• SamWeb iconSamWeb
  • My Sam iconMy Sam
  • E-mail iconE-mail
  • SHSUOnline | Blackboard

Fast Links

IT@Sam Newsletter

  • Home >
  • Tech Tip: Time Saving Excel Tips

Check MarkTech Tip: Time Saving Excel Tips

Excel has become a necessity in today’s work environment and this means that most people have some working knowledge of it. Everyone can benefit from these time-saving techniques though.

Putting Text on Several Lines

If you're typing text or multiple lines of data into a cell and you want the text to appear on several lines, then instead of entering the text in another cell just simply press:

  • PC: ALT+ENTER
  • Mac: CONTROL + OPTION + RETURN

You will start a new line while you're typing or editing data.

Changing the Enter Key Behavior

When you hit the Enter/Return key in Excel, you will automatically drop down to the
cell just below it. But you can change this default and change this feature. With Excel open:

  • PC
    • Go to File > Options > Advanced
    • The first option will say "After Pressing Enter, move selection"
    • The default is down, but you can change it to any direction
    • Select "OK"
  • Mac
    • Go to your Excel > Preferences > Edit
    • The fourth checkbox on the right will say "After Pressing RETURN, move selection"
    • The default is down, but you can change it to any direction
    • Select "OK"

Quickly Skip Through Your Worksheets Using Shortcut Keys

Just as you can use ALT + TAB to skip through the opened program windows on your desktop, you can do a similar thing to skip through the worksheets in Excel.

To move one worksheet to the right press

  • CTRL+PAGE DOWN (Move to the right)
  • CTRL+PAGE UP (Move to the left)

This keyboard shortcut works on both Mac and PC platforms.

Display Formulas Instead of Results

A single keystroke lets you toggle between Excel's normal display, which shows the results of the formulas in the spreadsheet, and a display mode that shows the actual formulas.
The keystroke is:

  • Ctrl + ` (this is not an apostrophe, this is the grave accent key)

(The grave accent key is located on the top left of the keyboard next to the 1 key, in the US it's the Tilde key); press it once, and Excel displays formulas instead of results. Press it again, and the results appear again.

This keyboard shortcut works on both Mac and PC platforms.

Shade Alternate Rows

For a lengthy list, shading alternate rows can improve legibility and it's simple to do with Excel's Conditional Formatting feature, which allows you to apply cell shading (green or otherwise) to every other row in a worksheet range.

Highlight the range of cells or rows or columns that you want to format.

Choose Format > Conditional Formatting to display the Conditional Formatting dialog box.

PC

  • Select New Rule and then select "Use a formula to determine which cells to format," and enter "=MOD(ROW(),2)=0"
  • Click "Format" to select the accent color for shading
  • Select "OK"
  • Select "OK" again
  • The rows in your table should alternate colors now

Mac

  • Select the "+" sign at the bottom of the window
  • Change the style to "Classic"
  • On the second drop down menu select "Use a formula to determine which cells to format," and enter =MOD(ROW(),2)=0

Sam Houston State Logo

Sam Houston State University | Huntsville, Texas 77341 | (936) 294-1111 | (866) BEARKAT Member TSUS
© Copyright Sam Houston State University | All rights reserved. | Contact Web Editor