The 12 Excel Ctrl Shortcuts I Use Most
Here are my favorite Excel Ctrl shortcuts — those I use most frequently, but in no particular order. They’re my fave’s because they’re so easy on the hands. Nine of the 12 can be executed with the left hand. For these nine, your right hand can remain comfortably on the mouse, relaxing in a hot tub. I’ll explain why I include the other three at the end of the post.
Cut, Copy & Paste
Ctrl+C: Copy (see more on Excel shortcuts for Save, Cut, Copy, Paste and Bold here)
Ctrl+V: Paste (see more on Excel shortcuts for Save, Cut, Copy, Paste and Bold here)
Ctrl+X: Cut (see more on Excel shortcuts for Save, Cut, Copy, Paste and Bold here)
Undo & Redo
Selection & Navigation (see more Excel Selection & Navigation Shortcuts here)
Ctrl+A: Select all
Ctrl+→↓←↑: Jump to edge of current region
Ctrl+1: Format dialog box (see more on Excel shortcuts for formatting here)
Ctrl+B: Bold (see more on Excel shortcuts for Save, Cut, Copy, Paste and Bold here)
Ctrl+S: Save (see more on Excel shortcuts for Save, Cut, Copy, Paste and Bold here)
As I mentioned in the beginning, with the exception of three shortcuts (Ctrl+H, Ctrl+Z and Ctrl+→↓←↑) all of the Excel Ctrl shortcuts above can be executed with the left hand. This is by design, as I prefer to keep my right hand on the mouse. If I move my right hand from the mouse to the keyboard for a shortcut, and then back to the mouse, I’ve basically defeated the purpose of a shortcut, which is to save time. Instead of pulling in my right hand for a keyboard shortcut, I’ll often just right click the mouse and pull off the command that way (assuming there’s no way to do it with my left hand).
So why did I include the three shortcuts that violate this rule? Let’s take them one at a time.
I included Ctrl+H because bringing in my right hand for this shortcut doesn’t slow me down. How so? Because my right hand has to go to the keyboard anyway to fill out the Find and Replace boxes. Therefore, there’s no disadvantage to moving the right hand to the keyboard to type “H”. I’m just moving it earlier instead of later. Might as well get it over with! The alternative is to do Ctrl+F, then Alt+P, which is slower than Ctrl+H (and also requires the right hand).
I included Ctrl+Y because I often toggle Ctrl+Z and Ctrl+Y as a pair, undoing and redoing an action to see the effect on different parts of the page. Instead of Ctrl+Y I could hit F4, but that slows down the toggling process. For me, it’s all about speed, and when toggling I find it faster to use Ctrl+Y than F4.
Finally, I included Ctrl+→↓←↑ because there’s no faster keyboard shortcut that uses the left hand. You could use the mouse instead (by double-clicking on cell borders in the direction in which you want to jump). But I find that more tedious than Ctrl+→↓←↑, especially for bigger data sets (because you have to chase your cursor around the screen).
Hope this helps, and as always, I welcome your thoughts.