Excel tips

Use two windows

Do you have worksheets within the same workbook, but would like to view them side by side—rather than needing to click back and forth between the two? Of course, there’s a way you can easily do this. If you’re on a Mac, click “Window” within the main Excel menu and then select “New Window.” If you’re on PC, go to “View” in the Excel ribbon and then select “New Window.” Doing so will open your existing workbook in an entirely new window—so you can position them side by side and avoid a bunch of clicking. The best part? Any changes you make will be applied to both windows—so you don’t need to make changes twice.

Find and replace values

Maybe you noticed an error in your spreadsheet. Or, perhaps you want to update some terminology. There’s no need to scroll through your entire data set to find each individual occurrence of that term or value. Using the “Find and Replace” feature can help you update everything at once. Highlight the cells you want to search and hit Ctrl + F. You’ll be met with a popup where you can enter which term you want to find in the spreadsheet, as well as what you’d like to replace it with. For example, if I wanted to replace the appearance of “Stout” with “Vanilla Stout,” I could use “Find and Replace” to do that in a few short steps. Note: It’s important to be aware that this feature will replace every appearance of the combination of letters that you enter. So, if you had a list of states and wanted to replace CO with AZ, it would replace anywhere that “Co” appears—meaning you could end up with something that says “Azmpany” instead of “Company.”

Embed an Excel spreadsheet

If you’re putting together a proposal, report, or other important document in Word, it can be helpful to embed the contents of your Excel spreadsheet. This is fairly easy to accomplish. To do so, select and then copy the portion of your spreadsheet that you want to embed. Head to Word, and then select “Paste” and “Paste Special.” Within that popup, find and select the option for “Microsoft Excel Worksheet Object,” ensure you select the option for “Paste Link,” and then click “OK.” You will see your spreadsheet embedded in your document (you’ll likely need to do some brief resizing!). Additionally, since you selected the “Paste Link” option, whenever you make changes to your spreadsheet, they’ll automatically be updated in the embedded chart in your Word document. Pretty slick, right? Note: You can also embed an excel spreadsheet in an email. But, the exact directions for that will vary depending on your email provider.

Make a copy of your worksheet

If there’s a worksheet that you find yourself creating regularly—like a monthly report, for example—needing to re-create it from scratch every single time isn’t necessary. Instead, it’s better to make a copy of your entire worksheet, so that all of your formatting and other elements are already there—you just need to swap out any necessary information. To do this, right click on the tab for your worksheet at the bottom and select “Move or Copy.” At that point, you’ll be met with a popup that asks where you’d like your sheet to be moved and where you’d like it to appear. In this example, I want my copied sheet to live in my same workbook, and before my existing “Beer Sales Data” worksheet. So, I select those options, check the box for “Make a Copy,” and end up with an exact replica of my existing sheet to use and revise:

Insert more than one row or column

Needing to insert one row or column at a time can be monotonous. Luckily, there’s a quick trick that allows you to insert multiple rows or columns into your spreadsheet with a single click. This hack is painfully simple: Highlight the number of rows or columns that you want to insert, and then right click and select insert. So, if I want three new, blank columns to appear ahead of my existing “Gallons Sold” column, I would highlight three columns starting with “Gallons Sold” and then click insert. Just like that, I have three brand new columns in my spreadsheet—without the hassle of inserting one at a time. Note: This trick works the very same way with rows. You’d obviously just highlight rows instead of columns.

Apply the same formatting

Let’s say that I need to create another column in my spreadsheet—and I want to apply the same formatting that’s in an existing column. For example, I want the “Total” column I’ve created to also have bold font and the dollar signs like the “Price Per Gallon” column that already exists on my spreadsheet. It’s simple to apply existing formatting to a new column. Select a cell that has the formatting you want and copy that cell. Then, select the section of your spreadsheet that you need to apply that formatting to, right click, select “Paste Special,” and then click the box for formats. Now, when I enter a value in that “Total” column, it’ll automatically appear with bold font and a dollar sign—without me having to do any further manual work.

Move up without scrolling

When you have a particularly large data set, you know that it takes a while (and quite a bit of scrolling) to get all the way to the bottom of your worksheet. And, when you’ve finally made it? The last thing you want to do is scroll all the way back up to the top. Pushing Command (Ctrl on a PC) and the up arrow twice will bring you back to the top of your spreadsheet. Why do you have to hit the up arrow twice? Hitting it once will bring you to the last row of data that appears before an empty row (which, in this case, is the last line of our data). Hitting the up arrow twice brings us all the way back to the top. So, to summarize: Command (or Ctrl on a PC) + Up Arrow Once: Brings you to the last line of data that appears before a blank row Command (or Ctrl on a PC) + Up Arrow Twice: Brings you to the top of your worksheet Note that this shortcut works on Excel for Mac and PC 2016. Shortcuts on Mac may vary depending on your OS, or on older versions of Excel.

Easily format numbers

Let’s say that you have an entire column that contains digits that represent the same thing—like dollar amounts, for example. Right now, there isn’t a dollar sign displayed in front of each number, and you’d like to insert one there. There’s no need to do this one at a time. Simply select the column that contains the digits you want to re-format, and then use the below keyboard shortcut to automatically format that entire column to dollars: Ctrl - Shift - $ With that simple trick, your entire column will be displayed with the dollar sign, any necessary commas, and two points after the decimal point. Note: The same trick works for percentages! Just hit Ctrl - Shift - % to include the percent sign with each digit.

Organize and format your data

It is very easy to make mistakes in complex spreadsheets. But you can easily create and maintain with consistently good Excel files by bringing some style and formatting that will add meaning to your data:

  • Bold header texts
  • Color or Underline the total amounts
  • Italic Notes
  • Alignment So, you can display your data effectively to your clients or manager. Not just for presentations but also you will avoid hidden mistakes which is hard to find sometimes. The few minutes that you spend here, will save your hours.

Creating a New Window

Working with spreadsheets with many numbers cells could be a daunting task, but all could be resolved by opening a new or second window. You must understand that you will have the same view of the spreadsheet you were working on. Here is how you do that:

  • Go to the View tab and click New Window
  • If You want to put them in the order you see fit, click Arrange All
  • If you go and check you will find them arranged horizontally above
  • Then, type something into a cell in one window, you can see it appear in the other window A very handy excel trick if you are dealing with dual monitors.