Excel Keyboard Shortcuts for Financial Modelers

By Danielle Stein Fairhurst

Part of Financial Modeling in Excel For Dummies Cheat Sheet

If you’re spending a lot of time modeling in Excel, you can save yourself time by learning some keyboard shortcuts. Much of the modeler’s skills are about speed and accuracy, and by practicing these shortcuts until they become muscle memory, you’ll be a more rapid and accurate modeler.

Here’s a list of the most useful shortcuts that should be part of your everyday keyboard use if you’re a financial modeler:

Ctrl+S Save workbook.
Ctrl+C Copy.
Ctrl+V Paste.
Ctrl+X Cut.
Ctrl+Z Undo.
Ctrl+Y Redo.
Ctrl+A Select all.
Ctrl+R Copy the far left cell across the range. (You have to highlight range first.)
Ctrl+D Copy the top cell down the range. (You have to highlight the range first.)
Ctrl+B Bold.
Ctrl+1 Format box.
Alt+Tab Switch program.
Alt+F4 Close program.
Ctrl+N New workbook.
Shift+F11 New worksheet.
Ctrl+W Close worksheet.
Ctrl+E+L Delete a sheet.
Ctrl+Tab Switch workbooks.
Shift+Spacebar Highlight row.
Ctrl+Spacebar Highlight column.
Ctrl+– (hyphen) Delete selected cells.
Arrow keys Move to new cells.
Ctrl+Pg Up/Pg Down Switch worksheets.
Ctrl+Arrow keys Go to end of continuous range and select a cell.
Shift+Arrow keys Select range.
Shift+Ctrl+Arrow keys Select continuous range.
Home Move to beginning of the line.
Ctrl+Home Move to cell A1.
In Formulas  
F2 Edit formula, showing precedent cells.
Alt+Enter Start a new line in the same cell.
Shift+Arrow keys Highlight within cells.
F4 Change absolute referencing (“$”).
Esc Cancel a cell entry.
ALT+= (equal sign) Sum selected cells.
F9 Recalculate all workbooks.
Ctrl+[ Highlight precedent cells.
Ctrl+] Highlight dependent cells.
F5+Enter Go back to original cell.

To find the shortcut for any function, press the Alt key and the shortcut keys will show the Ribbon. For example, to go to the Name Manager, press Alt+M+N, and the Name Manager dialog box appears.

In the upper-left corner, you’ll find the Quick Access Toolbar. You can change the shortcuts that appear on the Quick Access Toolbar by clicking the tiny arrow to the right of the toolbar and selecting what you want to add from the drop-down menu that appears. For example, if you add Paste Special to the Quick Access Toolbar, Paste Special can be accessed with the shortcut Alt+4. Note that this only works when the Quick Access Toolbar has been customized, and whatever you put in the fourth position will be accessed by the shortcut Alt+4.