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Control Key

Useful Excel® Shortcuts Using the Control Key

In this day and age, it is difficult to avoid Excel® workbooks; they are an everyday tool used in almost every business setting. Excel is used for everything from basic spreadsheets to charts and graphs and has applications that run the gamut from accounting to list management and project planning. Although it is widely used, working within Excel can often prove challenging, but knowing some simple, useful shortcuts can make working within Excel easier to manage and navigate.

Many of the most useful keyboard shortcuts for Excel utilize the control key. Usually shortened to “Ctrl”, the control key is generally positioned both to the left and right of the shift key on a standard keyboard. When using shortcuts, the control key is held down then the other key(s) used in the shortcut are pressed.

Here’s a helpful summary of useful Ctrl shortcuts:

  • Ctrl + N   opens a new workbook
  • Ctrl + O   opens the dialog box allowing the user to select an existing workbook to open
  • Ctrl + shift + the plus key (+)   allows the user to insert a row or column
  • Ctrl + minus key (-)   opens the “delete” dialog box, allowing the user to delete rows or columns
  • Ctrl + F   opens the “find and replace” dialog box with the “find” option displayed
  • Ctrl + H   opens the “find and replace” dialog box with the “replace” option displayed
  • Ctrl + home   moves to the first cell in a worksheet
  • Ctrl + end   moves to the last cell with content in the worksheet (farthest to the right)
  • Ctrl + space   selects an entire column
  • Ctrl + a   selects the data-containing area surrounding the active cell
  • Ctrl + a (twice)   selects the entire worksheet
  • Ctrl + arrow   extends a selection to the last populated cell in the direction of the arrow key
  • Ctrl + shift + home    extends the selection to the first cell in the worksheet
  • Ctrl + shift + end    extends the selection to the last cell containing content in the worksheet
  • Ctrl + ;   inserts today’s date
  • Ctrl + shift + :   inserts the current time
  • Ctrl + “   copies the value in the cell directly above
  • Ctrl + k   opens the “insert hyperlink” dialog box
  • Ctrl + 1    opens the “format cells” dialog box
  • Ctrl + b   apply or remove bold formatting
  • Ctrl + i    apply or remove italics
  • Ctrl + u   apply or remove underline
  • Ctrl + 5   apply or remove strike through

Two "bonus" shortcuts using the shift key that complement two of the Ctrl  shortcuts listed above:

  • shift + space   selects an entire row
  • shift + arrow   extends the selection by one cell in the direction of the arrow key

 The next time you are in an Excel workbook, apply some of these shortcuts and see how much easier working in Excel can be!

Excel is either a registered trademark or trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

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