CRE Financial Modeling: Best Practices & Excel Shortcuts

Professional working on CRE financial modeling on a laptop, showcasing best practices and efficiency with Excel

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Best Practices
  3. Excel Shortcuts
  4. Conclusion


While Excel has traditionally been the cornerstone for financial modeling in commercial real estate, the landscape of technology is rapidly evolving. Nuvos stands at the forefront of this innovation, offering efficient and groundbreaking methods for evaluating investments and forecasting performance. However, a foundational understanding of Excel's conventional best practices, tips, and shortcuts remains invaluable for professionals in the field. These skills not only ensure a broad competence but also provide a solid base from which to embrace new technologies.

Best Practices

  • Color Coding: Adopt a uniform color-coding scheme to differentiate between inputs, formulas, and references.
  • Inputs: Blue font
  • Formulas: Black font
  • References: Green font
  • Avoid Mixing Inputs and Formulas: To prevent errors and ensure transparency, avoid embedding hard-coded numbers directly in formulas.
  • Make Reasonable Assumptions: The accuracy of your model's output is directly tied to the quality of the inputs (garbage in, garbage out).
  • Maintain a Clean Layout: Starting your model at the A1 position and disabling gridlines can enhance readability and professionalism.
  • Implement Robust Checks: Establish checks within your model to ensure all components are functioning correctly.

Excel Shortcuts

Paste Formulas AcrossCtrl + R
Paste Formulas DownCtrl + D
Copy CellsCtrl + C
Paste CellsCtrl + V
Select Adjacent CellShift + Arrow Key
Go To End of SelectionCtrl + Arrow Key
Select Whole RowShift + Spacebar
Select Whole ColumnCtrl + Spacebar
Freeze/Unfreeze PanesAlt + W, F, F
Insert New SheetAlt + H, I, S
Rename SheetAlt + H, O, R


Bold CellsCtrl + B
Italicize CellsCtrl + I
Format as CurrencyCtrl + Shift + $
Format as PercentageCtrl + Shift + %
Change Font ColorAlt + H, F, C
Change Font SizeAlt + H, F, S
Remove BorderAlt + H, B, N
Add Bottom BorderAlt + H, B, B
Autofit Column WidthAlt + H, O, I
Group Rows/ColumnsAlt + A, G, G
Remove GridlinesAlt + W, V, G


Trace PrecedentsAlt + M, P
Trace DependentsAlt + M, D
Evaluate FormulaAlt + M, V
Edit CellF2
Lock CellsF4


In the realm of commercial real estate financial modeling, the transition from traditional tools like Excel to advanced solutions like Nuvos marks a significant shift towards more efficient, accurate, and user-friendly processes. While embracing new technology is crucial for staying competitive, the knowledge of Excel's functionality — ranging from basic navigation and formatting to complex auditing shortcuts — continues to be a vital skill set. This blend of traditional expertise and innovative technology equips professionals with the versatility needed to navigate the evolving landscape of financial modeling effectively.

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