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Excel Worksheet Navigation Tricks

 

If you work with large Excel spreadsheets with numerous worksheet tabs, then you've likely experienced "the blur" when you find yourself pushing tabs back and forth across the bottom of the screen until you land where you need to be. These repeated actions can make it difficult to stay focused on your work, but there are some simple tricks that help you move around in an Excel workbook more efficiently.

The first technique is a pair of keyboard shortcuts:

• Ctrl-Page Down moves you one worksheet to the right.

• Ctrl-Page Up moves you one worksheet to the left.

In either case you can hold down the Ctrl key while you press Page Down or Up repeatedly. You'll move one worksheet to the right or left, respectively until you reach the first worksheet or last in your workbook. After a period time this behavior can become second nature, and is much more effective than using the arrows in the bottom left-hand corner of Excel to shift the worksheet tabs across the screen until the worksheet you need shifts into view.

With that said, the navigation arrows also have an alternate use. Up through Excel 2010 it was somewhat of a state secret in Excel that a navigation menu would appear if you right-clicked on those arrows. Excel 2013 and later display a helpful tip that appears when you hover your cursor over the arrows. In those versions of Excel right-clicking the arrows displays an Activate dialog box that allows you to see a listing of every worksheet in your workbook. You can then double-click on the name of the desired worksheet to skip the OK button. Alternatively you can navigate within the list by typing the first letter of the desired sheet name, and then press Enter. If you have several sheets that start with the same letter, such as Quarter 1, Quarter 2, and so on, keep pressing the letter until the sheet you need is selected.

In Excel 2010 and earlier you'll first see a menu that displays up to the first 15 sheets in your workbook. Once the menu appears you can use your arrow keys to move up and down the list and then press Enter to activate a sheet. A More Sheets command will appear when needed which then displays the Activate dialog box.

 
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