Here's a few tips that might help you become more productive when using Excel,
Microsoft's spreadsheet application.
- You can add a date or time stamp to your worksheet with these Excel shortcuts.
To add the current date to a worksheet cell, hit Ctrl/; (semicolon)
and to add the current time, hit Ctrl/Shft/; (semicolon).
Inserting Rows and Columns
- You can insert a row into an Excel worksheet, by selecting the row below
where you want the new row to appear, then click Insert/Rows. A new
row will be inserted and the rows below will shift down by one.
- To insert a column into a worksheet, select the column to the left of the
spot where you want the new column added, then click Insert/Columns.
A new column will be inserted and the columns to the right will shift over
Inserting Page Breaks
Sometimes you need to adjust the page by adding manual page breaks. To
insert a horizontal page break, move the cell pointer to the cell where
you want the page break to begin. Make sure you've clicked in a cell in
the A column. Click Insert/PageBreak. A page break
will be inserted just above the cursor position.
- To add a vertical page break you'll also click Insert/PageBreak,
but this time position the cursor in the cell where you want the new page
to begin and make sure you've selected a cell in Row 1. A vertical
page break will be inserted before the current location.
Borders and Shading
- You can bring special attention to areas of a worksheet by adding borders
and/or shading to cells, rows or columns. To add a border to a cell, click
in the cell, then click Format/Cells/Border. Select the line style
you want to use and click on the sides of the cell, in the dialog image, where you want the border to be placed in your spreadsheet. To remove the border, click on None in this border dialog box or click on the individual button(s) for the ones you want removed. You can also
use the Border button on the formatting toolbar.
- To add shading to an area, select the cell, row, column or area you want
changed. Click Format/Cells/Pattern and select the color you want to
highlight the selected area. You can then also click on the Pattern dropdown
to add a new pattern. Note that if you're printing to a black and white printer,
it's best to stick with shades of gray to ensure you can read the printout.
Colors print in gray shades on non-color printers and the color you pick might be too dark to read the information in the cell. Yellow would
print as light gray, whereas shades of blue can print nearly black. You can also
use the Fill button on the formatting toolbar.
Charting Missing Data
- There may be a time when you have data to plot in a graph, but you realizing
some of the data is missing in the worksheet. You can still create a chart,
even with holes in the data. Click Tools/Options/Chart. There you'll
find three options to handle the missing data. Not Plotted will leave
gaps in the graph where the data is missing. Zero will enter a zero
into the missing location. Interpolated will estimate the missing number by
calculating it's assumed value by referencing the number values on either
side of the missing data.
- Should you need to add a title to a table or chart, rather than typing a
long title into a single cell, you might want to select an area and merge
the cells to make a larger area. To do this, select the area to merge. Click
Format/Cells/Alignment. At the bottom, click Merge Cells. While
you're in there, you might also want to click Wrap Text so the text
will stay within the limits of the cell and be more easily read.
- Say you have a column of data that contains both first and last names of
customers, but you'd like the data split up with the first names in one column
and the last names in another. You can easily click on the column to select
it and click Data/Text to Columns to open a parsing wizard. A few clicks
to make choices, like using the space as the separator character, and the
data will be separated and move. The result will be the first name in one
column, the last names in the next. Note, however, that if there is already data in the columns
to the right, be sure to first add a new blank column so the last names have
a clear column in which to be moved. If you don't, the last names will overwrite the data
in the destination column!