Save Time with These Great Excel Formatting Shortcuts

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated July 20, 2021

Applies to: Microsoft® Excel® 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365 (Windows)

You can save a lot of time in Excel using keyboard shortcuts for formatting. You'll need to select the cell range, rows or columns first so it's worthwhile to learn how to select quickly as well. For the number, date or time shortcuts, you'll need to use the number keys at the top of the keyboard (not in the numeric keypad) and we've listed both keys so, for example, Ctrl + Shift + 4 is also Ctrl + Shift + $.

Recommended article: 10 Timesaving Excel Selection Shortcuts

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1. Apply the currency format

Select the cell(s) and press Ctrl + Shift + $ or Ctrl + Shift + 4 to apply the currency format with two decimal places and a thousands separator (valid numbers must have been entered in the cells).

2. Apply the number format

Select the cell(s) and press Ctrl + Shift + ! or Ctrl + Shift + 1 to apply the number format with two decimal places and a thousands separator (valid numbers must have been entered in the cells).

3. Apply the percentage format

Select the cell(s) and press Ctrl + Shift + % or Ctrl + Shift + 5 to apply the percentage format with no decimal places (valid  numbers must have been entered in the cells).

4. Apply the general format

Select the cell(s) and press Ctrl + Shift + ~ (tilde) or Ctrl + Shift + ` (accent grave).

5. Apply the default date format

Select the cell(s) and press Ctrl + Shift + # or Ctrl + Shift + 3 to apply the date format with the day, month and year (valid dates must have been entered in the cells).

6. Apply the default time format

Select the cell(s) and press Ctrl + Shift + @ or Ctrl + Shift + 2 to apply the time format with the hour and minutes and AM or PM (valid times must have been entered in the cells).

7. Apply the scientific number format

Select the cell(s) and press Ctrl + Shift + ^ or Ctrl + Shift + 6 to apply the scientific number format with no decimal places  (valid numbers must have been entered in the cells).

8. Apply an outline border

Select the cell(s) and press Ctrl + Shift + 7 (this applies an outline border to the range not each cell).

9. Remove an outline border

Select the cell(s) and press Ctrl + Shift + minus sign (-). Be sure to select only the cells with the outline border.

10. Bold the selection

Select the cell(s) and press Ctrl + B.

11. Italicize the selection

Select the cell(s) and press Ctrl + I.

12. Underline the selection

Select the cell(s) and press Ctrl + U.

13. Strikethrough the selection

Select the cell(s) and press Ctrl + 5 (use the same shortcut to remove strikethrough).

14. Display the Format Cells dialog box

Select the cell(s) and press Ctrl + 1 or Ctrl + Shift + F.

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Check out these great Microsoft Excel keyboard shortcuts for formatting. You can apply currency, number, date and other formats using your keyboard.
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