Use CTRL+Click to speed up your formula entry [Quick Tips]

Learn Excel - 13 comments

Sometimes we think there is very little we can improve in something and then we come across an idea that would change our perceptions. I have been writing excel formulas for such a long time that it was easier to remember when I first shaved than when I first wrote a formula. (may be, because of the razor-blade-thin-chin-trembling-hands experience)

Today I want to present a very interesting functionality in Excel that would save a lot of time when you are entering formulas in spreadsheets.

If we have 5 cells and we want to CONCATENATE all the text in them to one cell, we would usually write =CONCATENATE( and then start typing addresses of each cell one by one. But there is a faster and simpler way to do this. You can just hold the CTRL key down and select all the five cells one after another and excel will neatly type the references for you and include a comma to separate them. See this:

Use CTRL+Click to speed up your formula entry - Demo

You can also use the same technique for speeding up formula entry for other multi-argument formulas like VLOOKUP, MATCH etc. Just select the cells corresponding to each parameter in that order while holding the CTRL key down.

Read more quick tips and save a ton of time and impress everyone.


Hello Awesome...

My name is Chandoo. Thanks for dropping by. My mission is to make you awesome in Excel & your work. I live in Wellington, New Zealand. When I am not F9ing my formulas, I cycle, cook or play lego with my kids. Know more about me.

I hope you enjoyed this article. Visit Excel for Beginner or Advanced Excel pages to learn more or join my online video class to master Excel.

Thank you and see you around.

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13 Responses to “Use CTRL+Click to speed up your formula entry [Quick Tips]”

  1. Jeff Weir says:

    Another fine tip that I didn't know! With great tips like that, and nice clean webpage, you should write an ebook and link to it. Noone could complain 🙂

  2. David Hager says:

    Great tip! I have a project I am working on right now that will benefit from this information.

  3. Nimesh says:

    Great Tip indeed. Did not knew about this one earlier 🙂
    Thanks Chandoo.

  4. Abdul Kader says:

    Very cool tip, may be I am missing something because no space between words

  5. Abdul Kader says:

    I solved the space issue by adding space in cell
    Thanks again

  6. Oscar says:

    I didn't know about this either, great tip!

  7. Rick Rothstein (MVP - Excel) says:

    It appears you can use this trick in combination with Excel's normal drag method of entering ranges into formula as well. For example, if you wanted to create this formula...


    You could type "=SUM(" into the Formula Bar (without the quotes, of course), click into C3 and drag until you hit E6, then Control+Click into H3, release the Control key and drag until you hit J6, then finish off by typing the closing parenthesis.

  8. Bhavesh says:

    how to record sales or purchase invoices in excel ?

  9. [...] Quick formulas with the CTRL key April 17, 2010 at 9:45 AM | In General | Leave a Comment Tags: click, ctrl, mouse, ui Here’s a wonderful tip about Ctrl-clicking to create formulas. [...]

  10. batGnat says:

    I find it hard to believe that so many have not been using this. I cant remember not using this method.

    If you didn't know that you might also like to know that you can do it editing a formula aswell, highlight a range text of the formula, and select a new cell and it will replace the old range with the new...

  11. Alex Kerin says:

    Embarrassingly, I don't know the shortcut to choose the formula that Excel is suggesting as you begin to type..

  12. Rick Rothstein (MVP - Excel) says:

    @Alex Kerin... If I understand your question correctly, try using the Tab key.

  13. atul satija says:

    how to measure the typing speed in excel format control without vba

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