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Last Updated on August 6, 2018

20 Excel Tricks That Can Make Anyone An Excel Expert

20 Excel Tricks That Can Make Anyone An Excel Expert

After Microsoft developed Excel to the 2010 version, it offered more surprises than ever. In order to deal with tons of big data, you can’t ignore the important role Excel plays in daily work. However, both for beginners and advanced users, there are still many useful tips and tricks that are inevitably overlooked. Here are 20 useful Excel spreadsheet secrets you may not know. Please note that all these functions are based on Microsoft Excel 2010.

1. One Click to Select All

You might know how to select all by using the Ctrl + A shortcut, but few know that with only one click of the corner button, as shown in the screenshot below, all data will be selected in seconds.

One Click to Select All

    2. Open Excel Files in Bulk

    Rather than open files one by one when you have multiple files you need to handle, there is a handy way to open them all with one click. Select the files you would like to open then press the Enter key on the keyboard, all files will open simultaneously.

    Open Excel Files in Bulk

      3. Shift Between Different Excel Files

      When you have different spreadsheets open, it’s really annoying shifting between different files because sometimes working on the wrong sheet can ruin the whole project. Using Ctrl + Tab you can shift between different files freely. This function is also applicable to other files like different Windows tabs in Firefox when opened using Windows 7.

      Shift Different Excel Files

        4. Create a New Shortcut Menu

        Generally there are three shortcuts in the top menu, which are Save, Undo Typing and Repeat Typing. However, if you want to use more shortcuts, like Copy and Cut, you can set them up as follows:

        File->Options->Quick Access Toolbar, add Cut and Copy from the left column to the right, save it. You will see two more shortcuts added in the top menu.

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        Create New Shortcut Menu

          5. Add a Diagonal Line to a Cell

          When creating a classmate address list, for example, you may need a diagonal link in the first cell to separate different attributes of rows and columns. How to make it? Everyone knows that Home->Font-> Borders can change different borders for a cell, and even add different colors. However, if you click More Borders, you will get more surprises, like a diagonal line. Click it and save—you can now make it immediately.

          Add Diagonal Line for a Cell

            6. Add More Than One New Row or Column

            You may know the way to add one new row or column, but it really wastes a lot of time if you need to insert more than one of these by repeating this action X number of times. The best way is to drag and select X rows or columns (X is two or more) if you want to add X rows or columns above or left. Right click the highlighted rows or columns and choose Insert from the drop down menu. New rows will be inserted above the row or to the left of the column you first selected.

            Add More Than One New Row/Column

              7. Speedily Move and Copy Data in Cells

              If you want to move one column of data in a spreadsheet, the fast way is to choose it and move the pointer to the border, after it turns to a crossed arrow icon, drag to move the column freely. What if you want to copy the data? You can press the Ctrl button before you drag to move; the new column will copy all the selected data.

              Speedy Move and Copy Data in Cells

                8. Speedily Delete Blank Cells

                Some default data will be blank, for various reasons. If you need to delete these to maintain accuracy, especially when calculating the average value, the speedy way is to filter out all blank cells and delete them with one click. Choose the column you want to filter, go to Data->Filter, after the downward button shows, undo Select All and then pick up the last option, Blanks. All blank cells will show immediately. Go back to Home and click Delete directly, all of them will be removed.

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                Speedy Delete Blank Cells

                  9. Vague Search with Wild Card

                  You may know how to activate the speedy search by using the shortcut Ctrl + F, but there are two main wild cards—Question Mark and Asterisk—used in Excel spreadsheets to activate a vague search. This is used when you are not sure about the target result. Question Mark stands for one character and Asterisk represents one or more characters. What if you need to search Question Mark and Asterisk as a target result? Don’t forget add a Wave Line in front.

                  Vague Search with Wild-card

                    10. Generate a Unique Value in a Column

                    You are aware of the key function of Filter, but few people use the Advanced Filter, which will be repeatedly applied when you need to filter a unique value from data in a column. Click to choose the column and go to Data->Advanced. A pop-up window will show up. As the screenshot shows, click Copy to another location, which should be in accord with the second red rectangular area. Then specify the target location by typing the value or clicking the area-choosing button. In this example, the unique age can be generated from Column C and show in Column E. Don’t forget to choose Unique records only, then click OK. The unique value showing in column E can be the contrast of the original data in C, that’s the reason why it is recommended to copy to another location.

