Simplify your spreadsheet tasks

Typically, systems administrators use Microsoft Excel 2000 for a variety of common tasks. For example, you probably use Excel to fill out expense reports and keep track of simple budgets. However, you might also find yourself connecting Excel to Microsoft SQL Server 2000's Analysis Server and using Pivot Tables to complete sophisticated data-analysis tasks. Whether your needs are simple or complex, you can use the following keyboard shortcuts to simplify your work in Excel.

10. Ctrl+X, Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V, and Ctrl+Z—The venerable Cut (Ctrl+X), Copy (Ctrl+C), and Paste (Ctrl+V) commands are probably the most basic Excel 2000 keyboard shortcuts. Simply select a specific cell and use the desired keystroke combination. Unlike Windows, Excel doesn't perform the cut until after you complete the paste operation. Excel 2000 also supports the Undo command (Ctrl+Z).

9. Ctrl+O, Ctrl+S, and Ctrl+P—These handy shortcuts let you quickly display the Open, Save, and Print dialog boxes. As their mnemonic associations imply, Ctrl+O displays the Open dialog box, Ctrl+S displays the Save dialog box, and Ctrl+P displays the Print dialog box.

8. Ctrl+semicolon (;) and Ctrl+colon (:)—The Ctrl+; key combination is a quick way to enter the current date into a cell. The Ctrl+: key combination is a quick way to enter the current time into a cell.

7. Shift+F5 and Shift+F4—Shift+F5 lets you quickly display Excel's Find dialog box, in which you can enter a value that you want to search for within the current worksheet. Shift+F4 instructs Excel to find the next occurrence of the search string.

6. Ctrl+Shift+plus sign (+)—This useful key combination displays the Insert dialog box over the current cell position, letting you insert rows and columns into a worksheet. By default, Excel inserts a row above the high-lighted cell's row. However, you can choose to insert one cell and shift the existing cells to the right. You can also insert a column and shift existing columns to the right.

5. F9 and Shift+F9—The F9 key, an Excel keyboard staple, forces a manual calculation for all worksheets. Pressing Shift+F9 forces a manual calculation for the current worksheet. This functionality is especially handy if you've disabled Excel's automatic-calculation feature so that you can speed up your work on large or linked worksheets.

4. F11—Creating charts with Excel data is another common task that I perform. Although the Chart Wizard is easy to use, you can press F11 to automatically create a simple chart that uses data from the currently selected cell range. The F11 key creates a bar chart in which the values in the leftmost cells are the basis for the chart.

3. Shift+Spacebar—Pressing Shift+Spacebar selects the current row. After you select the row, you can right-click it to cut, copy, delete, format, or hide the row.

2. Ctrl+Spacebar—Pressing Ctrl+Spacebar quickly selects the current column. After you select the column, you can right-click it to cut, copy, delete, format, or hide the column.

1. Ctrl+Shift+asterisk (*)—This key combination is probably the coolest Excel shortcut. Press Ctrl+Shift+* to automatically select a block of adjacent rows and columns. (Excel selects the block of cells adjacent to the current cursor position.) This functionality lets you quickly select ranges of data.