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Up to speed with Excel formulas

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  • Double-clicking in a cell, even if it is empty
  • Typing a formula in full
  • Slowing dragging your mouse to highlight cells
  • Trying to click in the formula bar
  • Keep forgetting to finish editing a cell

To enter something in a cell just start typing; you don't have to double-click the cell or click into the formula bar.

To edit a cell, or check a formula, just press the F2 function key (in Windows). Once you've checked a formula just press the Escape key, to abandon editing.

When you are editing a cell (be it text, a formula, whatever) EITHER press the Enter key to complete your editing, OR press Escape to abandon the editing. There is no need to use the mouse. Even if you want to move to a different cell, I suggest pressing Enter first before reaching for the mouse. The Enter key (in effect) confirms your edit.



To create a formula.. type an equal sign. Don't double-click the cell or click into the formula bar.

Type the first letter or two (or three) of the function name. In the list that appears, press the Down arrow until the function you want is highlighted. Press the TAB key to select this function, or you can double-click its name in the list.

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Click on the bottom cell of the ones that you want to use in your formula:

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(You don't even need your mouse. You can just press the Up/Down arrows to navigate to the cell.)

Press Ctrl-Shift-Up (the Up arrow) to extend the selection upwards. If there is an empty cell in the range you'll have to press Ctrl-Shift-Up perhaps a few times to reach the top. (If you go too far up, press Ctrl-Shift-Down.)

Your data will probably have a header-cell at the top that is included in the selection:

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Release the Ctrl key, using Shift-Down (without the Ctrl key) will adjust the selection so that you can exclude the top cell.

You can use Ctrl-Shift-Down, etc., if you are starting at the top and selecting downwards.

You have completed the formula. You can see it in the formula bar. But you do not need to click into the formula bar. Just press Enter to finish it.



Practice these keyboard combinations. Your productivity, and confidence with, Excel will improve.

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