Excel is a complex and powerful tool, often with more than one way to accomplish a task. I’ve got 5 Excel shortcuts to save you time and help impress the boss.
#1 – F9 key to debug formulas
This is the shortcut that gave our website a name.
The F9 key is a quick and easy way to debug formulas. To use, select a cell holding a formula that you want to debug. Press F2 to enter formula edit mode. Navigate to the part of the formula you want to test. Hit F9. The formula will show the calculated value and you can trace any errors with the formula.
#2 – Paste special to reverse positive/negative signs
Have you ever needed to flip a data set from positive to negative or vice versa? What a pain!
Fortunately, there is a really easy fix. The answer lies in “paste special.”
The operation section is incredibly powerful. You can use this to apply one value against an entire data set. To reverse signs, enter -1 in a blank cell. Copy that cell. Select the data set you want to reverse and click paste special. Paste values and operation multiply. All of the signs will reverse.
Bonus Tip: You can use this same process to change numbers from whole to thousands to millions.
#3 – Goal seek to solve a formula
You know the result you want but can’t get the inputs right for that specific result. Goal seek can help with your algebra. Navigate to What-If analysis on the Data tab and select goal seek. Select the cell you want to find a value for, set the value, and select the target cell that needs to change.
Excel will reiterate the formulas until its finds the target value. Note that if you get an error back, no variable was able to solve for the equation.
For more information and examples, check out our post on What-If Analysis which includes goal seek.
#4 – Auto-fill formulas
Auto-fill lets you write a formula once and have Excel generate the formula as many times as needed. If you hover over the bottom right corner of a cell, your pointer will turn into a plus sign. Click and drag up, down, right, or left and the formula will follow.
Bonus Tip: If the formula is part of a data set, double click the corner of the cell and auto-fill will complete the entire row or column to the end of the data without you having to drag.
#5 – Navigate using your keyboard
The less you touch your mouse the faster you can move in Excel. One of the biggest time savers is the ability to navigate an Excel workbook using only your keyboard. Here are a few of the best keyboard shortcuts to help you do just that:
- Arrow keys: move between cells in the direction of the arrow one at a time
- Page Up/Page Down: move one screen up or one screen down
- Ctrl + Arrow keys: move to the edge of the data set in the direction of the arrow
- Shift + Space: Select entire row
- Ctrl + Space: Select entire column
- Ctrl + Page Up/Page Down: Move one tab right or one tab left
Have any questions on Excel Shortcuts to Save you Time? Are there other topics you would like us to cover? Leave a comment below and let us know! Make sure to subscribe to our Newsletter to receive exclusive financial news right to your inbox.