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How Connecting Web Apps to Automate Your Tasks Is Easier Than You Think

How Connecting Web Apps to Automate Your Tasks Is Easier Than You Think

As the global population continues to rise, so too does the number of individuals who are regularly active online. According to the most recent data, this trend is even becoming increasingly prevalent in developing economies, with the rate of online users having risen by a staggering 3,606.7% in Africa between 2000 and 2012.

In addition to this, it is also important to note that the number of accessible web applications and features has soared proportionately during this time. This means that a growing social demographic is increasingly reliant on the Internet as a way of communicating and completing routine, everyday tasks, which relate to both professional and personal usage.

The obvious solution would seem to be to provide a real-time connection between the individual web applications that you use; however, this would typically require the assistance of skilled developers with the ability to create customized software packages. This represents a costly and time-consuming process, unless you have a personal knowledge of SaaS (Software as a Service) technology or easy access to third-party development teams.

Fortunately, this is no longer the case, as companies such Zapier have established a service which makes it easy for individuals to connect their favorite web applications and automate mundane, everyday tasks. But how exactly does the development team at Zapier achieve these goals, and what key benefits do they deliver to users? Consider the following.

1. Create a zap that meets your needs.

As a starting point, you will need to identify your most widely used web apps and create a unique zap (a “zap” being a blueprint for a task you need to do repeatedly) that connects them in real-time. You may wish to create a zap that sends you an SMS message when you receive a new email through Gmail, for example, while professional clients may look to convert a recently received entry form from Wufoo into a new lead on the Salesforce dashboard. Zapier has the capacity to convert both of these into a functional Zap, with software that utilizes the receipt of data to create a trigger that then translates into direct action.

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If we take the former as an example, you will need to create the trigger action (which in this instance is the receipt of an email to your chosen Gmail account and then establish the action of sending a text message to a selected number).

Zap

    2. Enter the details or your trigger and action to create your zap.

    In this instance, the next step is to link your chosen Gmail account (trigger) and mobile phone number (action). To begin, simply log in to your account in a separate window before typing the address into the text box as below.

    Zapier will then automatically verify your email address and grant permissions, before requesting that you follow a similar process with your mobile number. Here you will enter your mobile number of choice and confirm whether or not you would like it to be verified by text or a direct voice call.

    You will then be sent a unique PIN as identification, which can be entered to activate your Zap. Regardless of the precise trigger or action that you use, you will follow a similar verification process to guarantee ownership of the account and authorize permissions.

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    Zapier 2

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        3. Filter your zap according to your exact requirements.

        The next stage of the process requires you to develop your Zap and create any filters to help guarantee a viable source of information.

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        You can start by establishing the criteria for your trigger, which in this case would instruct Zapier to only send notifications when you receive emails to a specific folder or from a selected individual address.

        As a general rule, you may want to receive an SMS notification when a new message arrives in your inbox, which ensures that you are kept up to date without having to manually filter spam and junk emails. Zapier also enables you to customize filters, depending on the nature of your trigger and your precise needs.

        Once this has been completed, the next step is to test your newly created Zap by sending a personalized message to your account and waiting for the subsequent SMS notification!

        Zapier 4

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            The Last Word

            Whether you use Zapier to connect personal or professional online accounts and networks, the main benefit of the software is that it helps you to develop focus while also saving valuable time and money.

            From a commercial perspective, there is a unique opportunity to allow Zapier to manage the repetitive, everyday tasks that relate to business operation, while you can turn your focus towards more strategic activities such as marketing and cultivating long-term growth.

            This is without spending money on hiring costly developers or freelancers, however, as Zapier negates the need for complex service or web application integration.

            Above else, you can monitor and manage your Zaps through a real-time dashboard, and make changes to your triggers and actions whenever the need arises.

            For personal users, Zapier provides a service that can instantly connect multiple email accounts, social media networks and mobile SMS centers. This has the potential to free up more time in the average day, and ultimately allow you to enjoy more recreational activities with friends, family and loved ones.

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            Last Updated on August 15, 2018

            25 Most Useful Excel Shortcuts That Very Few People Know

            25 Most Useful Excel Shortcuts That Very Few People Know

            Imagine if you could use 5 simple shortcuts while working in Excel, and increase your productivity without wasting time for searching information in huge tables, writing long formulas, and sorting the data.

            Or even better:

            What if you would get 25 useful shortcuts… and each of them could simplify your work, so you could do much more every day?

            You’d definitely feel excited to read about them.

            Today is your lucky day because we are going to share with you in this article 25 great Excel shortcuts you can use in your work every day! This is your lucky chance, so go ahead and become a real professional in Excel without wasting your time.

            How important are Excel shortcuts for you?

            The most effective thing to check out if people really need something is to release a survey and look at the results. So, according to the anonymous survey, 99% of people said Excel shortcuts are critical or important for them.

