10 Excel Tips to Improve Your Productivity
Most organizations across the world use Microsoft Excel to accomplish various tasks. You can do simple data analysis to complex tasks like tracking sales, managing inventory and generating memos with Excel. It provides a grid interface that allows users to organize and process different types of data in their own style and structure. However, most users understand Excel as only a program for figures, but there are so many Excel functions and tricks that you can use to increase your productivity.
10 Excel Tips to Improve Your Productivity
Here are top 10 tips for improving your productivity in Microsoft Excel.
- Use Excel templates
- Try Excel charts
- Name Excel cells for reference
- Create beautiful Excel tables
- Easy formatting
- Try flash fill
- Use list data
- Freeze header
- Get quick sum
- Try keyboard shortcuts
Related: Convert rows to columns in Excel.
1. Make Use of Excel Templates
Designing the structure of your information can be tedious and time-consuming. Fortunately, Excel offers a variety of ready-made templates for various tasks, and you don’t have to create a design from scratch.
- To use the Excel templates, open the spreadsheet and then on the “File” drop-down menu select “New”.
- Excel will display a list of templates for various use like financial management, scheduling, project management, calendars and so on.
- Select one of the options, say “Budget” and click the “Create” icon on the resulting pop-up.
- You can now customize the template to suit your requirements.
Note: You can also search for templates online when connected to the Internet.
2. Use Excel Charts
Charts are very helpful in summarizing huge data to simple illustrations that are easy to understand and analyze. Understanding a few tricks for charts in Excel will help you create more meaningful charts in less time.
- Use the “Recommended Chart” feature to figure out the most appropriate chart you can create based on your data.
- Click any cell within the data range and on the “Insert” tab select recommend data.
- Click the various options, preview the chart, and once you find the best choice, click “Ok” to insert.
- Customize the chart using the "Chart Tools" that appears on top of all the menu items.
- You can add more data to the table and Excel will automatically update the chart. To add a column (Q4), type “Q4” on the cell to the right of “Q3” header.
- Enter the data for the fourth quarter and note that the chart automatically displays data for the added column.
Remember, when you want to convert your data table into a chart simply press “Alt + F1” keys. Excel will automatically convert the selected table into an elegant chart.
3. Naming Excel Cells for Easy Referencing
The Excel “Name box” on the left (just) above the cells displays the name of the current select (table, cell and so on).
- By default, the program assigns the name to the cell by combining the column letter and the row number.
- You can assign a custom name to the cells, a range or a table to avoid confusion and to improve speed when referring to a specific cell or range.
- Select the cell or range and right-click it. Select “Define name” from the menu list.
- Type a name for the cell and select scope. You may add some comments to describe the cell on the “Comment” text box and then click “Ok”.
- You use the custom name in excel formula.
Related: Change embedded file name in Excel.
4. Convert Simple Table to Beautiful Excel Tables
Having a simple table of data on your Excel sheet? You can convert the simple table into a good looking Excel table with filter and alternate colors for rows. Just click inside your table and press “Control + F1” keys for converting it into a beautiful Excel table.
5. Easy Formatting
Entering huge data in spreadsheets is not only tedious but also error-prone. A single error in your data can be costly, but with certain tricks, you can minimize the work and errors.
- The basic way to control errors is to format your cell for a specific data type. To do so, select the cell(s) and expand the format “Number” options on the “Home” tab.
- Choose the data type you want to enter in the cells. On the “Number” tab select the category, specify the desired format on the right panel and click “Ok”.
6. Try Flash Fill
- When dealing with data with a particular pattern, use “Flash Fill” to complete the entry automatically.
- Fill in the first few examples, select the next cell and click “Flash Fill” on the “Data” tab.
- Excel will complete filling the rest of the cells.
- When you have a defined list of entries such as product categories, age groups and so on, you can save time and control data entry with a list of options to pick from.
7. Use List Data
- Select the cells and on the “Data” tab go to “Data Validation” tool.
- Under “Allow”, choose “List” and then type your options under source separated with a comma. If you have your list in the spreadsheet, select the range and click “Ok”.
- When filling the data, It will be faster to select from the list that to type.
8. Freeze Header
It is difficult to remember the heading of the column when you work with long and wide sheets. Don’t worry, select the second line below your header and click on “Freeze Panes” option under “View > Freeze Panes” menu. This will freeze the first header row and keep it floating when you scroll the content. This will easily help you to check the heading when you scroll down the sheet.
Similar to first row, you can also freeze the first column of the sheet.
9. Quick Sum, Max, Min and Average
When you have number in a column, press “Control + Shift + T” on Windows or “Command + Shift + T” on Mac to get a quick sum.
On filtered Excel table, you can see a dropdown on the sum. Click on it to get other options like max, min, average, count, standard deviation, etc.
Related: How to compare two Excel workbooks?
10. Use Excel Keyboard Shortcuts
Moving across sheets and different Excel documents can be hassle if you don’t know proper keyboard shortcuts. For example, when you want to have large space, press “Control + F1” to hide the ribbon.
Check out our free Excel keyboard shortcuts guide to become an expert.
The aim of every individual or business is to become more productive and efficient, and Microsoft Excel helps to achieve this goal. For anyone using Excel to complete various tasks, the above tips can increase your data handling speed and accuracy, saving you time and money.