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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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              Published on September 25, 2020

              10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

              10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

              When it comes to digital security, public Wi-Fi networks aren’t safe enough, making it much easier for hackers to access your personal data. Whether you are studying in a library or scrolling through Facebook in a coffeehouse, it is vital to have a VPN installed on your device.

              VPNs work wonders when it comes to securing your internet connection. By creating an encrypted tunnel between a remote server run by the VPN service, they protect your personal data from prying eyes. There is a variety of VPNs available on the web, and we have collated a list of the best VPNs that stand out from the rest.

              How to Choose a VPN

              • Free trial period – Free trials allow you to try the product risk-free. The same idea technically applies to those with 30-day full refunds as well.
              • Speed – You want your VPN to be just as fast as the internet speed at home. Good quality VPNs are ones where you see little difference between those speeds.
              • Device connection – Of course, the more devices that can connect to VPNs, the better. It increases the customers’ coverage and the product’s value. You also want to consider compatibility since fewer VPNs may work for Mac or Windows only.
              • Number of servers – The number of servers determines how much capacity a VPN can handle while you are connected. The more servers there are, the more users it can handle without running into potential disconnections or slow speeds.
              • Kill switch feature – Having this feature means that your IP address isn’t exposed if the VPN disconnects for some reason. A lack of this feature is a big deal since the whole reason why you’re paying for a VPN is to hide your IP address, among other things. (Find out how to avoid getting tracked online here: Big Brother Is Watching You Online: How To Avoid Being Tracked)

              Why You Should Trust Us

              Our hand-picked VPNs are incredibly efficient and offer such distinctive features that grant you safe browsing. They outperform many VPNs in terms of both speed and security. Their primary aim is to provide you the utmost security, thus enabling you to surf the web safely and prevent any potential threat from causing harm.

              Among the best VPNs’ many unique features include split tunneling, strict logging policies, high encryption level, and availability of international servers. We have gathered them in this article to enlighten our readers and offer the best pieces of advice before you get one. Therefore, take our word for it, and if you go for a VPN mentioned below, you’d be fully appeased.

              1. NordVPN

              The most popular VPN on the market these days is NordVPN, and it’s easy to see why. It has widespread coverage, offering a selection of over 5,000 servers spanning across 59 countries.[1] Due to the high number of servers, its speed is similar to your Wi-Fi at home.

              Lifehack’s CEO, Leon, has been using NordVPN for many years and wants to recommend it for its remarkable server count in different locations with no-logs policy. The VPN perfectly works with Netflix and Fire TV stick, too.

              NordVPN is also compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux. You can download the app onto Chrome, Firefox, Android, and Mac OS. Thanks to its massive coverage, it’s easy to connect multiple devices onto these servers.

              In terms of pricing, while NordVPN doesn’t have a free trial period, they argue that their plans are considerably cheaper than those of their competitors. For example, a one-year plan for ExpressVPN costs $8.32 per month, but NordVPN only charges $6.99 monthly.

              NordVPN has a new protocol called NordLynx that is based on WireGuard with speed benefits, though it’s still under development.[2] If you’re looking for general quality and affordability, this is one of the best VPNs around.

              Buy this VPN.

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              2. ExpressVPN

              ExpressVPN is the second-best option out there for keeping your privacy while browsing the internet. Like many other VPNs here, they will encrypt your IP address, offer vast coverage, and can have multiple devices connected to their servers.

              Compared to NordVPN, while the pricing point is higher, ExpressVPN’s biggest selling point is the number of countries that their connection covers. Depending on where you are in the world, this may be the only option you have. They have fewer servers — 160, to be precise — but they make up for the low server count by covering 94 countries.[3]

              Cost-wise, your best bet is to go with the yearly plan where they charge $8.32 a month. They also have one- and six-month plans.

              Buy this VPN.

              3. Surf Shark

              With regards to Surf Shark, you can connect multiple devices to its servers, and it’s compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac. It is also available on Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, and FireTV.

              Furthermore, Surf Shark can whitelist apps and sites, letting them bypass the VPN. This, along with the lines of split-tunneling, is another feature that many VPNs offer. The difference is that Surf Shark allows you to whitelist specific apps or any website, while most VPNs will whitelist all sites or none at all.

              The other consideration for this app is the price. While lower-tier plans are more expensive compared to others, Surf Shark’s 24-month plan is priced at $2.69 a month, so it’s cheaper than even NordVPN’s equivalent plan!

              Buy this VPN.

              4. CyberGhost

              Another top-reviewed VPN is CyberGhost. They’ve been around for 15 years and have fine-tuned their offers and features to stay competitive. They provide the standard package of browsing the web and logging into accounts safely and give you access to regionally blocked content.

