Keyboard & Mouse Tricks that will Reinvent the Way You Excel

In my last article, I wrote about mouse double-click tricks.

In this tutorial, I will show you some amazing things you can do in Excel by using a combination of mouse and keyboard.

Shift Rows/Columns/Cells

Suppose you have three cells, and you want to shift the content of cell A1 to cell A3 (as shown below), how would you do it?

Mouse Tricks - Shift Cell Contents

Usually, we go for the longer approach with a minimum of 3 steps, where you copy and paste to achieve this. But a keyboard and mouse combination can do this in a split second. Here is how:

  • With the cell selected that you want to shift, press the Shift key on your keyboard.
  • Left-click on the horizontal edge of the selected cell and drag it down.
  • Leave the mouse button when you see a horizontal ‘I’ shaped thick line at the bottom of the destination cell.

Mouse Trick - Switch Cells

Note: You can use this trick to shift cells, rows, and columns.

Read MoreHow to Move Rows and Columns in Excel (The Best and Fastest Way)

Copy and Insert Cells in the Middle of the Data Set

Considering the same dataset, as shown above, how would you insert a copy of a cell/row in the middle of the data set (for example, copy and insert cell A1 in A3)?

Mouse Tricks - Insert Data in Middle

The long and inefficient way would be to first copy the cell/row and then insert it (a 2 step process). Here is a better way:

  • With the cell selected that you want to copy, press the Control and Shift key on your keyboard.
  • Left click on the horizontal edge of the selected cell and drag it down.
  • Leave the mouse button when you see an ‘I’ shaped thick line at the top of the destination cell.

Mouse Trick - Copy and Insert Cells

Note: This trick works for individual cells, rows, and columns.

Quickly Create a Copy of a Worksheet

To quickly create a copy of a worksheet:

  • Press Control key on the keyboard.
  • With the Control key pressed, left-click on the tab name at the bottom of the workbook, drag it towards the working area of the worksheet (you would notice that a plus sign in a rectangle appears along with the cursor).
  • Leave the button.

Mouse Trick - Copy Worksheet

Note: The position of the copy of the worksheet depends on where you leave the control key. Notice that there is a small black arrow (pointing downwards) when you drag the cursor. It determines the position of the worksheet copy.

Insert Multiple Columns at One Go

Suppose you have a dataset as shown below, and you have to insert columns as indicated.

Mouse Tricks - Multiple Column at One Go

The usual approach is to select each column separately and insert the new column one at a time. Now here is the better way to do this:

  • Select the columns one after the other (keep the Control key pressed while selecting).
  • Right-click on the column header and select Insert – this will insert one column for each of the selected columns.

Mouse Tricks - Insert More than one column

Special Menu Mouse Tricks – Quickly Paste Formulas as Values

This one is pure magic. Try this:

  • Select a range of cells.
  • Right click at the edge of the selection, move it a little to the right, come back to the original position and leave the right click.
  • Magically, a menu appears, which you can use to converts formulas to values.

Mouse Tricks - Copy as Values

These are my top five keyboard and mouse tricks in Excel that I use all the time.

How about you?

Share your favorite keyboard/mouse tricks with me.

Recommendation: If you work with a mouse a lot, it makes you susceptible to wrist pain and other issues such as carpal tunnel. I recommend you get yourself an ergonomic mouse to minimize wrist pain. I have been using one for the past 3 years and I find these really effective.

You May Also Like the following Excel Tutorials:

  • Gopal says:

    Great job really. Sharing makes its the greatest.

  • Raymond Mourrs says:

    Great job. God bless you. We need good people like you in this world.

  • William Lewis says:

    Great expertize always impresses; that you are prepared to freely share your expertize is truly astounding!
    No tip to offer, but I do have a question:

    Is there an elegant way to change the sign of the values in a range of cells?

    I have tried multiplying the values by -1, but it leads to warnings of circular references.
    Thank you and best wishes.

  • Riyaz Khan Pathan says:

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  • Riyaz Khan Pathan says:

    hi sir so many time i asked you some thing sir yet it you not replied

  • RB says:

    3 common things I use included pressing the Alt and the equal sign for a quick Sum() formula. Highlighting a range and (first cell has a formula or value) and pressing Shft+Alt and an arrow key () to copy things left and right and then ctrl + D for down.
    The last feature is highlighting a range of numbers, hit F5, select special, blanks, and close. Then you can delete all blank cells.

  • Zaur says:

    what software you use for creating gif video?

  • Sudhakar Sreenivasan says:

    Ineteresting and useful.

  • Shabbir Kanorewala says:

    Sometimes while attaching files to mail is headache as we go in folders and search for files, whereas this is simple where you need to open the required file and copy web address from document location option and just copy paste into attachment box and its done…

  • Shabbir Kanorewala says:

    While handling multiple worksheets in workbook, you can use Ctrl+Tab or else try Ctrl+F6

  • Girish Kini says:

    Alt + F4 will reduce your stress in half.

    Be sure to save your workbook though:)

  • fgd says:

    in which version of excel its work

    • Sumit Bansal says:

      These should work in 2007, 2010 and 2013

      • Venkat Annapareddy says:

        Do these work for Mac Excel as well?. Appreciate if you could also share some of them on Mac.

  • indzara says:

    Thanks for sharing. I did not know any of these. 🙂

  • MF says:

    There are more to do with Trick #5
    Here’s an example, similar to Trick #1 and 2
    http://wmfexcel.com/2014/08/23/move-cells-by-right-click-drag-and-drop/

    On the other hand, if we need to draw a perfect circle, or triangle…
    Hold Shift Key while adjusting the size of an object

    • Sumit Bansal says:

      Thanks for sharing.. Inserting shapes with shift key is a helpful one 🙂

      • biggsd says:

        Wow, I just noticed that your example above shows the same grayed out areas as mine (question above) If you checked out that link, you will see it was supposed to work differently, although I could not get mine to work. following their instructions. I guess I should have posted my question on that site (http://wmfexcel.com/2014/08/23/move-cells-by-right-click-drag-and-drop/) but that article was from 2014.

        • Ulrich Seyfferdt says:

          You do not have to move your mouse pointer back.
          Select the cells you want to work with. While pressing ctrl move the mouse pointer over the edge of your selection [pointer will change to a +] Then ‘right-clikc’ and move the selection to a new range and let go of the mouse click. Presto – you copied to the new range with the full menu aailable.

    • biggsd says:

      I tried this last tip from wmfexcel, but the bottom half (all of the shift commands) of my menu was grayed out. Can not figure out why. I even created a new worksheet with just a few cells filled in, but I get the same result.
      Any thoughts?

      • biggsd says:

        Also, do you know of a quick mouse shortcut to select entire continuous range from a single middle cell. I use ctrl+* but that is a little awkward and I have to take my hand off the mouse.

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