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Few Things Excel Users Need to Know

by Uneeb Khan

Excel is a powerful tool for data analysis and organization. However, there are a few things that even experienced Excel users need to know in order to get the most out of the software. In this post, we’ll go over some of the most important tips and tricks for using Excel effectively. Whether you’re just starting out with Excel or you’ve been using it for years, these tips will help you work smarter and more efficiently. So without further ado, let’s dive in!

1. Look up information on Excel functions

Excel includes hundreds of built-in functions that you can use to perform complex calculations. However, it’s easy to forget how they work or what they do if you aren’t using them frequently. Fortunately, Microsoft provides the official documentation for all of the Excel functions here . Keep this website bookmarked and refer to it whenever you need help with an Excel function! It contains detailed information about each function (including syntax, examples, and more) as well as links to additional resources on Microsoft’s website. You can also check out A1office mobile android app for XLSX viewer to view the excel sheets on your mobile 

2. Use keyboard shortcuts

Although many people use the mouse exclusively when working in Excel, keyboard shortcuts are much faster than clicking through menus with a mouse. They can be used regardless of whether you’re using a Mac or PC, and they’re essential to boosting your productivity. Here are some of the most important keyboard shortcuts for Excel (these will work in all versions of Excel, not just the 2016 version).

Ctrl + ; – Enter Date

Ctrl + Shift + : – Enter Time

Shift + F3 – Repeat last entry

Ctrl + B – Bold highlighted selection

Ctrl+Shift+=…/…- Subscript highlighted text

F2  – Edit cell contents

Alt  + Enter  – New line within same cell

Some additional helpful shortcuts can be found here . These ones are specifically for switching between worksheets in Excel. Using this shortcut, you can switch between multiple spreadsheets without changing screens by holding down Ctrl and tapping the sheet’s number.

3. Learn about wildcard characters

Wildcard characters are symbols that can be used in place of other letters or numbers when searching for a particular text string in Excel. In addition to making it easier to find the data you need, they can also help make your spreadsheets more efficient by preventing typos from causing issues with formulas later on down the line. These include:

Question mark (?) – Replace this symbol with a single character anywhere in a word

Exclamation point (!), hyphen (-) – Replace this symbol with any non-space character 

Asterisk (*) – Replace this symbol with multiple characters, but only at the end of a word

Parentheses () – Keep whatever is within these symbols as part of the search string

For example, if you want to highlight every cell that contains a specific word (or words), all you need to do is type that word into the Home tab’s Find and Select section. The cells will turn blue as soon as Excel finds them, rather than having to click on each one individually. Wildcard characters also make it easier to locate text strings in long spreadsheets with many rows and columns.

4. Organize information for easy access

One of the most frustrating things about dealing with large amounts of data is not being able to find what you’re looking for quickly. Fortunately, there are several ways you can structure your Excel spreadsheet so that related data is grouped together and easy to find.

One simple way to do this is by sorting and filtering . This allows you to sort your entire spreadsheet alphabetically, by color (for example, if you’re using conditional formatting) or by location (if you need more of a bird’s eye view). To do this, select the column header (A, B or C) and click Data > Filter , then select the filter type from the drop down menu.

You can also group information together in Excel using tables . Tables allow you to organize columns and rows into logical units so that it’s easier for users to locate specific data points. You can quickly convert existing cells into a table with just one click: on the Insert tab, select Table   and choose whether you want to convert a single cell , a range of cells or an entire worksheet .

5. Protect your work from accidental changes

You’re probably already familiar with the importance of saving your work in progress as you go along. However, that’s not always enough to prevent others from unintentionally messing up the spreadsheet you’ve been working on for hours. Luckily, there are several ways Excel can help you lock down your spreadsheets so that nobody else can modify them without your permission.

To start, click Review > Changes > Protect Sheet . This will open the Protect Sheet dialog box where you will be able to specify exactly who has access to edit and/or view different parts of your spreadsheet (useful if you have multiple people looking at the same file). There are also several other useful spreadsheet security features you should be aware of, including:

Blocking specific cells – On the Data tab, click Protection > Lock Cell . The contents of these cells will appear greyed out and locked for protection. While this is not necessarily ideal in some circumstances (for example, if you want to allow others to update existing values), it does make it easier to protect information like credit card numbers or passwords.

Password protecting your spreadsheet – Under Review > Changes , select Protect Workbook , then choose where you’d like the password prompt to appear (top/bottom/left/right) and enter your desired password.

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