Did you know there are some great Excel shortcuts that help you jump around a spreadsheet?

“Ctrl” then left square bracket “[” (all at the same time)

If you’ve got a link in a spreadsheet it’s really easy to see the cell reference in the formula bar (as per the example in the picture below). But when tracing through a big Excel model it’s going to take you a while to navigate to all the different cell references you have. You can jump straight to an Excel cell reference really quickly by pressing “Ctrl [” (left square bracket) all at the same time.

Excel cell reference example

What about a more complicated cell formula?

For a more complicated cell formula the “Ctrl [” shortcut will take you to the first cell reference it sees. To make the shortcut as effective as possible, you might want to develop the habit of constructing your formulas placing the furthest-away cell reference first. The near cell references you can navigate to quickly manually. “Ctrl [” will then take you to the furthest-away cell reference.

Construct a formula with the furthest away cell reference first

If you see someone constructing their models like this (placing the furthest-away cell reference first in the formula) you’ll know why now: they want to give themselves the ability to use “Ctrl [“. You’ll also appreciate that you’re in the presence of a true financial modelling master!

“F5” followed by “Enter” to jump back

Once you’ve used “Ctrl [” to trace your cell reference, you can press “F5”. Don’t bother looking at what pops up on screen. Next just press “Enter”. That will take you straight back to where you started.

F5 enter to jump back in an Excel model

Jumping around an Excel model

“Ctrl [” (at the same time) followed by “F5” then “enter” (one at a time) can be really handy for jumping backwards and forwards in a model. If you’re trying to trace through a large model, you might find yourself using these shortcuts all day!

The best Excel shortcuts

Excel comes loaded with hundreds of keyboard shortcuts. The good news is you don’t have to learn them all. We think you can do most of your financial modelling with just a few tens. We’ve prepared a list of our favourites for you here: the best Excel shortcuts.

Read more

You’re reading stories from Financial Training Associates Ltd, the company that runs courses for people who fancy becoming Excel modelling masters.

Read more