            In general, there are more than 200 shortcuts in Excel. But when we have analyzed the data about how many shortcuts people know, we got the next results:

            • 26% of people know 10 or fewer shortcuts;
            • 61% of people know 10-50 shortcuts;
            • 10% of people know 50-100 shortcuts.

            As you can see, not so many people know a lot of shortcuts. Probably, some of them never think about increasing their productivity in such a simple way.

            Of course, it depends on how deep you use Excel. Some people use this powerful application just for making simple tables or graphs, others use it for everyday work to count something.

            Most of the accountants and businessmen use much more Excel functions for more complex tasks such as creating VBA macros, managing PivotTables, recalculating huge workbooks, outlining data, etc.

            But even those people who work with Excel every day very close may know a few shortcuts. Needless to say, they can do their job without shortcuts, but it usually takes for them much more time. T

            his sounds not funny, especially if you must finish a huge amount of work urgently. There is a great opportunity for you to increase your productivity in Excel and do your job faster with our useful shortcuts.

            5 Main reasons to learn excel shortcuts

            Many people don’t understand why they should use shortcuts if they can work without them. Of course, if you use Excel twice per year to make a simple table or a graph, it is probably not so important for you to know many shortcuts.

            But if you work in Excel every day, sorting huge tables and managing with tons of data, then shortcuts will help you to reach the next five goals:

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            1. Work efficiently and faster in Excel
            2. Manage big amounts of data easily and fast
            3. Stay calm and concentrated even while doing a tedious job
            4. Make your work accurately and properly without errors
            5. Get a better understanding of Microsoft Excel

            Who can use Excel shortcuts?

            There are a lot of people who can simplify their life with Excel shortcuts, and here are the groups that will definitely love using them:

            • People who work in banks, finance organizations, etc.
            • Businessmen who make tons of various reports and presentations in Excel for meetings and briefings.
            • Students who usually are lazy and impatient to make their homework because they don’t want to waste a lot of time working in Excel.
            • Private entrepreneurs who keep various data in Excel tables.

            Whether you are a student who hates Excel because it seems a time-wasting and boring application, or you are an accountant who must recalculate huge worksheets every day without making errors, we recommend reading and learning these Excel shortcuts to make your work simpler and save some time.

            With these simple but useful tricks, it is so easy to finish your job and get more time for yourself.

            25 Excel shortcuts to increase your productivity

            Here are 25 great Excel shortcuts you should learn and use for work or studying to make your job faster and simpler. Try to use them all and you will realize you were totally blind before while working in Excel:

            1. Format whatever object fast with Ctrl+1

            If you select any object in Excel – a cell, a chart, a chart axis, a drawing object – then press Ctrl+1, and you will get the Properties dialog for the certain object. This shortcut offers a very quick and easy way to format whatever object you’re working with.

            2. Use range names with Ctrol+G or F5 key

            If you use range names (which we strongly recommend to do) and you want to choose the range with a specific name references, press either Ctrl+G or the F5 key, which launches the GoTo dialog.

            If the name is simple, you can click on it in a list in that dialog. But if it’s at all unusual, Excel won’t list it; so you will need to type in the name. Then press OK.

            3. Use a range name in a formula with =sum( and F3

            Suppose you want to use a range name in a formula. For example, you want to sum the Sales range. Enter…

            =sum(

            …and then press F3.

            When you do so, Excel launches the Paste Name dialog. Just choose “Sales” from the list, press the OK button in the dialog, then enter the SUM function’s closing “)” to complete the formula.

            4. Launch Function Arguments dialog easily with Ctrl+A

            Suppose you want to check the help topic for a worksheet function. For example, you want to read about the MATCH function. In a cell, type…

            =match(

            …and then press Ctrl+A, or click the Insert Function (“fx“) button to the left of the formula bar.

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            When you do so, Excel displays the Function Arguments dialog, which might offer all the help you need.

            But if you still want to see the complete help topic, click the blue “Help on this function” hyperlink in the lower-left corner of the dialog. This technique works with all documented Excel functions.

            5. Copy stuff down the column without scrolling with Ctrl+D

            If you added a formula in a new column on the right of a huge dataset, and you want to copy that formula down without scrolling, do these steps:

            • go to the right to the column that has data (the column to the left of the new column with the formula);
            • press Ctrl+Down – to get to bottom;
            • move one cell to the right (with arrow key naturally);
            • press Ctrl+Shift+Up to select the new column, at the top of which is the formula you just created;
            • press Ctrl+D to fill down the formula.

            6. Quick access to any function with Alt+

            By customizing the quick access toolbar, you can create simple shortcuts to commands that you would otherwise have to find in the Ribbon tabs, or macros you have created yourself.

            The keyboard shortcut is simply selecting Alt+ (the number of the command you wish to select).

            For example, if you have customized your quick access toolbar to have Calc Sheet, Save, Open. To calculate sheet you would hit Alt+1, for save Alt+2, and for open Alt+3.

            A lot of people are unaware of this useful function, and it’s a great time saver.

