5 Must Know Excel Hacks

5 Must Know Excel Hacks

In business today we don’t have enough time to do all the things we want or need to get done, as a result we are always looking for hacks or shortcuts to fast track common tasks.

Here are 5 of my favourite must know Excel hacks that are so simple you may be overlooking them and their ability to immediately improve your productivity and reduce your stress with Microsoft Excel.

1. Duplicating a Worksheet

So many people copy and paste data from one excel worksheet to another only to find they lose column widths, along with any formatting such as bolding, currency or shading resulting in lost time having to rework formatting to suit.

A much faster way to duplicate a worksheet is to place the mouse pointer on the worksheet tab to be duplicated; hold down the left mouse key and the Ctrl key and drag the tab to the right. You will notice a little + sign. When the tab reaches the desired location, release the mouse key and then let go of the Ctrl key.

Voila, worksheet duplicating with formatting. All you need to do is remove any data not needed.

2. Format Painter

Many people have worked with the Format Painter before, however you may not know that if you click on a cell containing the formatting you want to apply elsewhere, then double click on the Format Painter icon you can continue “painting” the formatting of the source cell as much as you like. This is really helpful if you need to format non adjacent cells, saving having to repeat the process multiple times. Simply click on a cell containing the desired formatting, double click on the Format Painter icon then click on the cells to be formatted the same. When finished, either press the Esc key on the keyboard, or click the Format Painter icon to switch painting off.


3. Separating one worksheet from an Excel file

Ever wanted to send one worksheet in an Excel file to someone but don’t want them to have all the other worksheets in the file? I’ve worked with clients who would save the file with a new name then delete the worksheets they didn’t want to send and then send the new file.

A much easier way is to copy a single worksheet to a new workbook. To do this, simply right click on the desired worksheet; choose Move or Copy; be sure to check the copy box in the bottom left first, then from the drop arrow beside the file name, choose New Book, then click OK.

Excel automatically creates a new file with just that worksheet. The bonus is if you want to send this to someone you don’t even need to save the file. Simply click the File tab and choose Share and from there you can easily email your spreadsheet to someone without the need to even save it.

Genius move!

4. Quick Graph Creation

It’s five minutes before a meeting and you (or maybe your manager) decide it would be a good idea to create a graph to visually display information that you are sharing.

No need to cue the Mission Impossible music! Simply highlight all the data to be graphed, including any labels and press the F11 key on the keyboard (if you are on a laptop, and F11 on its own doesn’t create a graph, you may need to combine F11 with the Fn key to the left of the space bar) to create a quick graph that can be copied and pasted into a document, PowerPoint presentation or placed side by side with the data on the worksheet.

Mission Is Possible!

5. Fast Autosum

One of the most common tasks done in Excel is to sum or add numbers together. Most people are familiar with Autosum, the funny looking ∑. Clicking Autosum automatically adds up numbers in the adjacent cells.

But did you know if you have a range of cells to add up, such as four columns of information, plus four lines of data you can highlight the cells, including where you want the totals to display, then click the Autosum icon?

Excel will automatically total each column and row.

Want to check the answers are correct? Highlight the cells you want to add up, don’t forget to exclude the total, and check the status bar at the bottom right corner of the Excel window. Sum will display the sum of highlighted cells.

Wow, that’s Supersumming!

Whilst there are heaps more tricks, these are some of my favourites.

Want more? Download my free 39 Excel Tips & Shortcuts for business at www.donnahanson.com.au/39excel whilst you are there, join my monthly eNewsletter list to keep growing your skills with Microsoft Office.

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