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Microsoft Excel: Ways to do less and get more done6 minutes read

There’s always that one person in our workplace who knows how to get something done in half the time with MS Excel than the rest of us. You can be that guy too. Here are some tricks that will help you become a Excel Ninja. 

1. F2 Key – Editing the active cell

Step 1: Click on or scroll to the cell whose contents you wish to edit

Step 2: Press F2 on your keyboard.

F2
F2

As is clear from the image, once you select the cell A17 and press F2, you can see the entire functional formula of the cell. This basic excel tip can be very beneficial to do your work really fast.

2. F4 Key – Repeats the last command

When you have loads of assignments on your table and you’re stuck clicking on the Autosum button repeatedly, F4 Key will come in handy. All you need to do is perform the following steps;

  1. Apply a function – (Percentage function is applied to all the values in row L.)
  2. When you select row J and press F4, the same function automatically gets applied to the selected row.

The same can be consecutively applied to any number of cells you want.

F4
F4

The F4 key can also perform a cell referencing function, which has been explained in detail in the video below.

3. Ctrl + Backtick Key (~)

Ever came across a sheet with a lot of formulae spread across humungous data? This is one of those hidden functions that would make you use that key above the TAB key (known as the backtick key) that is rarely unused otherwise. All you have to do is press Ctrl with the backtick key (~) and you can simultaneously see the formulae of each cell on the sheet instead of the resultant values of the cells.

Ctrl -
Ctrl ~

4. “Ctrl + [” and “F5 + Enter”

More often than not, when we want to find out how a particular cell is affecting multiple other cells in a sheet, we hover the mouse on all over the sheet. There is a better way to find this using the keyboard (excel shortcuts). All you need to do is follow these steps:

Step 1: Select the cell.

Step 2: Press Ctrl key followed by key (square bracket open). This takes your cursor to the cell connected with this cell.

Ctrl open square bracket
Ctrl open square bracket

Step 3: When you’re done reviewing the cell and wish to return to your original cell, press F5 key followed by the Enter key. This would take care of the dialogue box that appears and takes you to the original cell where you started from. This shortcut will enhance your productivity to a greater extent.

f5 enter
f5 enter

5. Alt +  Equal Sign (=)

AutoSum is probably the most used feature on Excel. And here’s the easiest way to do it.

All you have to do is arrange the numbers one below the other without leaving any blank cell between two values. Then, go to the empty cell right below your last data and press the Alt key followed by Equal sign (=).

However, when the values are not arranged one below the other and have a gap between them, you can select the values using Shift+Ctrl+Down for the values with a gap between them and Shift+Down key for the values consecutively below the other. You can take advantage of this excel shortcut to add multiple cells in one go.

Alt equal
Alt equal

6. Ctrl + A – Open Function arguments

When we want to select the values on which we want to apply a formula, we generally prefer the tedious mouse use. Another method is to press the small f x key at the top of the page. However, to do it faster all you will have to do is write the formula in the cell in which you want the final value and press Ctrl + key.

6_Ctrl A

It must also be noticed that excel has made it much easier to select the formula. When you write the initial few letters of the formula, a drop down menu with suggestions appears right next to the cursor. You can select the appropriate one from among those using the TAB key.

Formula Box
Formula Box

7. Shift + F3 – Call out the function argument dialogue box

When you have already inserted the values into the formula and now want to call out the function argument box again, you can do that by going to the desired cell and pressing the Shift key followed by F3 Key.

7. Shift + F3 – Call out the function argument dialogue box

When you have already inserted the values into the formula and now want to call out the function argument box again, you can do that by going to the desired cell and pressing the Shift key followed by F3 Key.

You can click here to watch our video tutorial explaining this 9 Essential Excel Shortcuts on Formulae.  You can also read on free tools that will help you increase your productivity.

By Rishabh Pugalia

He is a Chartered Accountant and has worked with KPMG and J.P. Morgan before. He oversees Content Creation at Yoda Learning. Excel and PowerPoint Ninja Expert. Loves playing Counter Strike

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