The Excel Skinny

A blog about Excel and its users

After 5 years of separating Mac and Windows operating systems in Microsoft Office, 2016 closes the gap of shortcut compatibility.

Excel 2016 brings a few new features over its 2011 predecessor such as:
  • Recommended Charts
  • PivotTable Slicers
  • Analysis Toolpak
  • An improved Formula Builder
  • File compatibility improvements
  • Print options
  • Improved keyboard shortcut overlap
The last feature is, of course, the most important to us at Excel Skin. Before Office 2016, Excel shortcuts on Mac were only functional on Macs. Now you can learn Excel shortcuts on your operating system of choice, and the majority of these shortcuts will carry over if you find yourself using the alternate operating system.

If you have upgraded to Office 2016 on your Mac, now is the time to learn the new shortcuts! You can see a full list of shortcuts here, or use the Excel Skin’s color coded keyboard cover to teach you the most useful shortcuts in the least amount of time.

As always, feel free to email us or comment below with any questions you may have!

A few months ago we learned how to display the Find Dialog Box and search for text in your Excel workbook

Today you’ll learn the shortcut that repeats the last Find action without opening up the Find Dialog Box.  This shortcut saves you time and keeps you in your workbook.  It’s especially useful when you are fine tuning and editing a bunch of data.  

Example: You’ve just followed the “How to find things in a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet” blog post and the last thing you searched for was your name.  The search comes up empty and you continue with your work.  At the end of your work session you want to search one more time for your name, just to ensure it is nowhere to be found in your workbook.  Instead of opening up the Find Dialog Box all you have to do is execute a one-modifier key shortcut.

The Find Next shortcut: 


As you keep executing the shortcut Excel keeps cycling through the workbook to find all instances of the last searched text.  If there are no instances of the last searched text this dialog box will pop up telling you so.  

And there you have it.  The simple Find Next shortcut that can save you time by not opening the Find dialog box, and by not having to type what you are searching for over again.  

Microsoft Excel for Mac doesn’t automatically underline incorrect spelling.  This is because formulas are usually abbreviations of words, which would cause almost every cell with a formula to be underlined. There are times that spell check is very necessary though. Note: Excel will not correct grammar like Word, but it will find those misspelt words. 

When your Excel spreadsheet is going to be in a presentation or handed into a professor it’s best to do a spell check on the entire workbook just incase. 

The shortcut to spellcheck is a simple one modifier key shortcut. 

With any cell selected press fn + F7:

This will open the spell check dialog box.  From here you can review all spelling mistakes in the worksheet and correct them if needed. 

If the correction is not needed click Ignore to move on to the next incorrect word. 

Click on one of the Suggestions and then Change to change the selected word to the Suggestion

Click Add to add the word Excel marked as misspelt to the dictionary so it does not select the word as incorrect in the future. 

Ignore All will skip over every instance of the misspelt word in your worksheet.  For example, if I clicked Ignore All on the dialog box above all cells with asdf would be skipped.  

Change All will change every instance of the misspelt word to the word chosen in the Suggestions box.  

Have you ever wondered how to merge and center text in between two or more cells with a quick shortcut?  Unfortunately this shortcut doesn't exist, but in a few quick clicks you can have your text centered wherever you like.  This tip for Microsoft Excel on Mac can be useful in sprucing up your spreadsheet and giving it a more refined look.  
The trick is to make it look like the cells have merged together, but not actually merge them.  Merging the cells together can inhibit specific Excel functions.  
Step 1: Select the cells you wish to have the text centered in
Step 2: Click the Format menu on the toolbar
Step 3: Click Format Cells under the Format Menu. This will open a dialog box
Step 4: In the dialog box click the Alignment Tab (2nd Tab).  In the Alignment Tab select the following options: Horizontal - Center Across Selection.
Step 5: Click OK.  Your text will now be centered in the selected cells.  

Has your Standard Toolbar ever disappeared in Microsoft Excel for Mac? Have no fear, there’s a shortcut to get it back!  

