Complete Excel tasks in a second

This is the final blog in a series of three to help you save time when working in Excel:

  1. Save time with the best Excel shortcuts
  2. Save time with the Quick Access Toolbar
  3. Complete Excel tasks in a second (this blog)

You can complete many common Excel tasks in a second!

I was inspired by this youtube video on how formula 1 pit stop times have been dramatically reduced and the accompanying LinkedIn post by Florian Palatini on the #SMED concept which covers 6 basic principles.

I have now adapted these principles to Excel… and speeded it up!


πŸš€ Complete commonly performed Excel tasks in just a single second! πŸš€

If you follow the advice in this blog, I estimate that you can easily save 10% of your time working in Excel. If you worked full-time in Excel, that would mean you would save four hours a week or 22 days a year!

Ready to learn?

On your marks, get SSET, go!

Read on or download the summary: Save hours of work in Excel.


1) Be prepared

⌨ Keyboard shortcuts: Learn your shortcuts - see my blog or download The Best Excel Shortcuts - a free list of the best Excel shortcuts to print out and refer to.

πŸ–± Quick Access Toolbar (QAT): For tasks where no shortcut is available, make sure you set up your QAT so that mouse-based tools and macros that you use regularly are lined up ready to use and always visible (no mouse clicks needed to show them!). In my blog I explain how.

⚑Automation: For multi-step repetitive tasks, set-up Power Query, an office script or a macro to automate the actions. Store commonly-used macros in your personal workbook, so they are always available for use in any workbook and add those you often use to your QAT.

πŸ’₯ Add-ins: Install one or more add-ins to add extra one-step buttons to further speed up your work. For a start, you can download my toolKCit add-in with 19 useful commands at eloquens for free.

Or check out these other add-ins: - workbook auditing - OAK tool for workbook auditing


2) Use precise locations

  • Desk - keep a clear desk with only the essentials on it, all suitably positioned.

  • ⌨ Keyboard - ensure your keyboard is suitably placed in front of you so that you can easily use shortcuts.

  • πŸ–± Mouse - ensure your mouse is suitably placed under your dominant hand to facilitate quick access to your Quick Access Toolbar (commonly used commands) and standard ribbon (infrequently used commands).


3) Follow a standard procedure

For each task that you commonly perform, decide what your ONE method is: select this based upon speed and convenience

  • Keyboard shortcut (if available) or
  • Quick Access Toolbar or
  • Automated solution - Power Query, office script or macro
  • Add-in

In this way, you also save thinking time, which speeds up your work some more.


4) Practise, practise, practise

As the building site worker said to the old lady who asked, β€œHow do I get to Carnegie Hall?”
β€œLady, you gotta practise!”

  • Use your keyboard shortcuts and your Quick Access Toolbar as often as possible to make their usage second nature.
  • Practice common tasks such as navigating, selecting, formatting, inserting, copy and pasting cells, rows and columns.


5) Adapt the equipment

⌨ Keyboard shortcuts: Learn new ones, as necessary.

πŸ–± Quick Access Toolbar: Amend as necessary to speed up your work. For example, add any missing but commonly used commands, remove any unused commands (to reduce clutter and make space for others) or move commands in the list so that they are in an order that you find logical and easy to locate.

⚑Automation: Amend your Power Query, office scripts or macros, as necessary.

πŸ’₯ Add-ins: Research, try out and install new add-ins.


6) Never stop looking for waste

Strive to learn new functionality and tricks and tips to save you time. Review tasks that you commonly perform but which take you time and try to identify improvements e.g., reduce the number of actions needed, use a new shortcut or a new button on your Quick Access Toolbar.


So now you know the secrets of how to complete Excel tasks in a second!

Put them into practice quickly!