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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 [email protected] 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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                                          1 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2019 Updated) 2 20 Best Productivity Apps for Mac You Should Have in 2019 3 40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2019 Updated) 4 How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career 5 Master These 25 Mac Shortcuts to Work Faster and Smarter

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                                          Last Updated on December 30, 2018

                                          18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2019 Updated)

                                          18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2019 Updated)

                                          No one can dispute the countless benefits technology has brought us. It’s undoubtedly allowed us to connect, perform, improve and leverage our resources beyond what was once imaginable.

                                          If you’re not taking advantage of one of the hundreds of time management apps and tools out there, you’re definitely missing a trick.

                                          But with so many apps to choose from, how do you know which ones to use? Well, this will depend on your needs, but we’ve put together a list of 18 of the very best time management apps that can help you with the most common time management challenges.

                                          Let’s dive straight into the list…

                                          1. Rescue Time — Use your time wisely

                                            If you have doubts that you’re using your time sensibly, this app will send you weekly reports to indicate what things are stealing your time. You may be shocked to discover how much time you’re actually wasting.

                                            Download Rescue Time

                                            2. Remember The Milk — Keep on top of all your tasks

                                              If you’re struggling to manage everything you have to do, and you work with many different devices, then this is the app for you. It’s a great free tool which is compatible with your mobile, computer, Gmail, Outlook, etc. It helps you to manage your tasks easily, and reminds you of them – wherever you are.

                                              Download Remember the Milk

                                              3. Focus Booster – Boost motivation to complete tasks

                                                This app is based on the principles of the Pomodoro Technique, and is aimed at individuals who procrastinate and feel overwhelmed by tasks. It’s designed to enhance your focus and remove any anxiety you might have with time pressures.

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                                                Download Focus Booster

                                                4. Toggl – Keep track of time spent on projects and tasks

                                                  This is a great alternative to time-sheets, if you need to track how much time you spend on different projects. Effective time management starts with being clear on exactly how much time you actually spend on your projects and tasks, and then through analysis, working out how you can manage them more effectively.

                                                  Download Toggl

                                                  5. Dropbox — Store and send large files easily

                                                    There are many apps that allow you to transfer content from your computer to other devices – but Dropbox is free and easier to use than the others. With the Dropbox app, you can even access and share important files on the go.

                                                    Download Dropbox

                                                    6. Evernote — Keep all your notes in one place

                                                      Evernote is a free productivity tool that allows you to capture all your ideas, thoughts and images in many different ways (e.g., with voice, notes or images).  You can even record your meetings, interviews, speeches and ideas, create lists, add voice or text attachments, and share your files with friends. You can also sync Remember The Milk with Evernote to really optimize your time.

                                                      Download Evernote

                                                      7. Mind42 — Focus on tasks at hand with mind mapping

                                                        Mind mapping is a great productivity technique, and Mind42 is the best free mind mapping app currently available. It helps you to become more organized by focusing your thoughts – thereby gaining clarity on what needs to be done.

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                                                        Download Mind42

                                                        8. SyncBackFree — Back up and sync your files effortlessly

                                                          This free software allows you to back up, restore and synchronize your files easily. It not only saves you time now – but also in the future. If you have never backed up your files before, you should definitely take a look at this pivotal tool.

                                                          Download SnycBackFree

                                                          9. MyLifeOrganized (MLO) — Manage your to-do lists effectively

                                                            Check this out if you find it difficult to manage all your tasks, to work with your to-do lists, and to organize your goals. This task management system helps you to target what you should be focusing on to reach your objectives. It automatically generates to-do lists, with priority actions for your immediate attention so that you can track your progress methodically.

                                                            Download MyLifeOrganized (MLO)

                                                            10. 1Password — Have all your passwords remembered

                                                              This app allows you to keep all your passwords in one encrypted database, protected by one password. This saves you time when you forget your passwords and need to retrieve them. It also allows you to use various passwords for different accounts so you don’t compromise on security.

                                                              Download 1Password

                                                              11. Pocket — Keep your eye on the ball

                                                                When you’re surfing the web, it’s easy to get distracted by enticing and fascinating websites. Use this tool to save your ‘finds’ to access and read later on at a convenient time which will not impact on your immediate work.

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                                                                Download Pocket

                                                                12. [email protected] — Boost your attention span

                                                                  This amazing app combines neuroscience and music to boost your productivity. According to the developers, it’s possible to increase your attention span by up to 400%! Ideal for those who find it difficult to focus while studying, working or reading.

                                                                  Download [email protected]

                                                                  13. Launchy — Interact with your computer in a smart way

                                                                    This small and simple tool allows you to launch your documents, project files, folders, and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes. This makes life so much easier as you don’t need to go through the start menu to access what you want.

                                                                    Download Launchy

                                                                    14. Forest — Boost your focus by growing a forest

                                                                      This unique and fun app helps you stay focused and on-track. The concept is simple: whenever you want to focus, plant a virtual tree. If you stay focused, the tree will grow. If you lose focus, the tree will die. As the app’s name implies, you can grow multiple trees to create a virtual forest!

                                                                      Download Forest

                                                                      15. Trello — Track your projects in a highly visual way

                                                                        This is a hugely popular app that you may already be familiar with. It works by allowing you to create cards for tasks that you need to complete. Each card moves across the Trello board (which is typically broken into columns such as To Do, In Progress, and Completed) as your start, work on and complete the associated task.

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                                                                        Download Trello

                                                                        16. Wunderlist — Digitalize your to-do lists

                                                                          Purchased by Microsoft in 2015, Wunderlist is an easy to use, feature-packed to-do list app. From planning a holiday, to sharing a shopping list with a partner, or managing multiple work projects, Wunderlist will keep you on top of all your tasks.

                                                                          Download Wunderlist

                                                                          17. TimeTree — Have a shared calendar with your family

                                                                            This app allows families or teams to share multiple calendars and appointments. So, whether you’re planning a party, or run a local sports team, Time Tree can keep everyone up-to-date with all current and upcoming activities and events.

                                                                            Download Time Tree

                                                                            18. Todoist — Capture and order all your tasks and activities easily

                                                                              Todoist is close to being the ultimate digital to-do list. It’s available via browsers and apps, and lets you schedule all your tasks and activities. Each item can be flagged for priority as well as given a due date. There is also a neat option to add notes to any of your tasks.

                                                                              Download Todoist

                                                                              The above list covers what we consider to be the very best time management apps and tools. And the good news is – that many of them are completely free of charge! So, what are you waiting for? Select the ones that will be the most valuable to you – and begin boosting your productivity now!

                                                                              Oh, and one more thing… Take a look at a couple of our other articles that will help further streamline your time management:

                                                                              40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone and 20 Quick Tips For Better Time Management

                                                                              More Recommended Productivity Experts on Lifehack

                                                                              • Leon Ho — The Founder and CEO of Lifehack, which he share productivity hacks to make life easier
                                                                              • Carl Pullein — A renowned productivity and time management coach
                                                                              • Mark Pettit — A Business Coach for ambitious entrepreneurs who want to achieve more by working less

                                                                              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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