                    Generate Unique Value in Column

                      11. Input Restriction with Data Validation Function

                      In order to retain the validity of data, sometimes you need to restrict the input value and offer some tips for further steps. For example, age in this sheet should be whole numbers and all people participating in this survey should be between 18 and 60 years old. To ensure that data outside of this age range isn’t entered, go to Data->Data Validation->Setting, input the conditions and shift to Input Message to give prompts like, “Please input your age with whole number, which should range from 18 to 60.” Users will get this prompt when hanging the pointer in this area and get a warning message if the inputted information is unqualified.

                      Input Restriction with Data Validation Function

                        12. Fast Navigation with Ctrl + Arrow Button

                        When you click Ctrl + any arrow button on the keyboard, you can jump to the edge of the sheet in different directions. If you want to jump to the bottom line of the data, just try to click Ctrl + downward button.

                        Fast Navigation with Ctrl + Arrow Button

                          13. Transpose Data from a Row to a Column

                          You would use this feature if you want to transpose data to get a better display; however, retyping all data would be the last thing you would need to do if you know how to use the Transpose function in Paste. Here’s how: copy the area you want to transpose, move the pointer to another blank location. Go to Home->Paste->Transpose, please note that this function won’t activate until you copy the data first.

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                          Transpose Data from Row to Column

                            14. Hide Data Thoroughly

                            Almost all users know how to hide data by right clicking to select the Hide function, but this can be easily noticed if there is only a little bit of data. The best and easiest way to hide data thoroughly is to use the Format Cells function. Choose the area and go to Home->Font->Open Format Cells->Number Tab->Custom->Type ;;; -> Click OK, then all the values in the area will be invisible, and can only be found in the preview area next to the Function button.

                            Hide Data Thoroughly

                              15. Compose Text with &

                              Complicated formulation is unnecessary, as long as you know how to use &. You can compose any text freely with this symbol. Below I have four columns with different texts, but what if I want to compose them to one value in one cell? First, locate the cell that is to show the composed result, use the formulation with & as shown in the screenshot below. Click Enter: all texts in A2, B2, C2 and D2 will be composed together to become LizaUSA25@ in F2.

                              Compose Text with &

                                16. Transforming the Case of Text

                                With all the tricks shared here, I’ve tried my best to avoid complicated formulation. But there are still some simple and easy to use formulations to show you, like UPPER, LOWER and PROPER, which can transform texts for different purposes. UPPER will capitalize all characters, LOWER can change text to all lower case and PROPER will only capitalize the first character of a word.

                                Text Transform

                                  17. Input Values Starting with 0

                                  When an input value starts with zero, Excel will delete the zero by default. Rather than reset the Format Cells, this problem can be easily solved by adding a single quote mark ahead of the first zero, as shown.

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                                  Input Value Starts with 0

                                    18. Speed up Inputting Complicated Terms with AutoCorrect

                                    If you need to repeat the same value and it is complicated to input, the best way is to use the AutoCorrect function, which will replace your text with the correct text. Take my name, Liza Brown, for example, which can be replaced by LZ. Therefore, every time I input LZ, it can autocorrect to Liza Brown. Go to File->Options->Proofing->AutoCorrect Options and input Replace text with correct text in the red rectangular area, as below.

                                    Speed up Inputting Complicate Terms with AutoCorrect

                                      19. One Click to Get More Status

                                      Most users know how to check the data status in the bottom of an Excel sheet, like Average and Sum Value. However, do you know you can move the pointer to the bottom tab and right click to get more status, as shown below?

                                      One Click to Get More Status

                                        20. Rename a Sheet Using Double Click

                                        There are multiple ways to rename sheets, and most users will right click to choose Rename, which actually wastes a lot of time. The best way is to just click twice, then you can rename it directly.

                                        Rename Sheet by Double Click

                                          Want to level up your excel skills further? Don’t miss this article:

                                          Excellent Excel Shortcuts That Very Few People Know

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                                          Published on September 20, 2018

                                          11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

                                          11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

                                          In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

                                          Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

                                          In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

                                          Minimizing Tabs

                                          Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

                                          Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

                                          Incognito Mode

                                          Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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                                          1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
                                          2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
                                          3. Download extension New Incognito Window

                                          This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

                                          Save Webpages as PDF Files

                                          Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

                                          Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

                                          Open Recently-closed Tabs

                                          Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

                                          One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

                                          The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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                                          Solve Mathematical Problems

                                          Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

                                          For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

                                          Play Media Files

                                          Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

                                          In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

                                          Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

                                          With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

                                          Stay Focus(e)d

                                          Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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                                          Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

                                          With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

                                          This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

                                          Grammarly for Editing

                                          Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

                                          You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

                                          Loom

                                          There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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                                          There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

                                          With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

                                          Chrome Calendar Extension

                                          No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

                                          Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

                                          Final Thoughts

                                          Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

                                          Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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