Excel Keyboard – Is Using the Arrow Keys and Shortcuts Better than Using the Mouse?

The answer is: it depends; it is better to use Excel Keyboard in some situations and not so good in others.

Here you have a review of various circumstances:

Excel Keyboard is Better in Some Situations

Using the keyboard is better because you…

  • Perform less manual hits, for example:
    • Press F4 to repeat the last command
    • Use Excel Shortcut ALT + F11 instead of going to Tools>Macro>Visual Basic Editor
  • Develop awareness of the cells/data included in formulas: for example it is less likely that you consider extra cells with AutoSUM
  • Receive an expert aura. Computer guys existed before mouse so I think an user who uses keyboard resembles such skilled persons
  • Avoid dragging the mouse (or scroll) down to thousands of rows to include/resize arrays. For example to change =SUM(A12:A14) to =SUM(A12:A1400)
  • Keep focused on data instead of custom toolbars and interface. The shortcuts are the same from PC to PC so you carry the skills with you

On the other hand, there are occasions in which the mouse is the king.

Keyboard Is not so Good in other Situations

Excel Mouse is irreplaceable when you…

  • Avoid moving cell by cell to reach a target range/cell. The mouse allows you to scroll and jump to a cell from anywhere. This resembles me the TV remote control vs. the old mechanical screw to tune channels
  • Dispose of custom toolbars designed according to your workflow

Mouse is matchless also because there are features not available through keyboard, for example:

  • Splitting panes
  • Pasting format continuously (double click on the format painter)
  • Auto filling series
  • Choosing Subtotals functions at the status bar (right click)
  • Picking/moving/resizing referenced ranges in formulas with bottom-right-corner handle
  • Resizing objects (pictures, wordart, shapes, etc)
  • Picking range automatically with AutoSUM function
  • Picking cells instead of moving cell by cells
  • Selecting non-contiguous cells (with CTRL)
  • And more…