How To Excel At Excel: 6 Easy Excel Shortcuts To Make Your Life Easier

6 excel shortcuts to make life easierHow To Excel At Excel: 6 Easy Excel Shortcuts To Make Life Easier

Excel: The stomping ground for tracking metrics, building equations and navigating through the moving parts of a business and seeing what’s working and what’s not working. It’s a cornerstone tool for business. Here’s a compilation of 6 Easy Excel shortcuts and overlooked features to make your life easier. 

From Charts and templates, to formatting cells for mass editing, here’s our list of easy ways you can save time and be more productive with Excel shortcuts.


AutoFill, one of the most loved and under-rated Excel Shortcuts, can save you serious amounts of time during your work day. If your sheet has clear patterns, such as a series of dates or numbers, this feature can be precious to you. Say you’re about to embark on a long day of typing hundreds of thousands of dates into your Exel sheet. You could type of series of dates like (3/31/18, 4/1/18, 4/2/18) or you could use Excel’s built-in feature, AutoFill. To use AutoFill, begin the series and move the cursor to the lower right part of the last cell (the fill handle). When it turns into a plus sign (+), click and drag down to select all the cells that you need to fill. Exel will work its magic and fill in the rest of the pattern. AutoFill works on both columns and rows which is a massive bonus for those of us who are anti- Carpal Tunnel and want to get home before the Harry Potter Marathon ends. What if your data doesn’t have much of a pattern? No worries. Pick a cell or cells, move to the fill handle, click, and drag. A menu of options should pull up. The more data you input, the better the Fill Series option will do creating your AutoFill options.

Multiple Cells, Same Data

If you have multiple entries that you need to write over and over again, make use of Excel Shortcuts, such as multiple cells, same data feature. Just click the entire set of cells, either by dragging your cursor or by holding Ctrl as you click each one. Type it on the last cell, then hit Ctrl+Enter — which then fills the rest of the cells with the content you typed in the first cell.

How To Save Charts as Templates

Excel makes it extremely easy to customize all graphs using their own plethora of templates. But what if none of these suit your individual business’s needs? Luckily, Excel makes it easy to save your original chart as a template. Here’s how:

Once you have your chart set up, right click it. Select “Save as Template.” Save the file with a CRTX extension in your default Microsoft Excel Templates folder. Then, when you wish to apply the template, select the data you want to chart, go to the Insert tab, click Recommended Charts, and then the All Charts tab, and the Templates folder. In the My Templates box, pick the one to apply, then click OK. There you have it; it’s that easy!

Hide in Plain Sight

Hiding rows and column is a super useful tool in Excel, but when you hide these elements, you can no longer manipulate or perform calculations. So, here’s a great Excel Shortcut to hide these elements. It’s easy to hide a row or column— select the whole thing by clicking the letter or number header, right-click, and select “Hide.” But what if you have just a little section of inconveniently placed data you want to hide, but you still want to be able to work with? Easy. Highlight the cells, right-click, and choose Format Cells. On the Number tab at the top, go to Category and select “Custom.” Type three semicolons (;;;) in the Type: field. Click OK. Now the numbers aren’t visible, but you can still use them in formulas.

Use $ to Prevent Shift

When you write a formula, you reference cells by their position, such as A1. If you copy a formula and paste it in the next cell down, Excel will shift that referenced cell, so it would say A2 instead, which as you can imagine can cause chaos fast. To prevent this shifting, use the $. So in that case, saying $A1 would prevent a shift in the column (A); A$1 prevents the shift in the row (1), and $A$1 prevents the shift change in any direction when copying a formula.

This is particularly important when you have a single cell to use in a lot of formulas. For example, if you wish to multiply everything by 2, you could do a formula like =(A1*2), but that means you can’t change the 100 easily across the board. Put the 2 in the B1 and use =(A1*B1) — then when you cut and paste it down the $B$1 reference never changes.

Easy Excel Shortcut Keys

Excel, like any great software, has many excellent keyboard shortcuts. Here are some of the best.

Ctrl+; —Inserts today’s date.
Ctrl+Shift+:—Inserts the current time (the colon is what is in a clock reading, like 12:00).
Ctrl+Shift+#—Changes the format of a date.
Ctrl+5—Applies a strikethrough to the text in a cell.
Ctrl+0— Hides the current column.
Ctrl+9—Hides the current row.
Ctrl+F6—Switches between open workbooks (that is, open Excel files in different windows).
Ctrl+`—That’s the accent mark, up by the 1 key. This combo toggles the view in the sheet to show all the formulas. Ctrl+PageUp or PageDown—Quick shift between the sheets in the currently open workbook.
F2—Start editing the current selected cell (much faster than double-clicking).
Shift+F10—Opens the right-click menu for the cell you’re in.

We hope this article will help you save time and energy helping you Excel at Excel! If you found this article helpful, you might be interested in visiting some of our other Technical Application Tips And Shortcuts: