• Lowell

Excel Data Entry Tips

Updated: Dec 10, 2020

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.


If you’d like to follow my COVID-19 graphs, go to https://public.tableau.com/profile/lowell3106#!/

Feel free to share the link with anyone. I've usually updated everything by 7:30 PM each day.

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My thanks to my friends at the McGrath Computer Learning Center in Aiken, SC for allowing me to use and edit their article. You’ve heard of Excel, haven’t you? Oh! Yeah, that’s that spreadsheet thingy