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Microsoft Excel:
5 Easy Shortcuts to Format & Select

To simplify your work with Excel worksheets, find faster and easier ways to select and format your data.

Quickly Display the Format Cells Dialog Box

Excel shortcuts, tips, format cells, worksheet, formatting, selecting, tips and tricksOne way to format a cell or range of cells is to choose the Format Cells command. In addition to the Home tab in the Ribbon (Excel 2010 and Excel 2007) or the Formatting toolbar (Excel 2003), try these other shortcuts to apply formatting in Excel:

  • Keyboard: Select a cell, then press [Ctrl] + 1 to display the Format Cells dialog box.
  • Mouse: Select a cell, press [Shift] + F10 or right-click a cell and select Format Cells from the shortcut menu.

Easily Focus Attention on a Worksheet Range

If you ever need to zero in on a specific range in Excel, there's an easy way to magnify the data so that you focus all your attention on it.

  1. Select the appropriate range.
  2. Excel 2010 and Excel 2007: choose the View tab, select Zoom to Selection. In Excel 2003, simply open the Zoom dropdown list on the Standard toolbar and choose Fit Selection.

Excel magnifies the view of the data by whatever percentage is necessary to fill the viewable area of the file's window, up to 400%. When you want to return to the normal view of the worksheet, simply choose the View tab and choose 100%. In Excel 2003, reopen the Zoom dialog box and choose 100%.

Enhance Text Layout with Orientation and Wrap Formatting

In many worksheets, horizontal space can be a premium. One solution is to put a new angle on your data especially if column headings need more space than the data in the same column.

To customize the orientation of text in a cell:

  1. Select the cell(s) that contain text that you want to change; text can be in a chart or worksheet.
  2. Choose Format Cells from one of the shortcuts above and click on the Alignment tab.
  3. Enter 90 in the Orientation panel's Degrees spin box or click into the Orientation example to set the direction.
  4. Click OK to apply.

Content in Excel worksheets is not limited to numbers and formulas. In addition to column headings and row labels, text may be critical for comments, notes, descriptions, and other important entries.

To automatically wrap text in a cell to maximize the layout and display:

  1. Type the following text into a cell: "These tips are fun and easy!".
  2. Press [Ctrl] + 1 and select the Alignment tab.
  3. Select the Wrap text checkbox.
  4. Click OK.

In Excel 2010 and Excel 2007, you can also find Wrap Text on the Home tab of the Ribbon (Alignment group).

Select the Current Region

In Excel, the current region or list is a range of cells containing data bounded by blank rows and columns.

Try any of these tricks to select the current region or list:

  • Select a cell inside the range and press [Ctrl] + [Shift] + * (when using the * on the numeric keypad, just press [Ctrl] + *), or
  • Select a cell inside the range and press [Ctrl] + A (you can still use [Ctrl] + [Shift] + *). Press [Ctrl] + A once or twice again to Select All (not just the list or table range).

Prevent Moving to the Next Cell After Typing

Type data into a cell, press [Enter] and the default action in Excel is for your pointer to move down a row. It is easy to change this default either temporarily or permanently.

To prevent moving to the next cell (one time) after typing:

  • Press [Ctrl] + [Enter] (instead of [Enter]), or

If you want your pointer to move within a specific range but just not down to the next cell, you can also highlight a range of cells before typing. Then, when you type an entry and press [Enter], your pointer will move to the next available cell based on your selection which may be down or to the right

To change/set the move selection after pressing [Enter]:

In Excel 2010 and Excel 2007:

  1. Excel 2010: File > Options. Excel 2007: Microsoft Office Button > Excel Options.
  2. Pick the Advanced category from the left.
  3. Change the direction under the option After pressing Enter, move selection or uncheck to if you want your pointer to stay in place.

In Excel 2003:

  1. Pick Tools > Options, and then the Edit tab.
  2. Select the desired direction from the Move selection after Enter Direction dropdown list.

Try these shortcuts to make it even easier to select and format in your Excel worksheets.

Dawn Bjork Buzbee, MCT, The Software Pro

Dawn Bjork Buzbee is The Software Pro and a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) as well as a certified Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Master Instructor, certified Microsoft Applications Specialist (MCAS) Instructor, and a certified Microsoft Office expert. Dawn shares smart and easy ways to effectively use software through her work as a software speaker, trainer, consultant, and author of 8 books.

This article and more can be reprinted at no charge in your publications and website with copyright and attribution.
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Hot Excel Tip
Easy formatting shortcut = [Ctrl] + 1 for the Format Cells dialog box.
 
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For 100% zoom in a worksheet, drag the slider in the status bar Zoom control in the bottom-right corner to the center (Excel 2010 & Excel 2007).
 
 
 
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