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 or swap 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 a 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.

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Hello there! I'm Sumit Bansal, founder of and an Excel MVP. I started this website in 2013 with a simple goal: to share my love for Excel through easy to follow tips, tutorials and videos. I'm here to help you get the best out of MS Excel to save time and boost your productivity.

59 thoughts on “Keyboard & Mouse Tricks that will Reinvent the Way You Excel”

  1. Here is one for you Smith, I been trying for weeks but with no success yet. I created 4 pager spreadsheet,. Order, this is the main sheet where all details are entered. 2nd RegularWeeklyDeliveries the 3rd is AdhocDeliveries, the 4th is Click&Collect. In the master all data is in including the colum F which has a drop down box with either Regular, ADhoc and CLick&Collect. Which wr click on one of the drop down then click on a button called update, the whole row of the specific Regular, Adhoc and Click&Collect should go into the relevant spreadsheat. The G column as asko got a drop down with Mon through to Sunday.
    A real challenge but I will be surprised if you can beat this. Thanks for your work so far within your webpage. Mick

  2. How do you linkup a cell in excel from one worksheet to another cell in another worksheet (sort of like a hyperlink but at worksheet level)? Is there a formula to use or is there another function in excel that can do the job?

  3. I sent you query regarding advannce filter with macro along with my data sheet, I have not yet received solution please provide the solution

  4. About the mouse: several of us use a trackball instead to avoid mouse wrist and elbow.
    Thanks for this non-YouTube article – my work connection does not let me open the YouTube articles.

  5. When using controls ie buttons, excel often resizes them. Call this sub when they are clicked and keep them within a cell, allways the right size.

    Public Sub PlaceControl(aSh As Worksheet, aObj As Object, aRow As Long, aCol As Long)

    With aObj
    .Width = .Width + 1
    .Left = aSh.Cells(aRow, aCol).Left + 1
    .Width = aSh.Cells(aRow, aCol).Width – 2
    .Height = aSh.Cells(aRow, aCol).Height – 2
    .Top = aSh.Cells(aRow, aCol).Top + 1
    End With
    End Sub

  6. In my profession, once I create a working formula, fill down and right are my friends, better via keyboard shortcuts.

  7. This is only useful for “Power Users” of LinkedIn: These days, with the unbelievable popularity of LinkedIn, millions are typing comments like there’s no tomorrow… their hope is to increase their visibility, vis a vis LinkedIn’s algorithm.
    … Instead of putting your hand on the mouse, navigating the mouse-pointer arrow thingy over the comment button, and clicking on it, just hit tab twice, and hit enter!
    So, to review, if this was a LinkedIn post, you’d merely respond something like: “Amazing tip!” and then: TAB TAB ENTER… that’s it!

  8. I just love it when i open my mail every now and then and see your mail,its really handy thanks a lot and remain blessed

  9. I learn instantly usable tricks every time I open your emails, and indeed it does impress my boss and colleagues! Thank you!

  10. There is no faster way to execute a SUM than to capture a range and leave a space at the end. And press Sigma (SUM symbol). It’s instantaneous, with no suggestions or wasted time.
    It is equally useful for sums in restangular ranges: capture rectangular range of cells and leave spaces below and to the right. And press Sigma. Wonderful !

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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…

        • 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.

    • 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?

      • 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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