Toggling the Standard Toolbar on the top of the Microsoft Excel window is a simple one modifier key shortcut.   Below is a snapshot of the Standard Toolbar including some other tools I added myself.  When we execute the shortcut the upper most portion of this screen will toggle to disappear.

Shortcut: ⌃7

And poof! It’s gone. 

Execute the shortcut again and it reappears:

And that’s it!  If you ever find yourself missing the Standard Toolbar simply execute this shortcut and it will reappear.  


This is a cool shortcut that can come in handy for any Excel users that have multiple formulas in a spreadsheet.  It’s very simple - all it does is toggles your whole spreadsheet so show either the cell values, or the cell formulas.  This effects the entire spreadsheet so any formula will be toggled back and forth when executing the shortcut. 

This shortcut can be executed from anywhere on the spreadsheet.  To execute simply press: 


Once executed your spreadsheet will change from values to formulas, or vice versa.


Now go have fun toggling back and forth between your formulas and values!  

The 3 most used font formats in Microsoft Excel are Bold, Underline, and Italic.  It is a must that you know the shortcuts to use all 3 without a second thought.  Let me teach you how. 

Click the cell you wish to format.  Note: if the cell already has data the data will be changed. If the cell is empty and anticipating data anything typed into the cell will have the formatting you applied to it.  


Bold Shortcut: 



Underline Shortcut:



Italic Shortcut:



And there you have it! The cells have been formatted to match their names

These are simple one modifier key shortcuts that can help you tremendously with formatting an Excel spreadsheet.  


Displaying the "Find" Dialog Box

For those of you who don’t know this shortcut…you are about to learn a staple in the shortcut world.   Quickly displaying the Find Dialog box will save you those precious seconds of finding the option in your toolbar or menu, and now when your boss asks you if invoice #1245 has been paid you don’t have to scroll through your whole spreadsheet searching franticly for it.

Step 1: The only real requirement of this shortcut is that there is something to find in your Excel spreadsheet, meaning there is data somewhere.  You can tweak the search by highlighting specific rows or cells you wish to search in, or execute the shortcut with without highlighting anything to search the entire spreadsheet.

Step 2: Execute shortcut:



And this pops up:


Type in the “Find what:” box the data you are searching for.  I recommend keeping the options at their default settings but you can mess around with those if you’d like.  

I searched Display the Find Dialog Box and clicked “Find Next”.  This scrolled me to the cell with Display the Find Dialog box in it.  


This is an invaluable tool when looking for data in a large spreadsheet.  No one wants to scroll through a sea of data searching for that one cell, let the “command” + “F” shortcut do it for you!


Cycling through Excel sheets seems like a shortcut that should be taught at the same time as copy and paste, but it unfortunately is not for most.  I can’t think of anything more frustrating than having one Excel document open with multiple sheets in there and having to stop what you are doing to use the mouse and click on another sheet.  Here’s how to cycle through your sheets a whole lot faster.


Step 1: This shortcut obviously needs multiple sheets in 1 Excel document.  If you are not familiar with using multiple sheets they can be found on the bottom left of your Excel document.  You can add or subtract sheets based on your needs but the default Microsoft Excel spreadsheet has 3 blank sheets.   They can be renamed as well.  For this shortcut I will stick with Sheet 1, Sheet 2, Sheet 3.  



Step 2: Execute the shortcut.  This shortcut will allow you to move right or left, depending on the arrow keys used.  Note: it will only cycle sheets in a linear fashion, it does not loop from last to first and first to last.  


Cycle to the right:

⌥ right arrow 


Cycle to the left:

⌥ left arrow 


One click of the shortcut with the right arrow lands us on Sheet2:


Another click with the right will go to Sheet3, and then we can utilize the left arrow and move back to Sheet2 and Sheet1.


This is the fastest and easiest way to cycle through sheets in a single Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.  Enjoy the vacation away from your mouse!