There is a debate about whether Mickey (the mouse) is quicker than the Qwerty (the keyboard). Of course, the answer depends – which one you are more familiar with? If you know, for example, that Ctrl Home will take you to the top of the document, then it will probably be much faster than grabbing that little rodent and dragging the scroll bar to the top. Similarly, if you don’t know that you can scroll with the mouse’s roller ball, then repeatedly pressing the page up key will be your solution. Bottom line, until you learn the shortcuts, the long way is the only way to get to grandma’s house.

How do you learn shortcuts? You have to become aware of them. I remember the first time I taught an Excel VBA macro class. The book we used showed a keyboard shortcut that blew my mind away. I thought, “I’ve been using Excel for 10 years – how did I not know this?” It was amazing and has since saved me and students hours of work. I will write about how Ctrl G is Excel’s warp drive in a future article.

So, the first step to shortcut paradise is awareness. You become aware of a shortcut when you read about it, hear about it, or see someone else using it. In most all my classes we start with a discussion about favorite keyboard shortcuts.

The second step in learning shortcuts is writing them down. Once they’re written down, you do not have to memorize them – you can just look them up. Thus, many organizations, including TechMentors, produce Quick Reference cards that allow you to quickly remember those great little time savers.

The third and final step in learning shortcuts is using them. You don’t have to memorize them; you just have to use them. The more you use them, the more you will develop a habit that will gradually sink into your subconscious memory. Before you know it, you will have them memorized. You may even discover that they change the way you think. For example, now it’s time for me to Ctrl S (Save) this document.

If you would like to learn specific keyboard shortcuts for Excel, subscribe to our TechMentor’s Newsletter to receive your copy of the TechMentors’ Excel Quick Reference card.