Critical Keyboard Shortcuts You Need to Know

Vidya Gopinath for keySkillsetVidya Gopinath for keySkillset
Vidya Gopinath for keySkillset
Critical Keyboard Shortcuts You Need to Know


Handling data, creating a discounted cash flow, or creating an enterprise deck for presentation can be a time-consuming and tedious process. Microsoft estimates the loss from poor PowerPoint presentations at $250 million per day. At the same time, software skills like Excel, PowerPoint, or Python coding are no longer just a cool thing to have, but a necessity if you are seeking a promotion or a leadership position.

Here we present to you some Microsoft Excel Shortcuts or keyboard hacks for Financial modeling, Python coding or PowerPoint and much more. These are important keyboard shortcuts that you should know. These keyboard shortcuts can make you more productive by increasing your speed and efficiency. 

Shortcuts beyond Ctrl + X and Ctrl +V 

Why take your hand off the keyboard to reach for the mouse when you can be more productive without it? Keyboard shortcut combinations can be used more quickly. Everyone knows the Ctrl + X for “cut”, the Ctrl + V for “paste” and the copy shortcut key. Here, we will walk you through some shortcuts that you should be using. 

Now, imagine you have this long article to read, or you are editing a quarterly report and you are searching for the word “keyboard shortcut”, the best hack to use is Ctrl + F. This helps you to search for a specific text string in any program that involves reading. See the screenshot below for an example:

This simple hack just makes life easier for editors, looking to replace or correct a particular word in any document. If the string appears more than once in the document, the reader can hit F3 to jump from one instance to the next.

In the next scenario, let us imagine that you want to select the rows in an Excel sheet, blocks in a Word document, files in a File explorer. Here, you want to highlight the “n” number of different items. Now, imagine all these items are in adjacent rows from 10 to 30 in a worksheet. In this, you will have to Shift + Click the first one, hold down the Shift key and then click the last one.

In the screenshot below, data in adjacent cells are selected horizontally. 

Nevertheless, when you want to choose two or more non-adjacent items at the same time, you will have to hold down Ctrl and click all the items that you want to select. (If you click without Ctrl being pressed down, you'll lose all the previous selections.).

Besides these, without going too much into details, I will introduce you to a few other shortcut keys. Ctrl + A  is for Select All, while by just clicking Windows Key + M, you can minimize all your windows to see what’s on your desktop. Ctrl + D also enables you to bookmark a webpage. 

These are just some basic keyboard shortcuts that we use across Word or any other document. Now, I would like to show you some categorized Excel hotkeys, or shortcuts used for Powerpoint, Financial Modeling or Python coding.

Here’s How to Use Excel like a Pro on a Windows Laptop 

Meanwhile, when you have mastered the basics of Excel, making charts and organizing data will be so simple.  Let’s see here how to go about this and master the Excel shortcuts and formulas. 

  1. Shift + Arrows is the best way to select a cell range 
  2. Ctrl + Shift + Arrows to highlight a contiguous range of cells 
  3. Shift + Pgup or Pgdn to shift the selection up or down one screen 
  4. Ctrl + D to fill down data from the cell above 
  5. Click F2 to active edit mode(edit the active cell) 
  6. Alt + Enter helps to insert line break within the cell
  7. ALT h 0 is to increase decimal while ALT h 9 is for decrease decimal 
  8. Alt n v to insert a pivot table
  9. Alt w f f to freeze pane 
  10.  Alt a t is autofilter selection 

Meanwhile for details on the Excel shortcuts and formulas that you need to know, check out:

Excel Hotkeys for Financial Modeling

Meanwhile, Excel is also used a lot in Financial modeling. Here, let’s see some Microsoft Excel shortcuts for Financial modeling, as well. You would wish you had known these hacks earlier. 

You are already aware that to navigate around a workbook without a mouse, you can use the arrow keys.

In financial models, there is a need to copy over formulas without overriding the formatting in current cells. For this, follow the regular copy and paste method with just one change: Ctrl + C to copy, then Ctrl + Alt + V for Paste Special. In this screenshot below, you can see the popup then comes when you click Ctrl + Alt + V. 

