How to Use Ctrl Shift Enter in Excel- A Comprehensive Guide

November 10, 2023 732 views

In the world of Excel, Ctrl Shift Enter is a hidden gem often shrouded in mystery. Many users are intrigued but uncertain about its purpose and application. If you find yourself asking, "What should I know before using Ctrl Shift Enter in Excel?" – you're not alone. In this article, we demystify this essential Excel technique, empowering you with the knowledge to wield it effectively.

Part 1: What Is Ctrl Shift Enter in Excel?

Ctrl Shift Enter is a powerful keyboard shortcut that plays a pivotal role in Excel by allowing users to enter and work with array formulas. These array formulas are unique because they can execute multiple calculations simultaneously, drawing data from various cells within a given range. While Excel primarily operates with single-cell formulas, Ctrl Shift Enter opens the door to complex calculations and data manipulation on a larger scale.

Part 2: Three Methods of Using Ctrl Shift Enter in Excel

To Determine Sum:

Determine the Sum Using Ctrl Shift Enter in Excel

Ctrl Shift Enter isn't just for basic calculations; it excels at handling complex sums as well. Let's say you have a dataset with sales figures for different products in separate cells. Using Ctrl Shift Enter, you can create an array formula to calculate the sum of these sales effortlessly. This method streamlines the process, saving you time and effort.

Comment: I've found this method to be incredibly handy when dealing with large datasets. Ctrl Shift Enter simplifies sum calculations and allows me to focus on data analysis.

Determine the Sum Using Conditions:

Determine the Sum Using Ctrl Shift Enter in Excel

Sometimes, you need to calculate sums based on specific conditions. Ctrl Shift Enter can come to the rescue in such scenarios too. By incorporating conditions into your array formula, you can calculate the sum of sales generated for different products under specific criteria. This method adds a layer of precision to your calculations.

Comment: I've often used this approach in financial analysis, where I needed to calculate totals for specific product categories or time periods. Ctrl Shift Enter makes it easy to apply conditions and get precise results.

Determining the Inverse Matrix:

Determining the Inverse Matrix Using Ctrl Shift Enter in Excel

Ctrl Shift Enter is not limited to basic arithmetic operations. It can also handle advanced mathematical tasks, such as determining the inverse matrix. When working with matrices, finding the inverse is a fundamental operation, and Ctrl Shift Enter simplifies this process. By entering the appropriate array formula, you can efficiently calculate the inverse matrix for your mathematical needs.

Comment: While this method may seem complex, it's a game-changer for anyone dealing with matrix calculations. Ctrl Shift Enter helps streamline what would otherwise be a time-consuming task.

Part 3: Common Mistakes and Troubleshooting Tips About Ctrl Shift Enter in Excel

Ctrl Shift Enter in Excel can be a lifesaver for complex calculations, but it's not without its share of common mistakes that can trip up even experienced users. Understanding these mistakes and their solutions is essential for smooth Excel operation.

#1 - Forgetting to Include Curly Brackets at The Beginning and End of The Formula

One of the most common errors is omitting the curly brackets {} at the start and end of an array formula. These brackets indicate to Excel that you're entering an array formula and not a regular one.

Troubleshooting Tips:

  1. Check Syntax: Review your formula's syntax carefully. Ensure that it begins with '{' and ends with '}'.

  2. Argument Inclusion: Verify that you've included all the required arguments and parentheses within your formula. Missing elements can disrupt its functionality.

  3. Correct Range Selection: Double-check that you've selected the correct range of cells for your array formula. The formula should correspond precisely to the data you want to manipulate.

#2 - Accidentally Pressing the Regular Enter Key Instead of Ctrl Shift Enter

It's easy to slip up and press the regular Enter key out of habit when you intend to use Ctrl Shift Enter. This mistake will not execute the array formula as intended.

Troubleshooting Tips:

  1. Cell Selection: If you suspect you've pressed Enter accidentally, select the cell where your formula is located. Then, examine the formula bar at the top of the Excel window. If you see curly brackets around the formula, you've successfully entered it as an array formula.

Resonating Reminder:

While navigating Excel's intricacies, it's important to remember that data security and document protection are paramount. Although the frustration of forgotten passwords can be vexing, it's crucial to seek ethical and authorized solutions. Upholding privacy and data integrity ensures a responsible approach to managing Excel documents and sensitive information. Always prioritize the ethical handling of data and documents in your Excel endeavors.

