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Customise Your Keyboard Shortcuts in Excel for Mac

25 October 2018

Slowly but surely, Excel for Mac comes into the light. Another step in the right direction has just been made with the advent of the ‘Customize Keyboard’ feature. To get this update, go to Help > Check for Updates, and update to version 16.18 or better.

With this feature installed, you may now assign your own key combinations to many commands within Excel. Just go to the ‘Tools’ menu and choose ‘Customize Keyboard’. Pick the category of command you’re trying to find and then search or browse for the command in the list. Select a command, press a key combination and see if it’s used already. If it’s already in use, you may want to pick a different combination. Once chosen, just click the ‘Add’ button to assign the key combination to the selected command.

Specifically, to create a keyboard shortcut in Excel for Mac:

  • on the ‘Tools’ menu, click ‘Customize Keyboard’
  • in the ‘Categories’ list, click a tab name
  • in the ‘Commands’ list, click the command that you want to assign a keyboard shortcut to
  • any keyboard shortcuts that are currently assigned to the selected command will appear in the ‘Current keys’ box
  • if you prefer to use a different keyboard shortcut, add another shortcut to the list and then use it instead
  • in the ‘Press new keyboard shortcut’ box, type a key combination that includes at least one modifier key (e.g. CONTROL, OPTION, SHIFT or that squiggly symbol) and an additional key, such as SHIFT + F11
  • if you type a keyboard shortcut that is already assigned, the action assigned to that key combination appears next to ‘Currently assigned to’
  • click ‘Add’
  • to cancel the keyboard shortcut assignment, simply press ‘ESC’.

To delete a custom keyboard shortcut, note that you may only delete keyboard shortcuts that you created – you cannot delete the default keyboard shortcuts for Excel. The steps are as follows:

  • on the ‘Tools’ menu, click ‘Customize Keyboard’
  • in the ‘Categories’ list, click a tab name
  • in the ‘Commands’ list, click the command that you want to delete a keyboard shortcut from
  • in the ‘Current keys’ box, click the keyboard shortcut that you want to delete and then click ‘Remove’
  • if the ‘Remove’ button appears greyed out, then the selected keyboard shortcut is a default keyboard shortcut and therefore it cannot be deleted.

If you stuff it all up, you can’t do any real damage as you may simply reset all keyboard shortcuts as follows:

  • on the ‘Tools’ menu, click ‘Customize Keyboard’
  • to restore keyboard shortcuts to their original state, click ‘Reset All’.

Finally, it should be noted that the keyboard shortcut descriptions refer to the US keyboard layout. Keys on other keyboard layouts might not correspond to the keys on a US keyboard. Keyboard shortcuts for laptop computers might also differ. But hey, it’s getting there!