Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Quickly Entering Data.

Quickly Entering Data

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 25, 2017)


One of the nifty shortcuts provided in Excel allows you to copy data from the cell above the current cell. All you need to do is press Ctrl+”. (That's a quote mark, which means you must hold down the Shift key as well.)

As an example of how this works, let's suppose you enter the number 12345 in cell A4. If you then move to cell A5 and press Ctrl+", 12345 appears in the cell. If you then go to cell A6 and type ABC and press Ctrl+", you end up with ABC12345 in the cell.

In reality, you could also use Ctrl+' (that's an apostrophe) to copy data if you wanted. There is only a slight difference in the way that Ctrl+' and Ctrl+" work, and that difference only applies when using the shortcuts to copy numeric values (including dates and times). The Ctrl+" shortcut retains the formatting of whatever is being copied, but the Ctrl+' shortcut does not.

As an example, let's assume that cell A5 contains the formatted value 12.34%. If you position the cursor in cell A6 and press Ctrl+", then Excel copies 12.34%. If, instead, you use Ctrl+' then Excel copies 0.1234.

These shortcuts can be real handy when you are entering data that has a lot of similarities within it—perhaps inventory numbers or part numbers. Give it a try!

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (7925) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Quickly Entering Data.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is five less than 8?

2017-11-27 12:43:02


CTRL+D does the same thing. I think of it as "ditto."

2017-11-27 09:02:55


A fundamental difference between Ctrl+D below and the Ctrl+' and Ctrl+" above is that Ctrl+D does not work when in edit mode. So, the example above where you type 12345, move down and type ABC first, and while in Edit mode hit the Ctrl combo, both ' and " get you ABC12345 while D gets you nothing. Two situations I got a different result from all three. One was when I typed 5%, and moved down and typed ABC before the Ctrl combo. D got me nothing but ABC since it didn't work, " got me ABC5%, and ' got me ABC0.05. The other was related to formulas as was mentioned below, but more specifically, Ctrl+D copies the formula and updates cells relativity as mentioned, Ctrl+" literally copies the result of the formula as if you did a Paste Special and chose Value (not mentioned), while Ctrl+' copies the formula verbatim as mentioned. As usual every key combo has it's uses for someone and knowing them all makes you the most powerful user. That's another reason why I love this site. The topic taught me a little (I already knew Ctrl+' to some degree), but the comments taught me more and made me experiment. Thanks everyone!

2017-11-25 17:55:49


Note that this shortcut only works in the cell directly BELOW the cell you are "dittoing" from.

2017-11-25 09:49:27

Dave Onorato, CFC

Be aware!
Ctrl+' and Ctrl+" is NOT copy. It is DUPLICATE.
It works fine for text, numbers, date/times.
BUT, if you Ctrl+' on a formula, it duplicates the formula, not changing the relative references.

2017-11-25 08:24:42

Christopher Prioli

Just for giggles and grins, doesn't Ctrl+D do the exact same thing as CTRL+"? In fact, Ctrl+D is even more versatile, as it is the standard "Fill Down" command. It works in two different ways. If you want to fill a single cell, simply place the cursor in that cell and press Ctrl+D. The formatted contents of the cell directly above is entered in the current cell. For example, if you have the value 12.34% in cell B3 and you place the cursor in B4 and press Ctrl+D there, cell B4 will get populated as 12.34%. In another set of circumstances, you may want to fill a given value down through a contiguous range. For example, having the same value 12.34% in cell B3, if you select cell B3 and drag down in column B through to B10, the range of cells from B4 through B10 will all get populated with that formatted value, 12.34%.

What advantage is there in using Ctrl+" over Ctrl+D?

2017-11-25 07:01:07

Willy Vanhaelen

Ctrl+D is even faster. It copies data + format of the cell above without the need of pressing Enter.

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