F11 – it is for coding

F11 key should be the most-hit key for those who use Marco or VBA a lot in Excel.  If you use F11 but do not work with VBA at all, then you must have inserted new (blank / chart) sheet very often.  :)

The working combinations for F11:

  • F11 alone – Creates a new chart sheet
  • Shift+F11 – Inserts new sheet
  • Alt+F11 – Opens VBA editor
  • Ctrl+F11 – Inserts a sheet (not exactly a worksheet though) called “Macro1”, “Macro2″…

F11 alone – Creates a new chart sheet

Excel Tips - F11

It creates a new (default) chart on a separate sheet.  I rarely put a chart on a separate sheet.  It’s just too big for me and somehow “disconnect” to my data.  I prefer Alt+F1 more, that creates chart on the same worksheet.

Note: Excel detects the current range for data to be plotted.  If your current range contains no data, it gives you an empty chart.

Shift+F11 – Inserts new sheet

Excel Tips - Alt+Shift+F1

As mentioned before, Alt+Shift+F1 does the same thing.  Nevertheless, Shift+F11 requires one less key stroke and hence more handy.

Tip: There is a minor difference between using keyboard shortcuts on insert worksheet and using mouse click on the “insert worksheet” tab for this action:

  • When it is done by mouse click, the new worksheet will be inserted as the last worksheet;
  • When it is done by keyboard shortcuts (be it Shift+F11 or Alt+Shift+F1), the worksheet will be inserted to the left of the active sheet.

Alt+F11 – Opens VBA editor

Excel Tips - Alt F11

If you are new to Excel and have no idea on Marco or VBA, don’t be panic when you mistakenly press Alt+F11 to open the VBA editor, where amazing things can be achieved with coding (if know how).  What you need to do is to close it.  :)

If you are a master of VBA, I guess Alt+F11 should be the most-hit key combination for you.  Isn’t it?

Ctrl+F11 – Inserts a sheet (not exactly a worksheet though) called “Macro1”, “Macro2″…

Honestly, I have no idea what it is.  So I Google it.  :P

Here’s the top search – my favorite Excel forum:


For whatever reasons the “Macro1”, “Macro2″… are being left here in Excel, please be careful that they are not a “worksheet” actually.

Excel Tips - Ctrl F11

See?  When you right-click on it, you won’t be able to “View Code”.  And you will not see it under VBA Project either.

I further tried to input something on the “Macro1” and then linked to it from another worksheet.Excel Tips - Ctrl F11 (1)

It seemed fine ONLY for the first time.  When I changed the value on “Macro1”, nothing updated on the cell that was linked to it, even I pressed F9. Excel Tips - Ctrl F11 (2)

Apparently, the “Macro” sheet is NOT a regular worksheet.  Therefore DO NOT use it as a regular worksheet, as in case someone called for it for you…. It is a trap.  #_#


The shortcut combinations stated above have been tested with Excel 2010.  If you find it doesn’t work in other version of Excel, please let us know by leaving your comment.

Also feel free to share your tips in using F11 key.

For other Function keys:

F1  F2  F3  F4  F5  F6  F7  F8  F9  F10  F11  F12

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2 Responses to F11 – it is for coding

  1. XLarium says:

    Ctrl+F11 gets you to the old Excel4-macro sheets where coding was done long before VBE.


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