Office Wins: 5 Time-Saving Tips and Tricks for Excel

February 24, 2017

Learning how to use all that Microsoft Excel has to offer will not only help you do more in the day, but it’ll also help show your manager and colleagues your full potential. Win and win. And with just a handful of tips and tricks, you will be excelling at Excel in no time at all.

1) Quicker, Easier Sorting

One of the most basic, but most effective, features of Excel is the ability to sort data. However, trying to select all of the cells you want to sort can be time-consuming and awkward. See below. 

 

There’s no need to highlight all of the data to sort and filter. Click on any cell in the column and then click the desired Sort button.

 

Excel is often smart enough to know your intention without too much input. If only that were true for co-workers and managers, too.

2) Style the Table

Spreadsheets have a bad reputation. And that’s partially because they’re really not the most visually appealing things.

 

That’s why there are Table Styles. These useful shortcuts in Excel will save time while also making data more visually appealing to others. To access them, go to Home > Format as Table

 

And choose a style.

Simple as that. Next thing you know, colleagues will be requesting your help designing all kinds of things! Great?

3) Crunch the Numbers

The PivotTable feature is one of the most powerful tools in Excel. It helps you quickly analyze a large amount of data. And the best part is it can be as complex or as simple as you need it to be.

Creating a PivotTable is very easy. While in any cell in your data, click Insert > PivotTable

 

And your PivotTable is automatically created in another tab.

 

Now you can easily see that more money was spent on disposable coffee cups than on coffee. And that seems odd, so you might want to look into what is being done with all of those cups.

4) Save Time Typing Lists

One of the first magical things we learn to do in Excel is use Auto Fill. Why type Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, etc., over and over? Let Auto Fill do the typing!

 

But you can also create custom lists of things like a group of employees, specific products, distribution locations or anything else you may need to repeatedly type. Simply go to File > Options > Advanced

 

Scroll to General and click on Edit Custom Lists.

 

Click Add and type or paste in your list. Separate the entries by commas or by pressing return between each one.

 

And now you know how to turn anything into an Auto Fill list in Excel.

 

Even if the shortcut saves only a few minutes each day, that could be the difference between working late and getting out on time!

5) Watch the Rounding

Whoever said “numbers don’t lie” must have never dealt with formulas and decimals in Excel. To show you what we mean, see the calculation of data below.

 

Simple, right? Sort of. The calculation doesn’t look correct, but it actually is. If you increase the decimal point by one place, as demonstrated below, you’ll see that the numbers being displayed have been rounded.

 

Basically, troubleshoot by checking the actual numbers that are entered in the cell, not just what the cell is displaying. If the numbers are being rounded, that could really affect calculations for inventory, budgets, etc. Think of Excel as that kid whose dog ate his homework — when things aren’t adding up, you’re probably not being told the whole story.

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