays the Format Cells dialog box, which allows you to choose among the program’s multiple options for number formatting, alignment, font, borders, shading, and data protection.  While this box pops up automatically when you’re using the Style dialog, it’s also helpful on its own when you want to format a single cell or group of cells without saving their formatting for later use.

3.     [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[$] and [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[!]

Both of these shortcuts convert the numbers in the highlighted cell to currency format, with two decimal places.  The first converts to currency format without the thousands separator, while the second converts to currency format with a thousands separator. Both are useful when you need to change particular cells to display dollars and cents.

4.     [Ctrl]+[9] and [Ctrl]+[0]

These two shortcuts hide all rows (9) and columns (0) selected on the sheet – an easy way to streamline a sheet temporarily when you only want to examine certain parts of the data.  The hidden rows are not deleted; they’re simply taken off the screen temporarily.

5.     [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[(] and [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[)]

These “companion” shortcuts to the previous two undo what the others did: they unhide any hidden rows and columns in the selected area of the spreadsheet, respectively.  By clicking the top left corner of the spreadsheet and then using one or both of these commands, you can easily reveal any hidden rows or columns in the entire spreadsheet.

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