Microsoft Excel has a lot of moving parts, and it’s helpful to be familiar with formatting commands. For this week’s tip, let’s look at some useful Excel formatting shortcuts.


Perhaps the most basic Excel formatting of all, it can help to distinguish between your data to have different values aligned to the cell in different ways. Of course, there are keyboard shortcuts for each.

  • • To center the value within the cell, press Alt+H+A+C.
  • • To align the value within the cell to the left, press Alt+H+A+L.
  • • To align the value within the cell to the right, press Alt+H+A+R.

Specific Formatting

Oftentimes, the contents of your spreadsheet will require certain formatting in order to properly communicate their significance. You can assign this formatting for different data types with the following shortcuts:

  • • To return your value to general formatting, press Ctrl+Shift+~.
  • • To indicate that a value refers to currency, press Ctrl+Shift+$.
  • • To format a value as a percentage, press Ctrl+Shift+%.
  • • To properly format a date, press Ctrl+Shift+#.
  • • To format a value in scientific terms, press Ctrl+Shift+^.
  • • To ensure that a number is properly formatted, press Ctrl+Shift+!.
  • • To properly format time, press Ctrl+Shift+@.

Applying Borders

Borders can come in handy on a spreadsheet, as they give the differences between values more pronunciation. Use the following shortcuts to apply borders to a selected cell:

  • • To cut to the chase and apply a border to all of a cell’s edges, press Ctrl+Shift+A.
  • • To only add a borderline to the right edge of a cell, press Alt+R.
  • • To add a border to the left edge of a cell, press Alt+L.
  • • To put a border on the top edge of a cell, press Alt+T.
  • • To apply a border to the bottom edge of a cell, press Alt+B.
  • • To easily remove the borders from a cell, press Ctrl+Shift+_.


Okay, maybe this is the most basic Excel formatting, as these formatting needs can appear in essentially every Microsoft document you create, including your spreadsheets. These shortcuts should seem very familiar:

  • • To have your data appear in a bold font, press Ctrl+B.
  • • To type in italics, press Ctrl+I.
  • • To underline the contents of a cell, press Ctrl+U.
  • • To strikethrough the contents of a cell, press Ctrl+S.

We hope that this list comes in handy. We suggest printing it out so it can be easily accessible when needed. Are there any other programs that you’d like to know more shortcuts to? Leave a few suggestions in the comments!

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