Part 4: Best Alternative to Microsoft Office: WPS Office

WPS Office stands as a contemporary, robust suite of office applications designed to streamline your work and boost productivity. With a user-friendly interface and convenient features, it caters to both seasoned professionals and beginners, making it an excellent alternative to Microsoft Office.

Pros of WPS Office:

  1. Simplicity: WPS Office boasts a straightforward interface, ensuring that users, including those not well-versed in Excel, can quickly get started. Its intuitive design minimizes the learning curve, making it accessible to everyone.

  2. Cross-Platform Compatibility: Whether you're on your computer or smartphone, WPS Office offers a seamless experience. This cross-platform functionality ensures you can work on your documents anytime, anywhere.

  3. Excel Formulas and Spreadsheet: WPS Office includes a robust spreadsheet application that mirrors Excel's capabilities. You can effortlessly use formulas and perform data analysis tasks with precision.

  4. User-Friendly: WPS Office prioritizes user-friendliness. Its tools are designed to be rapid, precise, and adaptable to various tasks, from text processing to slide production and data management.

  5. Full Suite: Beyond spreadsheet functions, WPS Office offers a comprehensive suite of office tools. This includes word processing, presentation creation, data processing, and more, consolidating all your essential office needs in one powerful application.

Steps to Edit Word/ Excel/ PowerPoint in WPS Office

Editing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents in WPS Office is a straightforward process. Here are the steps to edit documents in all three apps:

1.Open WPS Office:

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3. Open the Document:

  • Double-click on the document for Word and PowerPoint files, or tap on the Excel file to open it.

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4. Edit the Document:

  • Once the document is open, you'll have access to a range of editing tools and features. You can make changes to the text, formatting, formulas, or slides, depending on the document type.

5. Save Your Changes:

  • After making your edits, be sure to save your changes. In WPS Office, you can usually find the "Save" or "Save As" option under the "File" menu or by clicking the floppy disk icon.

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Q1. How to use arrays in Excel without inputting an "array formula" using Ctrl+Shift+Enter

To use arrays in Excel without having to input an "array formula" using Ctrl+Shift+Enter, you can leverage some of Excel's built-in functions designed to work with arrays. Here's how:

  • SUMPRODUCT Function:

You can perform array-like calculations without array formulas by using functions like SUMPRODUCT. For example, if you have a column of numbers in A1:A5 and want to calculate the sum, you can use the formula:


  • AGGREGATE Function:

The AGGREGATE function is another versatile option for array-like calculations. It can handle various operations such as SUM, AVERAGE, MAX, MIN, etc., without requiring Ctrl+Shift+Enter. For instance: =AGGREGATE(9, 6, A1:A5) calculates the sum of the values in A1:A5.

  • FILTER Function (Office 365 and Excel 2021):

If you have the latest versions of Excel, you can use the FILTER function to work with arrays efficiently. This function allows you to filter and extract data based on specific criteria without the need for array formulas.

Q2. How to avoid Ctrl+Shift+Enter for array formulas in MS Excel?

Avoiding Ctrl+Shift+Enter for array formulas can simplify your Excel work. Here's how to do it:

1. Use Excel Functions:

  • As mentioned earlier, leverage functions like SUMPRODUCT, AGGREGATE, and FILTER, which are designed to handle arrays without needing array formulas.

2. Excel Tables:

  • Convert your data range into an Excel Table (Insert > Table). Tables automatically handle calculations and references as arrays, eliminating the need for Ctrl+Shift+Enter.

3. Dynamic Arrays (Office 365 and Excel 2021):

  • If you have Office 365 or Excel 2021, take advantage of dynamic arrays. These versions of Excel support functions like SORT, FILTER, UNIQUE, and SEQUENCE, which inherently work with arrays without the need for Ctrl+Shift+Enter.

4. Power Query:

  • Use Power Query to import, transform, and manipulate data. Power Query allows you to perform operations on data tables more intuitively and without array formulas.

Conclusion: Use Ctrl Shift Enter in Excel

In summary, this article has explored the power and versatility of using Ctrl Shift Enter in Excel, providing insights into its array formula capabilities. We've discussed common mistakes and troubleshooting tips to ensure a smooth Excel experience. Moreover, we introduced a compelling alternative to Microsoft Office—WPS Office, a modernized and robust office tool designed for users of all levels.

WPS Office offers a simplified interface and convenient functions, making it accessible to beginners while still catering to the needs of experienced users. Its cross-platform compatibility ensures you can seamlessly edit documents on your computer or phone. Whether you're working with Excel formulas, creating Word documents, or crafting engaging PowerPoint presentations, WPS Office proves to be your best choice.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.