Now, when you are working with a massive amount of data, it is possible that the files would close down unexpectedly and errors can happen at any time. So, knowing the shortcut Ctrl + S to save the file can come in really handy. Whenever you work on a file, save it in between to avoid such errors. To replicate a command in an Excel sheet you can also use the F4 key.

In the meantime, you can quickly copy the financial data into Excel by moving the spreadsheet to the left side of the screen (or to your left monitor if you are using a second monitor) by clicking WINDOWS + left arrow.

Then move your financial report to the right side of your screen by clicking WINDOWS + right arrow. When you have split your screen so that you can see your Excel spreadsheet and your financial report at the same time, click Alt + Tab to switch between the two.

You can also know more about Financial modeling tricks here. 

Learn the Keyboard Shortcuts for Python Coding 

Meanwhile, Python coding also brings some top hacks that Python learners can master. These shortcuts on a need to know basis for Python are:

Here are also some techniques for shortening and tightening the Python codes. Check the list below: 

  • Use Python line continuation as needed.
  • Use for loops intelligently.
  • Understand combined operator assignment (+= etc.).
  • Use multiple assignments.
  • Use tuple assignment.
  • Use advanced tuple assignment.
  • Use list and string “multiplication.”
  • Return multiple values.
  • Use loops and the else keyword.
  • Take advantage of Booleans and not.
  • Treat strings as lists of characters.
  • Eliminate characters by using replace.
  • Don’t write unnecessary loops.
  • Use chained comparisons.
  • Simulate “switch” with a table of functions.
  • Use the is operator correctly.
  • Use one-line for loops.
  • Squeeze multiple statements onto a line.
  • Write one-line if/then/else statements.
  • Create Enum values with range.
  • Reduce the inefficiency of the print function within IDLE.
  • Place underscores inside large numbers.

Shortcuts for PowerPoint Proficiency 

PowerPoint presentations are very popular, and almost everyone may be familiar with it. But, how many are aware of the hacks/ shortcuts that can speed up their process of creating presentations and corporate decks without hindering their productivity? 

These shortcuts will help you navigate through PowerPoint slides or edit/ format them more easily. Check out here: 

  • Ctrl + A – Select all the objects on an active slide
  • Tab – Select or move on to the next object on a slide
  • Shift + Tab – Select or move to a previous object on a slide
  • Home – Go back to the beginning of the slide
  • End – Go to the end of the slide
  • PgDn – Go to the next slide
  • PgUp – Go the previous slide
  • Ctrl + Up / Down Arrow – Move a slide up or down in the presentation document (you will need to click on a slide thumbnail before performing this shortcut)
  • Ctrl + Shift + Up / Down Arrow – Move a slide to the beginning or end of your presentation document (click on a slide thumbnail first)
  • Ctrl + X – Cut the selected text, object, or slide
  • Ctrl + C or Ctrl + Insert – Copy the selected text, object, or selected slide
  • Ctrl + V or Shift + Insert – Paste the selected text, object, or slide
  • Ctrl + Alt + V – Open the Paste Special dialog box
  • Delete – Delete the selected text, object, or slide
  • Ctrl + B – Toggle bold on the selected text
  • Ctrl + I – Toggle italics on the selected text
  • Ctrl + U – Add or remove underline to selected text
  • Ctrl + E – Centre align the selected text
  • Ctrl + J – Justify the selected text
  • Ctrl + L – Left align the selected text
  • Ctrl + R – Right align the selected text
  • Ctrl + T – Display the Font dialog box after text or object is selected
  • Ctrl + K – Insert a hyperlink
  • Ctrl + M – Insert a new slide
  • Ctrl + D – Duplicate the selected object or a slide (for selecting a slide, you will first need to click on a slide thumbnail)


Knowing these hacks and practicing them is entirely different. Every time that you practice these hacks/ shortcuts you are increasing the time limit that you will retain in your memory. This improves your speed and efficiency in using these tools. This is why keySkillset’s simulated learning process with spaced repetition of its mouse free techniques is useful to increase your productivity at work. 

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