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Excel shortcuts on the Mac - key differences

Video Transcript 

In this video, we'll talk about using Excel shortcuts on the Mac.

In general, Excel shortcuts on the Mac are more similar than different from Windows shortcuts. But it may not feel that way, especially if you come from a Windows background.

Here are the 5 key differences you need to be aware of.

First, many shortcut keys on the Mac are often abbreviated as symbols. Here's a list of those symbols and the keys they represent.

On a Mac, you'll see these symbols in menus across all applications, so they're not specific to Excel.

Second, function keys behave differently on a Mac.

Function keys sit at the top of the keyboard and are labeled F1 to F12 on standard keyboards and F1 to F15 on extended keyboards. 

By default, Function keys on a Mac control the computer itself, things like screen brightness, volume, video pause and play, and so on.

To make function keys operate as you expect in Excel, you need to hold the function or fn key. You'll find this key in the lower left on your keyboard.

So, for example, to use the F9 key to evaluate a formula, you'll need to use fn + F9

You can actually change this behavior, by unchecking a checkbox under System Preferences.

But, if you do this, you won't be able to use function keys for things like Brightness, unless you hold down the fn key.

Personally, I like using the function keys to control the computer, so I leave this setting alone, and just the fn key when needed in Excel.

A third difference on Macs is that certain keys like Home, End, backspace, page up, and page down, and so on, are missing, unless you're using an extended keyboard.

This can make certain shortcuts seem complicated on a Mac, because you need to use substitutions for these keys. But, once you understand the substitutions, the shortcut make more sense.

If you're using an extended keyboard on a Mac, you don't need to worry about this.

The forth difference on Macs is the lack of ribbon shortcuts. Ribbon shortcuts on Windows are based on so called accelerator keys, and always begin with Alt. There is no equivalent on the Mac.

Finally, the fifth difference on a Mac is that some Excel shortcuts are just different.

For example, the shortcut for Edit Cell, in Windows is F2 and on a Mac, it's Control + U.

The shortcut to toggle absolute and relative references is F4 in Windows, and Command T on a Mac.

For a complete list of shortcuts, see our side-by-side list on the Exceljet website.

One last note: with the introduction of Excel 2016 on the Mac, Microsoft has started to adjust Mac shortcuts to be more in line with Windows.

We'll have a complete list of changes on the Exceljet website.

Dave Bruns
Thank you, and thank you so very much for your videos, they are sooooo helpful. - Elizabeth
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