Spreadsheet Day – 17th October

Spreadsheet Day 17 October

Hey!  It’s Spreadsheet Day!  Woop Woop!

I’m not even kidding, this is a real thing.  Just google it and you will see.   On 17 October 1979 the first spreadsheet program, Visicalc, became available for on the Apple II computer. This is what it looked like back then (image from Wikipedia)


Whilst a lot has changed since then, at its heart all spreadsheets are about making life just a little simpler by organizing data into rows and columns.

As Excel geeks, I think we should celebrate Spreadsheet day.  Without Viscalc who knows where we would be.  I’m not going to over complicate things with VBA code examples, instead, lets get back to basics. In a Brainscape blog post from a few years back, it was estimated that you could be wasting 64 hours (that’s 8 working days!) per year by not using keyboard shortcuts.  So, with that in mind, here are a few of my favorite Excel shortcuts which I use every day.

Formula Magic with Dynamic Arrays

Of all the features available in Excel dynamic arrays provide the most power for the smallest time investment.  Yet most Excel users do not even know what they are.

Have you ever faced these spreadsheet scenarios?

  • How can I use VLOOKUP to return all the matching items, not just the first?
  • How can I sort my information using a formula, so I don’t have to keep clicking the sort button?
  • How can I quickly create unique lists of items to use with my SUMIFS calculation?
  • How can I stop copying down formulas every time my source data changes.
  • How can I build a PivotTable-like report, but using formulas so I don’t have to click refresh ever again.

Well, I’m here to give you some good news. with dynamic arrays, all these can be achieved easily 🙂


Ctrl + 1 : Opens the Format window for whatever you’ve selected (cells, charts, shapes etc.)

Ctrl + B : Makes the text in the cell bold

Ctrl + I : Makes the text in the cell italic

Ctrl + U : Underlines the text is the cell

Ctrl + 0 : Hide columns

Ctrl + 9 : Hide rows

Ctrl + | : Toggle between showing values or formulas

Ctrl + S : Save the worksheet

F2 : Edit the active cell

F4 : Repeat the previous action

Ctrl + Shift + + : Insert a new row/column

Ctrl + – : Delete the selected row or column

Ctrl + C : Copy

Ctrl + V : Paste

Ctrl + Z : Undo

Ctrl + Y : Redo the undo

Ctrl + Shift + $ : Apply currency formatting

Ctrl + Shift + % : Apply percentage formatting

Quick Access Toolbar

Don’t forget that you can create your own keyboard shortcuts by using your Quick Access Toolbar.  Pressing the Alt key will give the buttons on the Quick Access Toolbar a number.  Press that number and Ta-Dah! You’ve now got your own customized shortcuts.

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Don’t forget:

If you’ve found this post useful, or if you have a better approach, then please leave a comment below.

Do you need help adapting this to your needs?

I’m guessing the examples in this post didn’t exactly meet your situation.  We all use Excel differently, so it’s impossible to write a post that will meet everybody’s needs.  By taking the time to understand the techniques and principles in this post (and elsewhere on this site) you should be able to adapt it to your needs.

But, if you’re still struggling you should:

  1. Read other blogs, or watch YouTube videos on the same topic.  You will benefit much more by discovering your own solutions.
  2. Ask the ‘Excel Ninja’ in your office.  It’s amazing what things other people know.
  3. Ask a question in a forum like Mr Excel, or the Microsoft Answers Community.  Remember, the people on these forums are generally giving their time for free.  So take care to craft your question, make sure it’s clear and concise.  List all the things you’ve tried, and provide screenshots, code segments and example workbooks.
  4. Use Excel Rescue, who are my consultancy partner.   They help by providing solutions to smaller Excel problems.

What next?
Don’t go yet, there is plenty more to learn on Excel Off The Grid.  Check out the latest posts:

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