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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 August 29, 2018

              5 Killer Online Journal Tools That Make Journaling Easier and More Fun

              5 Killer Online Journal Tools That Make Journaling Easier and More Fun

              Journaling is one of the most useful personal development tools around. Not only does it help us process emotions and experiences, work through internal conflicts and improve our self-awareness, it also provides us with a way to keep a day-to-day record of our lives. Traditionally an activity limited to pen and paper, the expansion of consumer technology has enabled journaling to go digital.

              Saving your journaling entries online enables you to access them from anywhere, without having to carry a notebook and pen around, and provides you with digital features, like tagging and search functions.

              Here are a list of five online journaling tools you can use to bring your practice into the modern age:

              1. 750words

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              750 words

                750words is a free online journaling tool created by Buster Benson. The site is based on the idea of “Morning Pages”; a journaling tool Julia Cameron suggests in her creativity course The Artist’s Way. Cameron advises aspiring creatives to start each morning with three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing to clear away the mental clutter, leaving you with a clearer mind to face the day.

                750 words is the three-page digital equivalent (assuming the average person writes 250 words per page) and lets you store all your journaling online. Each morning, you’ll receive a prompt asking you to write your 750 words, and the site keeps track of various statistics associated with your entries. The site uses a Regressive Imagery Dictionary to calculate the emotional content from your posts and provides feedback on features like your mood, and most commonly used words.

                750 words is simple to set up and is ideal for anyone who finds it challenging to maintain a consistent journaling practice. The site uses a number of incentives to motivate users, including animal badges awarded to journalers who complete a certain number of days in a row, leader boards, and opt-in monthly challenges.

                2. Ohlife

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                ohlife

                  Ohlife is designed to make online journaling as easy as possible. Once you’ve signed up for your free account, the website will send you an email each day asking “How did your day go?” Simply reply to the email with as much or as little detail as you like, and your response will be stored on your account, ready to view next time you log in.

                  Ohlife’s appeal lies in its simplicity: no stats, no social sharing, no complicated organisational systems—the site is designed to provide you with a private, online space. Simply respond to the email each day (or skip the days you’re busy) and Ohlife will do the rest.

                  3. Oneword

                  oneword

                    OneWord is a fun online tool that provides you with a single word as a prompt and gives you sixty seconds to write about it. The concept’s aim is to help writers learn how to flow, and the prompts range from the everyday mundane to the profound.

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                    Oneword is not a private journaling tool: if you sign up, your answers will be published on the site’s daily blog, which contains a stream of users’ answers, and might be used by Oneword in the future. If you’d rather keep your answers to yourself, you can still use the tool for fun without giving out any personal details.

                    4. Penzu

                      Penzu is a journaling tool that allows you to store your journaling notes online. The service also offers mobile apps for iOS, Android and Blackberry, so you can journal on the go and save your notes to your account. The basic service is free, however you can upgrade to Penzu Pro and get access to additional features, including military-grade encryption and the ability to save and sync data through your mobile, for $19 per year.

                      With either version of Penzu, you can insert pictures, and add tags and comments to entries, as well as search for older entries. You can set your posts to be private and viewable by you only, or share them with others.

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                      5. Evernote

                      Evernote isn’t a purpose-built journaling tool, however its features make it perfect for keeping your journaling notes in one safe place. With the ability to keep separate “notebooks”, tag your entries, include pictures, audio and web clipping, Evernote will appeal to journalers who want to include more formats than just text in their entries.

                      Available online within a web browser, and as a stand-alone desktop app, the service also comes with a series of mobile apps covering almost every device available. These allow you to make notes on the go and sync between the mobile and browser versions of the app.

                      For additional features, including text recognition and the ability to collaborate on Notebooks, you can upgrade to Evernote’s premium service, which costs $5 per month.

                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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