Function Keys Shortcut In Microsoft Excel

In this article you’ll learn about:

  • Significance of Function keys in MS-Excel
  • Function keys in combination with modifier (Ctrl, Alt, Shift) keys
  • Key takeaways

Function keys act as predefined formulas in MS-Excel. These are easy shortcuts, which make our usage of MS-Excel effortless.

Fun Fact:

Before 1984, only 10 function keys were used (F1 to F10). Later, two more were added and now we have 12 function keys.

Let’s take a short tour on the significance of each Function Key and its usage.

F1 key:

Function key Usage
F1  “F1” is used for opening “Excel Help”. As you click on F1 key the excel help will get displayed. Here, you can ask the question / query in the search box & inbuilt excel help will help you with the related articles.
Alt+F1 If you use “Alt and F1” Keys together then it will insert a new chart in excel workbook. Excel will open the default chart, this can be customize as per user requirement to open column chart, bar chart or any other chart by default.
Ctrl + F1 To minimize or maximize the ribbon of excel we can use “Ctrl & F1” keys together. After minimizing the ribbon only tab names will get displayed on the ribbon.
Alt + Shift + F1 Pressing Alt + Shift + F1 keys together will insert a new worksheet into the active workbook in which you are currently working.
Ctrl + Shift + F1 It will hide ribbon & their commands. This will maximize excel window if it is restore mode.


a)   F1

  • Press F1 key on the keyboard
  • Excel help dialog box will appear, where we can take help regarding any Excel Query
  • Refer to the example

image 1


b)   Alt + F1

  • Select the data for which we want to insert the chart
  • Press the key Alt+F1
  • Column chart will get created on the same sheet

image 2


c)   Ctrl + F1

  • Press the key Ctrl+F1
  • Commands will get hide from the ribbon and only Main tabs will be visible

image 3


d)    Alt + Shift + F1

  • Press the key Alt+Shift+F1
  • New worksheet will get inserted

image 4


e)   Ctrl + Shift + F1:- Below are the steps to use Ctrl+Shift+F1

  • Open the worksheet
  • Press the key Ctrl+Shift+F1
  • Tabs and Commands both will get hide from ribbon



image 5


image 6


F2 Key:

Function key Usage
F2 To Edit in the cell we use F2 keys
Alt+F2 If you press “Alt + F2” keys together the “Save As” dialog box will get open for saving the excel file.
Ctrl + F2 Pressing CTRL + F2 keys will open Print options
Shift + F2 Using Shift + F2 keys together will insert comment in the active cell. You can also edit the existing comment by pressing Shift + F2 keys for selected cell.
Alt + Shift + F2 “Alt + Shift + F2” will save the active workbook, if not saved yet then it will open Save as dialog box.
Alt + Ctrl + Shift + F2 These keys will open the print option; same as “Ctrl + F2” keys.


a)   F2: In cell A1, we can directly make changes to the text by pressing F2 key.

Selected Cell:-

image 7
Edited Cell:-

image 8


Also if you want to restrict the editing directly in cells follow below steps:-

  • Click on File Menu
  • Select Options > select Advanced
  • In the Advanced Option, if you want to stop user from editing directly in excel cell then you can uncheck from the checkmark (Allow editing directly in cells) & if you want to allow editing the cell directly then make sure the checkmark is checked

image 9


Note: - F2 key can be used in Formula bar also to edit the content, if editing is stop directly.
b)   Alt + F2:

  • If you want to save as your document, press the key Alt+F2
  • Save as dialog box will open
  • Then you can save the file wherever required

image 10


c)   Ctrl + F2

  • If you want print a document, then press Ctrl+F2
  • Print option will appear
  • Where you can set the all criteria according to the requirement

image 11


d)   Shift + F2

  • Select the cell where you wish to insert the comment
  • Press key Shift+F2
  • Now you can enter comment in the box

image 12


e)   Alt + Shift + F2

  • If you have not saved workbook yet, by pressing this key “Save As” dialog box will open
  • Save the file at desired place

image 13


f)   Alt + Ctrl + Shift + F2

  • This key is also used for the print option
  • In the worksheet press the keys Alt + Ctrl + Shift + F2
  • Print option will appear
  • Where you can set the all criteria according to the requirement

image 14


F3 key:

Function key Usage
F3 “F3” key will help you to paste name of the list that are already created. F3 will not work if there is no such defined named range.
Ctrl + F3 Pressing “Ctrl + F3” keys together will open “Name Manager” dialog box refer below screenshot.
Shift + F3 “Shift + F3” keys will open Insert function window which you can insert any function of your choice.
Ctrl + Shift + F3 This will open the Create Names from Selection window & are used to create names from row or column labels. You can create names for the selected cells from 4 options i.e. from Top row, Left column, Bottom row or Right column. The creation of named range depends on user.


a)    F3: In Excel worksheet press the key F3

  • We can paste name of the list that are already created

image 15


Note: - F3 will not work if there is no such defined named range
b)   Ctrl+F3

  • Name Manager Dialog box appears

image 16


c)   Shift+F3:

  • If you want to insert function then press the key Shift+F3
  • Insert function Dialog box will appear

image 17
d)   Ctrl+Shift+F3

  • Select the range for which you want to create the name
  • Press the key Ctrl+Shift+F3
  • Create Names from Selection window will open

image 18


F4 Key:

