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How to Use Undo & Redo in Excel

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  • 00:00 Fixing Mistakes
  • 00:46 Simple Undo
  • 1:21 Simple Redo
  • 2:06 Complex Undo
  • 3:24 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught history, and has an MA in Islamic law/finance. He has since founded his own financial advice firm, Newton Analytical.

Everyone makes mistakes. Excel makes it easy to fix those mistakes with the undo and redo buttons. In this lesson, we learn how to not only make simple use of these buttons, but also go back further with a complex redo or undo.

Fixing Mistakes

Let's face it, Excel is a very intricate program and mistakes happen to people who are even experts with the program. However, among all the abilities and complexities of the program the designers of Excel included a number of tools to help mitigate human error. Some of these are pretty complex in and of themselves. For example, there are formula assistants that help troubleshoot just where you went wrong in the formula. However, not all support tools require such advanced knowledge of a cell to make real use of them.

In this lesson, we are going to look at two of the most basic tools that Excel has to help operators correct their errors. These functions are the undo and redo commands

Simple Undo

Oh no! In your rush to fill the spreadsheet with as much information as possible you realize that you just made a mistake. The problem is that, since you were distracted by looking at your source material you really don't know what you are entering data at anymore. So, what can you do?

Fortunately you don't have to go looking for exactly where you made the mistake. Instead you can simply click the Undo button one time. The Undo button is a circular arrow pointing to the left. If you can't find it you can simply use Control-Z on a PC or Command-Z on a Mac. Either of these keyboard shortcuts will undo one mistake.

Simple Redo

But wait! It turns out you are actually right. The data you had just entered was actually correct. You figure you can just press Undo again but that takes you back further. So, how do you undo an undo? In short, you simply tell Excel to Redo the command. Think of it as an eraser for Undo. You'll often find the Redo command next to the Undo command, and whereas the Undo button is an arrow pointing to the left, the Redo button points to the right. Think of it as going forward, whereas Undo was going backwards.

If you'd prefer it, there are also keyboard shortcuts available here as well. Use Control-Y on a PC and Command-Y on a Mac.

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