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Work More Efficiently with Excel Ribbon Shortcuts

Excel ribbon shortcuts let you use tools in the "ribbon" tabs such as Home, Insert, Formulas, Data, and others. By using shortcuts you can do all of your work in Excel without ever taking your hands off the keyboard, allowing you to work faster and more efficiently than your peers.


Press and Release the Alt Key

The first step is to press and release the Alt key. The Excel ribbon will update to show letters representing your next shortcut options. If you pressed Alt by accident, just press the Escape key to exit shortcut mode and return to normal.

Pick a Ribbon Tab

For example, after pressing Alt, pressing "H" will let you access tools in the Home tab, while pressing "A" will bring up tools in the Data tab. When using a ribbon shortcut, you simply press and release all keys rather than holding any down. If you press Alt then H, the ribbon updates again to show you shortcut letter options within the Home tab to guide you to the tools you need. You can then press "B", for example, to insert a bottom border. If you accidentally press Alt H during a ribbon shortcut and meant to visit a different tab, you can press the escape key to reverse a step.


Common Excel Ribbon Shortcuts from the Home Tab

  • Alt, H, O, I auto-resizes the chosen column width so that the cell(s) is wide enough to perfectly accommodate the cell's contents.
  • Alt, H, O, H auto-resizes the chosen row height so that the cell(s) is tall enough to perfectly accommodate the cell's contents.
  • Alt, H, O, W lets you enter a specific column width for the selected column(s).
  • Alt, H, E, A clears all contents and formatting from a cell or group of cells.
  • Alt, H, A, C centers the cell's contents in the cell.


Common Excel Ribbon Shortcuts from the Data Tab

  • Alt, A, T enables a drop-down filter for the selected column(s).
  • Alt, A, M removes duplicate values from the chosen list of cells.
  • Alt, A, S, A sorts all of the selected cells in alphabetical order.
  • Alt, A, S, S lets you sort a group of cells by a specified column.


Other Ribbon Shortcuts

In addition to the selected ribbon shortcuts listed above, Excel has hundreds of other ribbon shortcuts available to use. While they may feel uncomfortable at first, continuous practice will help them become second nature to the point where you'll be tapping out shortcuts without even thinking. The key is to focus on learning a few at a time and forcing yourself to use them, no matter how bad you want to give up and use the mouse.


Excel Exercises With Ribbon Shortcuts

As with all Excel shortcuts, the best way to learn is by practicing hands-on exercises.

Try some Excel exercises with ribbon shortcuts now!