Excel is one of the jewels in Microsoft’s crown, and one of the most frequently used pieces of software worldwide for many and varied purposes. Very few people have ever attended a structured course on how to use the software to its full potential, and subsequently, the majority of users are missing out on many of the features and benefits provided.
The purpose of this article is not to try and give you an in-depth training course on Excel, but rather to teach you four quick, easy, and productive tips that you can start using immediately. These tips have a very small learning curve, but have the potential to significantly enhance your use of Excel.
1. Quickly Add More Than One Column Or Row
As your use of Excel becomes more advanced and sophisticated, you will frequently run into the scenario of needing to add extra columns or rows. This is fine when you simply want to add an occasional row or column, but sometimes you might need to add 200 at a time. Trying to achieve this by adding rows individually would be both time consuming and tedious. The good news is that there is a quick and easy solution to this problem. All that you need to do is highlight the number of rows or columns you want to add, right click and select insert, and you will instantly have the additional columns or rows added. This tip has the potential to save you many hours and will quickly become one of your most used shortcuts.
2. Use The Tab And Enter Keys For Quicker Data Entry
When it comes to entering large quantities of data into a spreadsheet, it is essential that you are fully aware of the keyboard shortcuts, to speed up the process. To begin the data entry process, select the cell where you want to type your first piece of data. If you subsequently want to move to the next cell on the right, hit the tab key. When you are ready to drop to the row below, then use the enter key.
The above two points are relatively well known by most Excel users, but many users are unaware that to go in reverse you simply need to use the shift key and the same combination as above. So to move left hit the shift and tab key, and to move up a row it is shift and enter. You will be surprised how quickly this becomes second nature, and this method is much quicker than trying to use the arrow keys. This excellent video will teach you further ways to navigate within Excel.
3. Create A New Shortcut Menu
When you first begin using Excel it comes with a standard set of shortcuts setup, namely save, undo typing and repeat typing. While these shortcuts might be the most frequently used for some people, they may not suit your workflow. The good news is that it is possible to create a shortcut menu that provides the options you require. Let’s say you want to add, cut, and copy as a shortcut. Select File -> Options -> Quick Access Toolbar -> and then add Cut and Copy from the left column to the right. You will then find two new options available in the top menu.
4. Quickly Delete Blank Cells
As you continue to work on Excel, certain pieces of data will no longer be required and you might even delete the data to avoid confusion. Over time this can leave large numbers of blank cells which means extended scrolling, and wasted time. Luckily, there is a quick and easy way to delete all the blank cells. Select the column you want to edit and then select Data -> Filter. Change the option at the bottom from select all to blanks. This will identify all of the blanks; now, go to home and then delete to remove all of the blanks.
All of the above tips and tricks are quick and easy to learn and master, and they will rapidly become second nature. Once you are confident in using them, continue to expand your knowledge with more shortcuts. Having an in-depth working knowledge of Excel is a valuable skill in any workplace.