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Tickling the Keyboard: 10 Spreadsheet Tips

Basic shortcuts to smooth the use of Excel.

Brian Nadel, | US
August 13, 2007

Add to Best Excel Tip

Kevin Gosselin mentions the capablility and useability of the "scroll sum" but if your program is not providing that feature, right click on the task bar in the right hand corner and a menu pops up where you can turn on "sum" or select other functions.

Posted by Gerald Hunt | June 26, 2008 01:20 pm

The Best MS Excel Tip of All

Good article, but I've found the most AMAZING feature in Excel that I use hundreds of times each day is.... "To quickly sum numbers, simply highlight the individual cells and the value will show up at the lower right-hand corner of your screen as "Sum = ####". When summing cells that are in different columns, simply hold down the CTRL key and click on the individual cells of interest." This tip amazes people all the time and during meetings, when answers are needed quickly, it continues to make me look like a "magician" to my peers.

Posted by Kevin Gosselin | August 24, 2007 08:27 am

Slow News Day?

With all the turmoil in the credit markets, this is what you write an article about? Why not do a story on how bad the sub-prime mess really is or how the volatility can show up in the most unexpected places (such as in mmkt funds possibly breaking the buck). We could be on the verge of a financial crisis and you are emailing spreadsheet tips.

Posted by | August 14, 2007 10:37 pm


Thanks for the Excel tips....Unlike Bob, I have used Lotus123 since 1983 and still find it more user friendly and useful than Excel...But the World has adopted Excel and I am being dragged along kicking and screeming. I agree with Greg, "...Now if only we could get a tutorial on pivot tables..." Keep up the good work! Ronny Reed, Houston

Posted by Ronny Reed | August 14, 2007 02:42 pm


Very very rudimentary! Please do not direct this article to any finance executive worth his salt, as he might have learnt the 'trick' on the first or second day of his training. Generally, your articles are quite good, but please do not post such primary level stuff.

Posted by Nishanth Nottath | August 14, 2007 09:56 am

More tips

Regarding the first point, Ctrl-S will also save a file and Ctrl-N will open a new spreadsheet. I also like using shortcuts. They are helpful and do save time, if you are a heavy user. Finally, if you go to Microsoft Excel Help and search for Keyboard Shortcuts, you can see a list of all available shortcuts. It also will teach you how to record a macro that will create a new shortcut.

Posted by Jeff Schuchman | August 14, 2007 07:59 am

Some of the shortcuts are handy...

In that regard, I'd have to disagree with Bob above. Its worth noting, he's been using Excel since 1983... Whereas I was born in 1983, so I grew up using a very different Excel. When I was auditing, I spent at least 7 hours a day buried in Excel spreadsheets. When you can save yourself a few seconds here and there, the shortcuts certainly prove worthwhile when you spend that much time in the program. Now if only we could get a tutorial on pivot tables, or maybe the many great uses of the "if" function. I can honestly say the if fucntion saved me countless hours over the years.

Posted by Gary Labelle | August 13, 2007 11:26 pm

The mouse works better

Unless you are a person who can retain obsure references and keyboard sequences, the mouse using the toolbar icons are much easier and more intuitive to use. I have been using Excel since 1983 and have to admit I have never heard of several of the sequences described in the article, but I do accomplish all of the tasks described with the mouse and icons.

Posted by ROBERT BERGSLIEN | August 13, 2007 05:41 pm

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