Function key Usage
F4 “F4” key has two different functionalities: - 1st is References (absolute, relative & mixed reference) & 2nd is It repeats the last performed action. Though same can be achieved by using CTRL + Y keys
Alt+F4 Using “Alt + F4” keys will display save changes dialog box allowing you to save & then close or may be closing the file without saving or selecting Cancel key to do nothing.
Ctrl + F4 With “Ctrl & F4” keys you can close the current open workbook. It is similar to Close Window button on upper right corner of the window.
Shift + F4 With “Shift + F4” keys work similar to CTRL + F command.
Alt + Shift + F4 “Alt + Shift + F4” keys will work same as “Alt + F4” keys i.e. close the active excel file & thereby closing all excel workbooks.
Ctrl + Shift + F4 “Ctrl + Shift + F4” is similar to “Shift + F4” the difference is the earlier will from right to left. It will search the text or value or any character from right to left direction.
Alt + Ctrl + F4 “Alt + Ctrl + F4” keys work similar to “Alt + F4” keys thereby closing all the open excel files.
Alt + Ctrl + Shift + F4 “Alt + Ctrl + Shift + F4” keys closes all open excels i.e. these work similar to “Alt + F4” keys.


a)   F4: We can use F4 key in two different ways,below are the steps to use F4 key for reference:

  • In Excel we have entered formula and the references we want to make it absolute
  • Edit in the formula cell
  • Select the formula references which we want to freeze
  • And then press the key F4

image 19


Note: It repeats the last performed action also. Though same can be achieved by using CTRL + Y keys

e.g.: if you have bold the cell to whole row as your last action & you want to bold another row then you can use F4 key to repeat the last step.


b)   Alt + F4: We use Alt+F4 key to close the file, below are steps to use of it:-

  • Press the key Alt+F4.
  • Message box will appear for confirmation before closing the document.

image 20

Note: - File can be close without saving or selecting Cancel key to do nothing.


c)   Ctrl + F4: We use Ctrl+F4 key to close the file:

  • Press the key Ctrl+F4
  • Dialogue box will appear for confirmation before closing the document

image 21


Note: - This shortcut key will perform in the same way Alt+F4 key performs.


d)    Shift+ F4: We use Shift+F4 key to open the Find and Replace option:

  • When we want to find something in the sheet or when we want to replace something with other text then we use it
  • Press the key Sift+F4
  • Find and Replace dialog box will appear

image 22


Note: “Shift + F4” keys work similar to CTRL + F command.


e)    Alt + Shift + F4: We use Alt+Shift+F4 keys same as we use Alt+F4 keys.
f)    Ctrl + Shift + F4: We use Ctrl+Shift+F4 keys same as we use Shift+F4 keys. This can also be used as:

  • In Excel if we want find the last find text, Press Ctrl+Shift+F4.
  • Cell will get selected without opening the Find and replace dialog box.

g)    Alt + Ctrl + F4: “Alt + Ctrl + F4” keys work similar to “Alt + F4” keys,by closing all the open excel files.

h)   Alt + Ctrl + Shift + F4: “Alt + Ctrl + Shift + F4” keys closes all open Excel file i.e. these work similar to “Alt + F4” keys.


F5 Key:

Function key Usage
F5 “F5” key is used to display “Go To” dialog box; it will help you in viewing named range.
Ctrl + F5 This will restore windows size of the current excel workbook. When pressed again Ctrl + F5 will not do anything as the size of the window is already restore.
Shift + F5 “Shift + F5” keys will open the “Find and Replace” window.


  • F5: In Excel worksheet press the key F5.

image 23


  • To go to a particular cell; all you need to do is enter the cell say E3 in the Reference box & you will be taken at the particular cell

image 24


  • With Go To dialog box we can use Special button to explore all the available features like comments, constants, formulas, blanks, current region, current array, etc

image 25


a)   Ctrl + F5: If you want to restore the current window size

  • Just press the key Ctrl+F5
  • The size will get restore

b)   Shift + F5:- “Shift + F5” keys will open the “Find and Replace” window.
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  1. Digital Marketing

    What's up everyone, it's my first visit at this website, and article
    is in fact fruitful designed for me, keep up posting such content.

  2. This is good basic training.
    I use Excel 2003. Works for my needs.
    I spend 15 hours a day using it.
    My algebraic expressions utilize 25 pages.
    150 rows deep.

  3. In the article it says that CTRL-F4 acts the same as ALT-F4; there is a difference though. CTRL-F4 closes the file but leaves Excel running. ALT-F4 closes the file and closes Excel.

    Very nice summary of useful functions!

  4. Thanks for this list.
    I would add F12 = 'Save as'

    Some Function-shortcuts are duplicates of "better" shortcuts

    eg) 'insert worksheet'
    = Alt + i + w
    = Alt + Shift + F1

  5. Just to let everyone know:

    These are quicker shortcuts than some listed:

    CTRL+P to print

    CTRL+G to open 'go to' box

    CTRL+H to open 'find and replace' box

    CTRL+S to save

    Also, one I'm pretty surprised wasn't listed, but is a very important one which I use probably more than any other:

    CTRL+1 to open format cells dialog box

    • Hi Brian,

      Thanks for taking your valuable time for reading this article and commenting.

      The above tip is containing shortcuts and combinations for Function Keys. We have already made comprehensive guide "250 MS-Excel Window Shortcuts" & "150+ MS-Excel Shortcuts for MAC users" and these are already publicly available for all users.

      Kindly feel free to let us know in case you need any help to download them. 🙂

      Site Admin

  6. Liked few interesting first look, it was like i knew everything but when i gone through, i realized...lots to learn..heheh..

    thanks for excellent list of function keys..:)

  7. There are a little people that are familiar with the Microsoft Excel, or me these keys are really the keys that are neccessary for my job, for the writers that is great as everthing demands a great control.

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