People are rapidly switching to touch-based interfaces these days, but a keyboard is absolutely necessary for some types of work. If you are using Microsoft Excel for heavy number computing, there is no doubt that a good keyboard is not an optional extra.
However, it is not just an ideal data entry device. Your keyboard can really turn you into Excel Kung Fu masters, making you faster and more efficient. How? With keyboard shortcuts.
The real pros for the application have always been those who memorized the most important keyboard shortcuts, so they can work with this application like an experienced musician. Excel is no different, and once you know the most common keyboard shortcuts for your typical use case, you can count on things to run much faster.
Every Excel user should adjust the row height and column width. This means that if you are going to start the journey of the Excel keyboard warrior, using a keyboard shortcut to adjust the row height or column width in Excel is the perfect place to start.
ALT Key Magic
The main reason most users don’t bother learning keyboard shortcuts is because traditionally they have to be learned by heart. This is probably why watching a power user using keyboard shortcuts happily attack a table might seem like voodoo.
Microsoft has completely eliminated this problem with just one small button – ALT.
We are using Excel 365, and as you can see, there are numerous tooltips that appear when pressing the ALT button. Each one represents the next letter that you can press to access the corresponding function. So you don’t have to worry at all about remembering these shortcuts exactly. After you’ve practiced them a few times, these hints will always remind you of what to do next.
All you need to know right now is that every keyboard shortcut for Excel starts with a simple press of the ALT key.
AutoFit Column Width
The classic way to automatically adjust the column width using the mouse is to double-click the border of the column header, but you can actually do this using the keyboard, which is generally faster.
Obviously you need to select the cell for which you want to automatically adjust the column width. Once you’ve done that, here’s the fastest way to change the column width. The problem is there is too much text for the column width. Let’s fix it!
- First press ALT to put Excel into Quick Access mode. Then press the H key to go to the Home tab.
- Finally, press O and then I.
Pretty simple, right? We can do something similar for the line height too!
AutoFit Row Height
The method for automatically adjusting the line height using the keyboard is almost identical. In fact, the keyboard shortcut for row height in Excel differs with just one keystroke.
- First press ALT to put Excel into shortcut mode. Then press the H key to go to the Home tab.
- Finally press O then A.
This will adjust the row height to fit the tallest cell in the row. The work is done!
Manually Row Height and Column Width Adjustment shortcuts
While the keyboard shortcuts for auto-adjusting cells are incredibly useful, sometimes you need to adjust the exact sizes of the cells in your spreadsheet.
As you would expect, you can use keyboard shortcuts to access options that display the corresponding numbers.
- To manually adjust the row height, press ALT to put Excel into shortcut mode. Then press O to access the legacy Excel 365 menu options.
- Now press R and then E.
- You will see a popup dialog with the current height value. Change it to whatever you like and press Enter to block it.
- To manually adjust the column width, press ALT to put Excel into Quick Access mode. Then press the O key to access the legacy Excel 365 menu options.
- Now press C and then W.
- Again, you will get this little window where you can specify your desired column width. Choose the room that will make you warm and foggy inside.
This is it! You are now a true master of the height and width of your cells. Without a mouse, armed only with a keyboard as a weapon.
Fastest Excel Hexagon in the West
Having tried these keyboard shortcuts yourself, you’ll probably agree that using the mouse is both literal and portable drag and drop. Sure, it seems easier, but with a little muscle memory, you can adjust the row height and column width at any time to suit your exact requirements. When you walk over the keyboard, it’s hard to turn back.
Be sure to check out our other Excel guides for other useful keyboard shortcuts and amazing Excel tips and tricks that you don’t know how you lived without.