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7 Tricks To Make You A Spreadsheet Expert

7 Tricks To Make You A Spreadsheet Expert

Computer spreadsheet programs, like Excel, are an excellent tool for organizing, storing and manipulating data. Here are tricks that will assist with data entry into the spreadsheet:

1. Control the cell pointer during data entry:

Excel automatically moves the cell pointer to the next cell down when you press Enter after entering data into a cell. This gets distracting, especially, if you wish to add data in a row instead of a column. To change the setting, use the Excel options dialog box.

  •   Choose: File ->Excel Options -> Advanced ->Editing Options.

control_pointer2
    • Enable Check-box “After pressing Enter, move selection” and the corresponding drop-down, controls the action of the cell pointer during data Entry.
    • Tip: On disabling the check-box, arrow keys can be used to control the direction of the pointer. For example, if you’re entering data in a row, press the right-arrow key rather than Enter to move fluidly to the next cell in the same row.

    2. Store data within Data Tables :

    Excel Spreadsheet is grid of rows and columns. While adding data into Excel, intuitively one does not use Data Tables. However, Excel Data Tables are simple and powerful. They help in easily adding more rows and columns without worrying about updating formula references, formatting options, filter settings, etc. Data Tables take care of everything.

    To add Excel Data Tables, select a Range of Cells comprising of data and click on Table button residing inside the Insert Ribbon.

      Data Table Tricks:

      • Data Tables comes with its own set of Data Filters and Sort Options by default. Without Data Tables, Excel allows only one set of filters per worksheet. However, if a worksheet has more than one table, then each table comes with its own filters and sort options.
      • Formulas inside a data table can use meaningful header names instead of using cell references. Moreover, on adding or removing rows, one need not worry about updating the references.

      Formula
        • With structured references, calculating inside columns becomes very easy. In addition, excel automatically fills the formula inside rest of the cells in the column.
        • Data Tables can be formatted with a single click inside Table Tools
        • Duplicate Data can be deleted from the Data Tables with a single click inside Table Tools
        • Data Tables can be converted back to a Range with a single click inside Table Tools
        • Data Tables can be exported to a share point site with a single click inside Table Tools
        • Data Tables can be summarized by adding a Total Row with a single click inside Table Tools

        3. Data Entry Forms

        Once the Data Tables are set up in a worksheet, Excel Data forms provide the ability to enter data into those tables using a Dialog box. To get the Form Button on the Quick Access Toolbar, follow the below steps:

        • Click on Customize Quick Access Toolbar
        • Select More Commands from the list
        • Choose All Commands from the Dropdown
        • You should find Forms in the list of All Commands
        • Click on Add, and it should get added to the Quick Access Toolbar, once you click on OK

        In order to access the Forms Dialog box, simply select the Data Table Range in the worksheet and Click on Forms from the Quick Access Toolbar.

        Data Form

          The options on the Dialog box are as follows:

          • New: Adds a new record into the Data Table
          • Delete: Deletes the displayed record from the Data Table
          • Restore: Restores the changes made in a Data Table Entry
          • Find Prev/Find Next: Finds the records as specified in the Criteria Field
          • Criteria: Retrieving data that meets a set criteria
          • Close: Closes the Dialog Box

          4. Data Validation Lists:

          Creating drop-down list and enforcing data entry using drop-down, ensures that data consistency is always maintained in your worksheet. To create a drop-down list:

          • Enter the list of items in a range.
          • Select the cell that will contain the drop-down list
          • Choose Data -> Data Tools -> Data Validation.
          • In the Data Validation dialog box, click the Settings tab.
          • In the Allow drop-down list, select List.
          • In the Source box, specify the range that contains the items.
          • Make sure that the In-Cell drop-down option is checked and click OK.
          Tip: If the drop-down list is short, then you can enter the values directly in the Source Field separated by commas.

          5. AutoCorrect for short-hand data entry:

          AutoCorrect, by default is meant to do useful things like capitalizing the first letter of sentences, or correct the accidental use of the caps lock key. In addition, one can customize the AutoCorrect to create shortcuts for commonly used words or phrases. For example, below I use the abbreviation: “gro” for Groceries, “subsc” for Subscriptions and so on.

          In order to get to the AutoCorrect Options,
          Click on Files -> Excel Options -> Proofing -> Auto Correct Options.
          Alternatively, the key-board short cut is: ALT+T+A.

          AutoCorrect2

            AutoCorrect Tips and Tricks:

            • To Add an AutoCorrect Shortcut, type the shortcut text in the Replace Field, and type the text that it will expand to in the With Field, and then click Add.
            • To remove an AutoCorrect shortcut, locate the shortcut in the AutoCorrect list and click on Delete.
            • To override AutoCorrect Press CTRL+Z while entering information into the cell
            • To share the AutoCorrect entries with your friends or across machines, simply locate the *.acl file on your hard drive, and copy it to the corresponding location on the other machine.
            • Excel converts email address or web URL entries into hyperlinks using AutoCorrect. To override a single automatic hyperlink, just click Undo (or press Ctrl+Z) after you enter the text. The hyperlink disappears, but the text you entered remains intact. To disable this feature completely, go to AutoCorrect Options -> Click on Tab: Auto Format as you Type -> Disable the check box: “Internet and network paths with hyperlinks” .

            6. AutoComplete to automate Data Entry:

            Excel’s AutoComplete feature makes it easy to enter the same text into multiple cells. Simply type the first few letters of a text entry into a cell and Excel automatically completes the entry, based on other entries that you already made in the column. It helps to not only reduce the typing, but also to maintain consistency in the data entered.

            Auto Complete Tips and Tricks:

            • Auto complete works only on contiguous column of cells, so do not leave blank rows to fully utilize Auto complete’s potential
            • Auto complete changes the case of letters automatically
            • If the column contains multipls entries that match the first few characters, then Auto Complete does not kick off until your entry matches one of them quickly.
            • You can access the Mouse controlled version of Auto Complete by right clicking the cell and choosing the “Pick from Drop Down List” Option.
            • You can access the same drop down list from keyboard by pressing: Shift+F10.

            7. Proofread with Audio

            Excel has a handy text-to-speech capability, that is capable of reading the contents of the cell as you enter it. In addition, it can also read back a specific range of cells.

            To enable the feature in the Quick Access Tool bar:

            • Click on Customize Quick Access Toolbar
            • Select More Commands from the list
            • Choose All Commands from the Dropdown
            • Select all the Cells starting with Speak Cells and Add them to the Quick Access Toolbar, by clicking on Add.

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            AudioProof

              To read a range of cells, select the range of cells, and Click the Speak Cells button.

              You can change the orientation, by clicking on “Speak Cells on Column” or “Speak Cells on Rows”.

              If you wish the excel to speak the contents of the cell as you enter, then click on “Speak Cells on Enter”.

              The below Image shows the symbols for each of the options:

              Have I missed out on some of your favourite tricks on data entry? I would love to hear about them in the comments section.

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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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