How Can I Become A Lazy, Cheating Bum With Excel Shortcuts?
Excel shortcuts are for “lazy” people (actually, for smart and efficient people). But I’d like to take laziness to another level — and show you how to be lazy about being lazy.
Excel provides some easy ways to discover shortcuts, or remind yourself of them if you’ve forgotten. These methods work with some types of shortcuts, and only in some situations. However, they can be very useful, especially while you’re learning shortcuts. Or, if you’re too lazy to remember shortcuts, this is your easy way out.
Excel Shortcut Tip #1: Screen Tips For Flagrantly Cheating Lazy Bums
The first way to cheat is to simply hover over an icon on the Ribbon. It’s like asking Siri on your iPhone, “what is the shortcut?” Or it’s like rubbing a brass lamp until the genie comes out. See below for an example.
Unfortunately, not every icon has a genie (Microsoft’s technical term for these reminders is “screen tips”). For example, while Cut, Copy and Paste do have genies, Format Painter does not. At best, Format Painter has a very mean genie who doesn’t tell me any shortcuts. It just sends me to the Help database.
The absence of a genie doesn’t mean there’s no shortcut – it’s just that it may not be a straightforward Ctrl, Ctrl+Shift or F-key shortcut. For some reason, Excel doesn’t include hybrid shortcuts (those that combine the mouse and keyboard) in its pop-up hints. Why? I don’t know (are they supposed to be some kind of secret?). But don’t worry, my friends. Because I’m here to make you faster at Excel, I will reveal these deep, dark secrets. If I go missing and don’t post anything for a while, you’ll know that I’ve been sent to Microsoft jail for publishing taboo information about how to get faster at Excel.
But for now, I’m still free and out in the open (please don’t tell Microsoft where I am), so let’s move on to the second method of flagrantly cheating when it comes to shortcuts.
Using this method is kind of like taking a test, but you already have all the answers written down. It’s as if someone took a final exam before you did, and they liked you so much they wrote all the answers down for you. So you show up at the exam and get an A+ and are the first one to finish. You get up and walk out of the exam after five minutes and everyone is wondering, “How the heck did he do that so fast?” He did it so fast because he cheated (legally) by visiting FasterAtExcel.com. That site is run by the famous guy (and also genius) Paul “Terp” Terpeluk.
Excel Shortcut Bum Tip #2: Key Tips For Flagrantly Cheating Lazy Bums
The second method, which is like having the answer key while taking an important exam, is to use what Excel calls “Key Tips.” Key tips help you remember Alt shortcuts or “keyboard accelerators.” As long as you know what tab you need to go to, key tips mean you don’t have to remember anything. For example, if I want to go to Excel Options using Alt shortcuts, all I need to know is that Excel Options is on the File tab. If I know that, then I just type Alt and see which letter takes me to the File tab. Below I see it’s letter F.
I type F and I go to the File tab. Now that I’m on the File tab, I can see that T takes me to Options.
So the full sequence is Alt-F-T, but all I needed to know was that Excel Options is on the File tab. So it makes sense to familiarize yourself with the Ribbons. Doing so will help you when you want to use Ribbon shortcuts. While you can certainly move a lot faster if you memorize Alt sequences such as Alt-F-T, you don’t have to memorize them thanks to these key tips.
Excel Shortcut Bum Tip #3: Hot Keys For Flagrantly Cheating Lazy Bums
The third type of shortcut you can cheat on is with Hybrid shortcuts. Let’s say I just learned yesterday that RC-D is the hybrid shortcut for Delete. Someone showed me at work, but then my boss called and yelled at me and I got all upset and totally forgot about this amazing shortcut. I come into work this morning, have my cup of coffee, get all excited due to the caffeine buzz, and suddenly remember that my buddy taught me an amazing shortcut for Delete. Unfortunately, he is not at work today because he Microsoft has called him in for questioning. They want to know why he revealed this secret to me, and I’m not sure when, if ever, he’ll be back. All I remember is that the shortcut involved the right click menu. So all I need to do is right click and look for the Delete command. Here it is – and I see that D is underlined.
This means that D is the shortcut key — or, as Microsoft calls it, the “hot key.” So if I now just type D, I will delete – just the same as if I clicked on Delete. I was able to do this without memorizing the shortcut. All I do is right click and see what letter is underlined. RC-D is the shortcut for Delete.
In some cases there are only icons on the context menu – nothing is underlined. For example, if I copy, then right click in order to paste, I only see a bunch of icons for the Paste Options – nothing is underlined. In this case, just hover over the icon to get the shortcut key. Here you can see that V is for Values, so RC-V is the shortcut for Paste Values (when the genie does its work, it magically causes the rest of the context menu to disappear in a mysterious fog).
Both RC-V for pasting Values and RC-D for Deleting are great, fast, left-hand only shortcuts that I use all the time (I’m giving you an insider’s bum secret, here, so please treat this information with discretion). Yet mysteriously, hardly anyone talks about these two hybrid shortcuts or ones like them.
Well, that’s it for today’s foray into the supernatural and the bum’s lair of laziness. I hope these magic tricks help you, a lazy Excel bum, become even lazier at Excel… Regarding said laziness, in parting, I urge you, in the words of the Eagles, to Take It To The Limit.
As always, I welcome your feedback.