Bottom line: Learn a few quick ways to use the Ctrl+Enter keyboard shortcut to save time with entering data or formulas.
Skill level: Beginner
I had a few questions come in about the Ctrl+Enter keyboard shortcut I used in last week”s videos on the Progress Doughnut Chart. I mentioned this tip (#2) in my post on 17 Excel shortcuts for 2017, but thought I should explain it in more detail. Ctrl+Enter is a shortcut I use all the time when entering data or formulas.
#1 – Ctrl+Enter to Stay on the Active Cell
When editing a cell, pressing the Enter key will select the cell below the cell you are currently working in. This is the default behavior in Excel, and it allows us to quickly work our way down a list when entering data into cells.
If we hold the Ctrl key while pressing Enter, the selection will NOT move to the next cell. Instead, the cell that we just edited will remain selected. The cell we are editing is referred to as the active cell. So, Ctrl+Enter keeps the selection on the active cell after entering data or a formula.
When is it useful?
There are a lot of uses for this shortcut. In last week”s video I was entering the percentage completion number in the cell. I wanted to keep that cell selected so I could type a different number in it to see the change in the chart. I didn”t want to have to hit Enter, then up arrow back to the cell. Using Ctrl+Enter allowed me to keep the active cell selected and modify the cell again.
We might also want to keep the selection on the active cell so we can take the next step to apply formatting, fill down, fill across, adjust row height, or copy the cell.
This saves time from having to re-select the cell with the mouse or up arrow key. It might not seem like much, but think about how many times you have edited a cell and then wanted to make additional formatting changes or copy the cell. “If I had a nickle for every time I edited a cell…”