There are many keyboard shortcuts that are to be found within various Office applications. Among the benefits of using these shortcuts are increased productivity and heightened focus without the interruption to the flow that comes through constantly switching between keyboard and mouse.

However that is not to say that the reliable old mouse should be banished to the desk drawer for all time; it still has many uses. This is particularly so in Excel, where the resizing of columns and rows and the selection of blocks of data are commonly used, mouse activated functions. And there are ways that you can save time and effort simply by learning a few double click procedures, a few of which I have incorporated into scenarios where they might be used.

You have a spreadsheet containing a long list of pupils and what percentages they achieved in various examinations. The first column contains the names of the pupils and the following ones the subjects; English, Maths, History, Geography etc. You scroll down the list but there are so many subjects that as soon as the labels disappear from the screen, keeping track of which column relates to which subject becomes difficult.

A simple solution to this would be to 'freeze' your labels at the top of the screen so that they are always visible. To do this select any cell from the row below where you want to draw the line, for example, if your labels are in row A then select a cell in row B. Now go to the top right of your sheet onto the scroll bar. Right at the top, above the 'up' arrow, you will see a small rectangle. When you scroll over this your cursor will change to the double-headed arrow. Again double-click this and a thin bar will appear on your spreadsheet to indicate that you have frozen the row, or rows, above it.

You can now scroll down the spreadsheet and the subjects will always be visible at the top of each column. To remove the bar scroll over it until the double-headed arrow appears and double-click. This also works for columns, the small rectangle for this being located at the bottom right scroll arrow.

Say you have been typing addresses into Excel. Some of the street names are too long for the column width so you want to resize it so that all of the data is visible. The usual way to do this would be to hover over the column separator to the right of the one you wish to expand and watch for the cursor changing to a cross with a double-headed arrow on the horizontal. You would then drag the column out to the desired width so that all of the street names were visible.

But what if the list is so long that you can't see all of the addresses on the screen? How do you know that you have widened the column enough to accommodate even the longest street name that may be lurking somewhere down at the bottom of the list?

The answer is simple: instead of dragging the column out, when your cursor changes to that double-headed arrow, double-click and the column will automatically snap to the correct width to accommodate all of the street names comfortably. To perform this operation on multiple adjoining columns click on the letter denoting one of the end columns and, holding down the left mouse button, drag along until the required columns are selected. Then release the mouse button and go to any of the column separators within the selection and double click when the double-headed arrow appears. For non-adjoining columns hold down Ctrl as you select and then do as above.

There are useful tricks and shortcuts within Excel that can be carried out using the keyboard and the mouse (or touchpad) and learning them can save time and effort. Imagine having to scroll back to the top of the page every time you lost track of the subjects in that school exam spreadsheet. That simple mouse operation solved the problem in a few clicks - and there are many more similar tricks just waiting to be discovered.