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Excel for Business Guide

Navigation Methods

Excel offers multiple ways to accomplish most goals, including navigation. Except for typing in a cell, a mouse can get you almost anywhere; however, power-users tend to prefer keyboard shortcuts (described here), which take practice but lead to faster performance by keeping your hands where the typing happens.


Select a single cell:

  • Adjacent cell: Arrow key (for the corresponding direction)
    Excel, selecting cells with the arrow keys
  • End of a range: Ctrl + Arrow (for the corresponding direction)
                on Mac, Fn + Ctrl + Arrow
  • Any cell in the worksheet: Ctrl + G > type the cell reference > Enter

Select multiple cells:

  1. Select a cell at the top, bottom, left, right, or corner of the range you want to select.
  2. Hold Shift while you select the cell at the opposite end of the range.
    Or hold Ctrl and select each individual cell.

Excel, using Control Shift Arrow to select multiple cells


Change worksheets:

  • Next worksheet: Ctrl + PageDown
                 on Mac, Fn + Ctrl + UpArrow
  • Previous worksheet: Ctrl + PageUp
                        on Mac, Fn + Ctrl + DownArrow

Excel, changing worksheet selections with Ctrl Page Down/Up

Cell Content

Excel, typing a date in a cell and pressing EnterAdd content to a cell by selecting the cell then typing. When you finish, commit your changes:

  • Commit and move down: Enter
  • Commit and move up: Shift + Enter
  • Commit and move right: Tab
  • Commit and move left: Shift + Tab

Typing on the cell overwrites anything that had been entered there before.

EExcel, pressing F2 then editing the cell contentdit the content already in the cell:

  1. Press F2.
    On Mac, press Ctrl + U.
  2. Navigate and edit like in a text editor.
  3. Commit your changes as above.


Cells are individual boxes in a spreadsheet. Identify a given cell by its column letter and row number (e.g.: C3).

Worksheets appear as tabs in an Excel file. Identify a cell within another worksheet by adding the worksheet name and exclamation mark before the cell identifier (e.g.: Sheet1!C3)

Workbooks are individual Excel files. Identify another workbook by adding the file path and file name (in brackets) before the worksheet and cell identifiers (e.g.: 'C:\Temp\[Book1.xlsx]Sheet1'!C3).

Menu Ribbon

The Menu Ribbon sitting along the top of Excel's interface grants access to many sophisticated software capabilities.

Alt > keys as displayed in the Excel application
on Mac, mouse-click only (no shortcut)

Excel, using Alt and letter keys to navigate the menu ribbon

Business & Data Analysis Librarian

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Kevin Thomas
Subjects: Statistics


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