The Excel Keyboard Shortcut Cheat Sheet for PC and Mac users

Using Excel for the first time can be overwhelming, but just know that you can take it one cell at a time! Whether you’re using Excel for the first time, or you’re a novice and you want to improve, keyboard shortcuts are something you’re going to want to know. Using a mouse in Excel, like hard coding formulas, is a dead giveaway that you’re new to Excel. It works fine, but if you want to step it up, it’s good to learn keyboard shortcuts (it’s faster and looks good to employers!). Just start here with this cheat sheet and one day you’ll be using Excel….wait for it…MOUSE-LESS! #goals

Terminology to Know

  • Cell– a rectangle/block housed in a worksheet, any data is put in here and cells can display text, numbers, formulas, etc. for whatever you want to do (a cell is “active” when it is being edited)
  • Cell reference– a set of coordinates that identifies a specific cell e.g. A1 (column A, row 1)
  • Cell range– a collection of  cells that have been identified as a group e.g. A1:A12
  • Formula– a sequence inside of a cell that is used to produce a value, it must start with an equal (=) sign
  • Worksheet– aka a spreadsheet, there can be multiple in a workbook (tabs at the bottom indicate how many worksheets you have)
  • Workbook– the Excel spreadsheet file that houses all the data you have entered


*shortcuts in bold pertain to Mac commands, and those in teal pertain to both*


  • Arrow to navigate left, right, up and down
  • Ctrl/command + arrow to get to the edge of a data set
  • Ctrl + home or Ctrl + Fn + left arrow to move to the beginning of a sheet
  • Ctrl/command + end  to get to the end of a worksheet
  • Ctrl + page down/up or Option + right/left arrow to go between sheets


  • Shift + arrow to highlight cells
  • Ctrl/command + a to select all
  • Command + shift + k to group selected cells
  • Command + shift + j to ungroup selected cells
  • Shift + home or Shift + Fn + left arrow  to extend the selection to the beginning of the row
  • Ctrl + shift + home or Ctrl + shift+ fn+ left arrow  to extend the selection to the beginning of the sheet
  • Ctrl to shift + end or Ctrl + shift + fn + right arrow  to extend the selection to the last cell used on the sheet  (lower-right corner)
  • Ctrl + spacebar to select the whole column
  • Shift + spacebar to select the whole row


  • Ctrl/command + 9 to hide selected cells
  • Ctrl/command + 0 to hide selected columns
  • Command + ) to hide a column
  • Command + shift + ) to unhide a column
  • Command + ( to hide a row
  • Command + shift + ( to unhide a row
  • Ctrl/command + D to fill down (highlight cells first)
  • Ctrl/command + R to fill to the right
  • Ctrl/command + enter to fill the selected cell range with the current entry
  • Ctrl/command + x to cut


  • F2 to make a cell active (can also double click or edit in the formula space up top)
  • Ctrl/command + 1 to edit cells (outlines, color, type, etc.) which allows you to edit…
    • Number- how the number is formatted (the default is general)
    • Alignment- horizontal and vertical
      • Ctrl/command + E to align center
      • Ctrl/command + L to align left
    • Font- type and size
      • Ctrl/command + shift + > to increase font size
      • Ctrl/command + shift + < to decrease font size
    • Border- outline and weight
    • Fill- color or pattern
    • Protection- lock or hide cells


  • Ctrl + grave accent (‘) alternates between displaying cell values and cell formulas
    • E.g. A cell formula is = 4+5 and a cell value is 9 (it’s useful to alternate when you have more complicated formulas and you want to edit specific parts)
  • Shift + F11 to open a new sheet
  • Ctrl/command + W to close a workbook
  • Ctrl/command + O to open a workbook

* Pressing alt for a Pc opens up the ribbon at the top of excel which you can use to navigate between  tabs*

Opens up…

  • Insert (to insert pivot tables, images, charts, etc.)- Alt + N
  • Page layout (to change size, orientation, margins, etc.)- Alt + P
  • Formulas (to insert and customize functions)- Alt + M
  • Data (to sort, filter, do data validation, etc.)- Alt + A
  • Review (to protect and share your workbook)- Alt + R
  • View (to preview page layout, line breaks, etc.)- Alt + W

Example: creating a Pivot Table (Alt + N + V)

Here is sales data for an online retailer. To analyze relationships between different factors, pivot tables are extremely useful! To insert one, first press Alt then N to get to the Insert Tab.

Press V for a pivot table.

A dialog box will pop up where you can enter your data range (note you can have the pivot table pop up in a new worksheet or existing one).

Manipulate your pivot table by dragging different variables into the filters, columns, rows, and values boxes. Here, I have day under filters, region under columns, gender under rows, and values as count. This shows the number of females vs. males split up by region and filtered by day (it’s currently set on Sunday).


*Remember, practice makes progress! Find a combination of keyboard and mouse navigation that works for you.*