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ExcelZone Compendium: Navigation tips & shortcuts

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20th Apr 2006
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There are hundreds of valuable Excel hints and tips in AccountingWEB's Any Answers archives, with more than 400 of them compiled in The ExcelZone Compendium.

This article points towards articles, tips and resources to help you move more quickly around your spreadsheets. Thanks to all of the contributors who have made this guide possible. If we have missed out any vital tips, feel free to add your own suggestions using the Post a Comment button at the end of the article.

Excel navigation basics - RTFM
As Chris Bales pointed out more than five years ago, there are usually at least two options for doing everything in Windows , and Excel is no exception. Spending some time to learn more about Windows keyboard commands will prove invaluable within Excel, Word or any other Office application.

Bales also noted that many standard commands such as Cut, Copy and Paste are also available via the right mouse button. The most common commands are usually placed near the top of the right button menu, which could save you time and hand movements. Other useful shortcuts are also covered in the ExcelZone Compendium Data Entry Basics section.

When it comes down to it, though, the most comprehensive Excel navigation tips are maintained by the people who wrote the application and it's always worth following the courteous advice of software support teams the world over to "read the flippin' manual" (RTFM). Excel's keyboard commands and short cuts are listed in the help section. Type "shortcut keys" into the Excel Help search box, where you will find a submenu of 13 different categories you can view and print out. The latest version of this list is also maintained on the Microsoft Office Online Excel 2003 assistance page. Excel "MVP" David McRitchie also maintains a list of Shortcut Keys in Excel 2000.

From the end of 2006, users will be migrating to Excel 2007, which is currently going through beta test trials with users. Charlie's List, published in David Gainer's Excel 2007 blog contains 214 new shortcuts that will work in the 2007 edition.

Free range tips
If memorising extensive shortcut lists is not to your taste, you may find it easier to improve your Excel navigation in more digestible doses by reading guides that take a more conversational tone and that set the tips into a more meaningful context. The template for this approach would be the original Excel navigation tips from AccountingWEB members article, which brought together the favourite shortcuts suggested by 32 people who responded to an Any Answers thread.

The ExcelZone community's thirst for navigation tips is unquenchable - which is one of the reasons for this particular update. As David Carter pointed out in his 2005 article, Everybody knows about F2 in Excel, don't they?, even experienced users can learn new tricks.

Leszek Grzechnik responded to Carter's article by urging people to customise the Excel tool bar to make it work the way you want. Chris Bales covered this in his 20 productivity tips article, which points you towards the Excel's View menu, where you will find the Toolbars-Customise menu options.

When you've exhausted these sources, there are always more places you can find interesting ideas on the Net, thanks to Google or any other search engine. The Excel hints & tips page maintained by XL-logic.com, for example, includes a neat way to jump around within a contiguous table. To go to the far right, left, top, or bottom cell of a table, double-click on the right, left, top, or bottom border of the active cell you're in, suggests Chris May. You can also hold down the shift button while doing it to select the entire range in the desired direction. Here are a few other examples, both within ExcelZone and further afield:

Further reading

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