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  • Lowell

Excel Data Entry Tips

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

Microsoft Excel is one of my favorite programs. I have used it for simple database applications, for time reporting applications, and for course registrations at a senior center I used to support. I’d like to share some shortcuts for entering data that will save you time and increase accuracy.

In the following examples, you'll see notations like Ctrl+character. This means to hold the Ctrl key down (on windows computers), tap the key denoted by character, and then release the keys.


Enter Today’s Date - Excel generally recognizes when we’re entering a date. It interprets entries like 8-1 or 8/1 as a month and day for the current year. To enter the current date, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+; (that’s a semicolon). It’s much quicker and it eliminates typos as long as the date on your computer is correct.


Enter the Current Time - In this example, we add the Shift key to our shortcut. Pressing Ctrl+Shift+; (semicolon) will enter the current time into a cell, as long as your computer’s clock is correct.


Enter Current Date and Time Into a Cell - First, press Ctrl+;, then type a space, then press Ctrl+Shift+;.


Enter Same Data into Multiple Cells - I track COVID-19 cases in three states, six counties, and eighteen Zip codes by date. Rather than typing the current date into each date cell, I first select all the date cells by holding the left mouse button down and dragging across the cells. Then I use Ctrl+; and Ctrl+Enter to insert the current date in all cells.


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