              The network also maintains security from hackers, malware, and phishing. Aside from that, you can connect multiple devices, and it’s compatible with all kinds of platforms.

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              What separates CyberGhost from the others is their extensive coverage. They have multiple servers, and the pricing point is still very low. It covers over 88 countries and has roughly 6200 servers for you to choose from, all while charging $2.75 for their 18-month plan.

              Buy this VPN.

              5. IPVanish

              IPVanish’s prime purpose is to give users online freedom by providing fast speeds and private connections. It’s clear that they can meet that promise as they provide many of the features that have been listed previously from their competitors.

              IPVanish is a part of SugarSync now. What is that, you may ask? It’s a cloud-based service that syncs files across devices and computers for sharing, backup, and many more. What this means is that other devices can access various files and videos so long as they are connected to your specific VPN. Furthermore, it can serve as a backup plan if you get hacked or lose your device for some reason.

              Buy this VPN.

              6. Private Internet Access

              Private Internet Access (PIA) is a remarkably generous company in many ways. Aside from the obvious features, they offer great incentives and discounts for people to try out their products. They claim to be the most trustworthy and reliable VPN around, and we believe that.

              One notable thing is that PIA offers a free two-month trial. Compared to other VPNs to this point, none have provided free trials (though all come with a 30-day money-back guarantee). On top of that, small businesses can avail of their VPN at a discounted rate. There is also the fact that their pricing plans go as low as $2.69 a month for two years, and they let you pay with gift cards.

              In terms of specs, PIA has over 2695 servers that cover 47 countries right now.

              These particular aspects make PIA unique and one of the best VPNs to consider.

              Buy this VPN.

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              7. Hotspot Shield

              Hotspot Shield is all about offering protection while you’re browsing the internet or using streaming services like Netflix. The encryption is military-grade, and its speed is ultra-fast. In truth, it is even marketed as one of the fastest VPNs.

              Hotspot Shield offers a plan that only costs  $7.99 a month; however, it’s one of the few in this list to provide its services for free. Like other Freemium apps, the free version comes with limited features. That said, it gives you a much better feel for the VPN.

              Also, take note that the encryption feature is still there, though the limitations in the free plan include connecting to one location in the US and having limited streaming options and speed.

              Buy this VPN.

              8. TunnelBear

              As unusual as a name choice for an online security protection service can be, TunnelBear is nothing short of incredible. It makes our list of the best VPNs for various reasons.

              The biggest one is that the company goes through a yearly security audit. This is notable because many VPNs don’t bother about independent audits to ensure their systems are secure and safe from any issues. This is critical as VPNs have gotten some bad reputation over the years, as TunnelBear has noted in their post about their security audit.[4] The fact that they are doing this annually ensures that nothing is being compromised.

              Furthermore, TunnelBear offers limited services for free, but even their paid plans are pretty cheap. For individuals, you’re merely paying $3.33 per month. The only catch is that you can connect five devices regardless of which paid plan you pick.

              Buy this VPN.

              9. Norton

              Norton has been on the security scene for some time, and it’s actually one of the founders of the internet security industry. It started with virus and malware protection in 1991 and has since branched off to other sectors as the industry has shifted.

              As you might expect from a company that’s been around for a long time, Norton provides excellent services, and a few of their other services have gone into the VPN package. In reality, Norton is the only one thus far to offer a password manager with their VPN services. They provide 50GB of cloud storage as well.

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              Norton has one of the cheapest VPNs, considering you can get their deluxe plan at $49.99 per year. That comes up to roughly $4.17 a month. It might be slightly higher than other equivalent plans, but you get a lot of extra value that makes it worth the price.

              Buy this VPN.

              10. StrongVPN

              The final VPN we want to cover is StrongVPN. Like many others, it’s great at blocking unnecessary web traffic and providing a fast and simple solution to navigating the internet without any hindrance.

              StrongVPN has over 900 servers. It is available in more than 30 countries and compatible with all devices. Beyond that, the only notable selling point it has compared to others is that it also offers Sugarsync services and 250GB of storage, irrespective of your chosen plan.

              As for the pricing, their year-long plan costs $5.83 a month, while their month-long one is $10.

              Buy this VPN.

              Bottom Line

              Getting online protection is important these days, and companies recognize this.

              With more hacks and breaches occurring every single day, the best VPNs can provide an excellent haven for many people who value their security and privacy.

              We hope that by putting together this list, you’ll be able to find the best VPN that you can trust and enjoy using. As you can see, there are several great options with no real wrong one out there. Pick the VPN that’s best for you.

              Featured photo credit: Petter Lagson via unsplash.com

              Reference

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