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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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                                          Last Updated on July 8, 2020

                                          10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

                                          10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

                                          Productivity is the ability to perform tasks efficiently and in a timely manner. In today’s busy and competitive business world, productivity is paramount for any business, organization or corporation.

                                          Productivity is more than just performing tasks successfully. It is about investing and allocating resources, so the company or business can perform to meet its core goals.

                                          As part of 2019, it is important to commit to new goals. When shopping around for new productivity software keep in mind the following things: cost, reliability, cross-platform compatibility, on the go, technical support, etc.

                                          In the subsequent sections, we will examine the most recommended productivity software in the marketplace. In addition, we will look at what makes them tick and what separates them from the rest of the pack.

                                          Projects and Tasks Management

                                          1. Monday dot com

                                            Monday dot com was founded to create a team management solution so people connect to workplace processes across any industry. The productivity tool is used in more than 140 countries.

                                            The user interface is intuitive and impressive. It makes collaboration productive and fun because of its simplicity.

                                            The tool is deemed to have one of the best user experiences across the mobile and online project and task management platform.

                                            The product includes usability, customization, admin control, group management and control, private or public control, in-group messaging and more.

                                            Check out the software here!

                                            2. Asana

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                                              The mantra behind Asana’s product is to enable teams from across different organizations to work together effortlessly.

                                              The software comes with lots of customizations. When you create a project as a user, you can choose between a traditional task view and the kanban-style board view. The dashboard allows you to see the progress on a project, and it includes an excellent advanced set of search tools.

                                              Also, Asana’s Android and iOS apps do retain the web interface’s clean look and feel.

                                              Check out the software here!

                                              3. Trello

                                                Trello was founded in the summer of 2010 and two years later the platform added 500,000 members. Anyone within sales, marketing, HR and operations can collaborate successfully with this product.

                                                Moreover, the tool has over 100 plus integrations with Google Drive, Slack, Jira and others. The product works flawlessly across various platforms.

                                                Some of the well-known features includes is speed, easy-to-use, and set up. The interface includes due dates, assignments, file storage, checklists and more.

                                                Check out the software here!

                                                4. Jira

                                                  The Jira software is flexible and heralded as the next-generation project.

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                                                  The software allows teams to design and adapt the software to an organization’s needs. This includes having visibility into long term goals, project roadmaps, status of work, real-time release information and more. In addition, the interface is customizable.

                                                  The Atlassian Cloud does not support multiple separate domains, subdomains or domain aliases in Google Apps.

                                                  Check out the software here!

                                                  5. Evernote Business

                                                    Evernote was founded in 2008 and reached 11 million users by 2011. The company was founded on the premise that their product should address the ever-increasing volume and speed of information.

                                                    The product helps bring together groups of teams because of versatility and functionality. It creates documents, collaboration on projects, store information all a single location.

                                                    Moreover, you can find information quickly and includes effective search capabilities and integrations with existing tools you may already use.

                                                    Check out the software here!

                                                    Communication

                                                    6. Slack

                                                      Slack was founded in 2013 and the tool is heralded as a collaboration hub. Slack is where productivity happens. When you start a new project, hire new staff, deploy a code, review a sales contract, finalize on a budget, Slack covers all of these. Some of the major highlights include highly customizable notifications and seamless integrations with other collaboration and office tools. The free version of the software comes loaded with features, but does not archive old message. So, you have to review what are the best options for your organization or business.

                                                      Check out the software here!

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                                                      7. Spike

                                                        Newcomer Spike makes emails more conversational by helping teams maintain productivity, communication, and collaboration. All of these are achieved from within their inbox.

                                                        Spike works on top of any existing email (O365, G suite, and IMAP) turning it into a real-time messenger and making your communication much more functional and efficient.

                                                        Spike’s features include built-in groups and channels, voice and video calls, email encryption, instant access to all your files, and much more.

                                                        Check out the software here!

                                                        Creation

                                                        8. Office 365

                                                          Microsoft’s Office 365 could not be excluded from the conversation and especially as it pertains to productivity software.

                                                          Of course we are all familiar with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. But there is more capabilities that come with it.

                                                          You have business-class email, online storage space, and teamwork solutions. These services can be accessed from just about anywhere.

                                                          Within this suite is Microsoft Sway, which is a presentation software and a step above PowerPoint.

                                                          Check out the software here!

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                                                          9. Grammarly

                                                            Grammarly helps to cut down time on editing. Professionals in several industries like law, healthcare, academia, marketing, engineering and journalism use it to provide instant feedback on the accuracy of writing in English.

                                                            Once you install the extension from Google Chrome, you can get corrections when you are drafting an email, using social media and other apps.

                                                            Grammarly is AI powered and it’s a wonderful tool to have to check spelling and grammar before a presentation.

                                                            Check out the software here!

                                                            Team Analytics

                                                            10. ActivTrak

                                                              ActivTrak is a business intelligence tool that allows you to access team behavior analytics. In other words, it is data-driven.

                                                              The pros include two-factor authentication with active directory integration. You can also automate your alerts and it has an intuitive interface with easy-to-use admin controls.

                                                              Furthermore, it comes with Google sign-in, iOS app, productivity track, and more. The bottomline is the product offers employee productivity metrics along with team behavior analytics.

                                                              Check out the software here!

                                                              The Bottom Line

                                                              Depending on the size, budget, resources, and immediate needs of your company, not all productivity software will exactly solve your problem. You will have to contact any of the providers above and probe extensively to find the right product that is made for your business.

                                                              More Productivity Tools

                                                              Featured photo credit: Domenico Loia via unsplash.com

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