Tips from the Trenches, Part 3: 18 Essential Excel Keyboard Shortcuts

Welcome back to Tips from the Trenches! This is the third installment of our Excel tips series, and in this post we’re excited to share Excel keyboard shortcuts that will save your life (or at least your wrists).  The shortcuts outlined below will allow you to move around in Excel without touching your mouse. Why keyboard shortcuts? When you’re working long days, it’s crucial to give your body a break from continuous mousing. (To learn more about repetitive stress injuries, check out the UK’s National Health Services’ helpful summary.)



ctrl + shift + arrow keys Selects contiguous data (data in an area bordered by blank rows and columns)
ctrl + * Selects contiguous cells including the cell you are in
ctrl + page up or down Jumps to next or previous worksheet
ctrl + end (home) Moves cursor/view to bottom rightmost (top leftmost) populated cell in the active window
Home Return to the first cell of the current row in the worksheet
ctrl + tab Cycle through windows in active instance of Excel that are not minimized. (Not sure what an instance is? See our first post.)
ctrl + arrow keys Move to last/first row or leftmost/rightmost column in data set (provided there are no blank cells in data)
alt + tab Cycle through windows on desktop (if you have a separate instance of Excel open)
ctrl + F1 Show/hide Excel ribbon
ctrl + F9 Minimizes active window
ctrl + F10 Toggles active window between maximized and most recent sizing
F2 Inserts cursor into contents of active cell
F5 (ctrl + G) Brings up “Go To…” dialog box, which allows you to type in destination and brings up a list of recent destinations you’ve typed in
shift + F10 Opens right-click menu
shift + space Selects row
ctrl + space Selects column
ctrl + + or ctrl + I + E Insert row
ctrl + – Delete row

If that seems like a lot of keyboard shortcuts, we encourage you break them down; try mastering one per week. This works even better if you recruit an accountability buddy to learn with you! (Or you could go full-on accountant nerd route (like us) and start a group… Perkins’ “Mousers Anonymous” was wildly popular during its 2015 run.)

Did we miss your favorite shortcut? Tell us all about it in the comments!

This blog post is a summary and is not intended as tax or legal advice. You should consult with your tax advisor to obtain specific advice with respect to your fact pattern.