            7. Format cells with Ctrl+1

            When you need to format cells, use Ctrl+1. Most people know this as the shortcut for the Format Cells dialog, but you can also use it to format almost anything in Excel, without a care about the state of the ribbon. Try this amazing and simple shortcut!

            8. Choose visible cells with Alt+

            When you need to choose visible cells only – use Alt+. This is the trick to copy only what you see. It is a priceless shortcut when you’re manually hiding rows and columns in the table.

            9. Use filtering

            Filtering – it is a powerful way to slice, dice, and sort through a huge table of information.

            It’s amazingly effective when you’re participating in a meeting to discuss something like a sales forecast, and everyone is looking in real-time at your spreadsheet projected on a screen (or on their monitors).

            To some people, you will be seen as the God of Spreadsheets, and this is not a joke!

            10. Insert or delete column/row easily with the Ctrl key

            Some people waste a lot of time even for simple operations, for example, when they need to insert/delete columns and rows in Excel.

            Use this shortcut to insert: with an entire row or column selected, use Ctrl+Shift ++.

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            To delete: with an entire row or column selected, use Ctrl + –.

            11. See formula results with F9

            If you want to check formula results within multiple formulas, highlight the formula and select F9 to see formula result.

            Don’t forget to undo before exiting the formula.

            12. Use ALT+Enter for more text within a cell

            If you want to add a second line of text within a cell, use ALT+Enter.

            13. Use EDATE to move a date on by a full calendar month:

            Here’s how to use EDATE:

            =EDATE(15/01/16,+1) = 15/02/2016 (15th Feb 2016)

            =EDATE (15/01/2016,-2) = 15/11/2015 (15th Nov 2016)

            14. Use EOMONTH to move a date onto the end of the month:

            Here’s how to use EMONTH:

            =EOMONTH(15/01/2016,0) = 31/01/2016 (31st Jan 2106)

            =EOMONTH (15/01/2016,-2) = 30/11/2015 (30th Nov 2015)

            15. Remove spaces with TRIM

            TRIM is a useful function known by few people. It removes any spaces at the beginning of a value. This is useful if you are pulling in values from somewhere else.

            16. Repeat commands with F4 or Ctrl+Y

            In many cases, you may need to repeat your last action. Use F4 or Ctrl+Y; you can repeat many commands like applying the same borders, format, or insert a worksheet again.

            17. Quick access to cells with the Ctrl key and Shift key

            When you need to go to the first or last cell of a worksheet, no matter where you are, use Ctrl+Home, Ctrl+End combinations.

            And here is a pleasant bonus for you: add the Shift key to select everything on the way!

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            18. Use Ctrl+ to create a timestamp

            If you need a date stamp and/or a timestamp in your document, there is no need to type a date and time! Use shortcuts Ctrl+ ; (date) Ctrl+Shift+ : (time). It works like a magic and helps to save your time and nerves.

            19. Use autosum shortcut for sum function anywhere

            Autosum shortcut – use Alt =. It is a “magic” shortcut of Excel to automatically insert a sum function.

            You can use this shortcut to sum rows, columns, or even an entire table in one step without wasting your time.

            20. Use data validation

            This is an amazing but underutilized tool in Excel, which can be used for a variety of things:

            • Create dependent drop-down lists;
            • Create drop-down lists;
            • Protect/restrict data input of specific cells (without the need for VBA macros).

            21. Use conditional formatting

            It can be used for various purposes such as color format or cell format of cells, rows or columns based on dependent cell values or formats.

            22. Use formula auditing

            This is a great tool to analyze and trace precedent or dependent cells, check errors and evaluate formulas.

            The “Watch Window” is a feature to keep a snapshot of an area of the spreadsheet, and then move to another area of the workbook – particularly valuable if you’re managing large spreadsheets or don’t have a second screen.

            23. Use Scenario Manager to generate summary outputs of a spreadsheet

            Scenario Manager (under “What-if Analysis”) enables users to generate high-level, summary outputs of a spreadsheet – without the need to replicate the entire workbook.

            It will present multiple scenarios of a spreadsheet in a succinct, high-level summary worksheet.

            24. Use INDIRECT to set up large tables

            INDIRECT makes it easy to set up tables which reference larger tables without a lot of referencing work or cutting and pasting; especially for dynamic spreadsheets.

            25. Use OFFSET for complicated calculations or formulas

            OFFSET can be useful for things like calculating YTD numbers or creating formulas that take data in rows and using in columns.

            The bottom line

            As you can see, when you have a boring or tedious job to do, the best way to do it fast is not looking for a way how to avoid it, but searching for the shortest variant to do it!

            That is why we suggest keeping in mind these Excel shortcuts that will help you to save a lot of time and nerves.

            If it seems hard for you to remember all them, you can print out the list of shortcuts and keep it on your worktable. Use it to search for some help when you need it, and over time, you’ll remember all shortcuts easily.

            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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