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Excel Data Entry Tips

Enter Excel data quickly with Excel keyboard shortcuts and Excel mouse shortcuts. Enter dates and times that will update automatically, or remain locked, and more Excel data entry tips

Copy Data to Adjacent Cells

Data Entry Shortcuts

In the sections below, you'll find time-saving Microsoft Excel shortcuts to use when you're entering data.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Date and Time

Use a shortcut key to quickly enter the date or time in your spreadsheet:

  • Enter the current Date:  Ctrl + ;
  • Enter the current Time:  Ctrl + Shift + ;

Watch this short video to see the keyboard shortcuts for entering dates and times in a worksheet.

Enter Data in Multiple Cells

  1. Select all the cells in which you want to enter the same value or formula
  2. Type the value or formula in the active cell
  3. Enter Data in Multiple Cells

  4. Hold the Ctrl key and press Enter

Copy to Adjacent Cells

  1. Select the range, starting with the cell that contains the data to be copied
  2. Use a shortcut key to fill right or down:
    • Copy Value from cell above:  Ctrl + Shift + '
    • Copy Formula (exact) from cell above:  Ctrl + '
    • Copy Formula (relational reference) from cell above:  Ctrl + D
    • Fill Right -- Ctrl + R
    • Fill Down -- Ctrl + D

Copy Data to Adjacent Cells

Excel Quick Data Entry Tricks

See 3 quick Excel trick in this short video, to enter grand totals, create an instant chart, and use AutoFill or Flash Fill for speedy data entry.

Mouse Shortcuts

Use these mouse shortcuts to quickly fill adjacent cells. Also, see the mouse double-click shortcuts, for other timesaving tips.

Copy Data to Adjacent Cells

Point to the bottom right corner of the selected cell, and drag, to quickly fill adjacent cells.

  1. Select the cell that contains the data to be copied
  2. Point to the Fill Handle -- the black square at the lower right of the selection

    Point to the Fill Handle

  3. When the pointer changes to a black plus sign, press the Left mouse button, and drag left, right, up or down, across one or more cells.

    drag left, right, up or down

  4. When finished, release the mouse button.

Copy to Adjacent Cells -- with options

Instead of pressing the left mouse button, use the Right mouse button to see options when filling cells.

  1. Select the cell that contains the data to be copied
  2. Point to the Fill Handle -- the black square at the lower right of the selection
  3. When the pointer changes to a black plus sign, press the Right mouse button, and drag left, right, up or down, across one or more cells.
  4. When finished, release the mouse button.
  5. Select one of the options from the shortcut menu

Copy to Adjacent Cells -- with options

Watch this Excel Quick Tips Video for creating a list of dates that are a week apart.

Video: Clear Data Entry Cells

In Excel, you can use a built-in command to quickly select all the cells with data typed into them, and ignore the cells with formulas. Then, after you select the data cells, use the keyboard or a Ribbon command to clear the cells.

Watch this short video to see the steps.

Quickly Change Formulas to Values

To quickly change formulas into values, you can use this mouse shortcut, shown in the video below. The written instructions are below the video.

To change formulas to their values, follow these steps:

  1. Select the cells with the formulas that you want to change to values.
  2. Point to the border of the selected range, and the pointer should change to a four-headed arrow.
  3. Press the right mouse button, and drag the cells slightly to the right.
  4. Keep pressing the right mouse button, and drag the cells back to their original location.
  5. Release the right mouse button and a shortcut menu will appear.
  6. Click on Copy Here as Values Only.

Video: Add Bullets to Cell or Text Box

There's no built-in bullet for cells, but this video shows how you can add a bullet to a cell with a keyboard shortcut (using numbers on the number keypad) -- press Alt + 0149 or Alt + 7. For an open circle bullet, use Alt + 9

In a Text Box, it's easier to add bullets to a list -- right-click on the text, and click Bullets, in the popup menu. Click this link to get more Text Box formatting tips.

Add Degree Symbol to Cell

If you're typing numbers that are temperatures, there's no built-in number format that applies a degree symbol. Instead, you can use a custom number format, to automatically add a degree symbol after each number.

Custom Number Format

If you're entering temperatures in Excel, you can format the cells to show the degree symbol.

Follow these steps if your computer keyboard has a number keypad, at the right side of the keyboard.

  1. Select the cells that should have degree symbols
  2. Press Ctrl+1, to open the Format Cells window
  3. In the Category list, click Custom
  4. In the Type box, enter 0.0
  5. Next, press the Alt key, and on the number keypad, type: 0176
  6. Optional: Type a C or F, to show the measurement system
  7. Click OK, to apply the custom number format

Note: There are more Custom Number Format examples on the Rounding functions page

format with degree symbol

Enter Degree Symbol Without Number Keypad

Thanks to Alex Blakenburg, who sent these instructions. See more of Alex's Excel tips and sample files.

If you don't have a number keypad, try this alternate method to enter a degree symbol.

  • On the keyboard, press the Windows key, and then tap the period key
  • When the Emoji window opens, click the Symbol icon at top
  • At the bottom, click the General Punction icon
  • Scroll down about half way, to find the degree symbols
  • Click the plain degree symbol, or the symbol with C or F

Then, return to Add Degree Symbol to Cell steps above, from Step 6, to complete the custom number format.

format with degree symbol

Quick Pick From List

This quick data entry trick works best in a table where you already have quite a few entries. To see the trick, watch this short video. The written instructions are below the video, and you can get the sample file, to follow along with the video.

Quick Pick from List

Here's an example of how I use the quick pick trick. Every day I enter weather info in a worksheet, with the high temperature, and a short description.

Instead of typing out the description, I type the first letter or two in the cell, then right-click on it (while still in the cell). In the pop-up list, click on Pick From Drop-down List

  • TIP: To use a keyboard shortcut, right-click in the cell after typing a letter or two, then press the Alt key, and tap the Down Arrow key.

Pick From Drop-down List

A list appears, with all the items previously entered in the active column, in alphabetical order. It selects the first item that starts with the letters that you typed -- a real time-saver!

Scroll up or down, if necessary, to find the item that you want, and click on it to put it into the cell.

Select an item in the drop down list

You can even use this trick in cells that have a Data Validation (DV) drop down list. It's handy if there's a long list of items, and you want something near the end of the list.

NOTE: In a cell with a DV drop down, unless you type a letter or two, the Alt+ Down Arrow shortcut will open the Data Validation list. In other cells, it will open the "Quick Pick" list.

Get the Sample File

Pick From List: Get the Quick Pick from List sample file, to follow along with the video. The zipped file is in xlsx format, and does not contain any macros.

More Tutorials

Insert Rows

Data Entry Form, Built-In

Text Box Formatting Tips

Paste, Skip Blanks

Copy Number Cells Only

Fix Copy & Paste Problems

Line Breaks, Add, Remove

Fill Blank Cells

AutoFill Examples

Excel Shortcuts List

Add Number to Multiple Cells

 

 

Last updated: April 2, 2024 10:43 AM