Excel spreadsheet is the premiere application used by many industries to frame business plans, create financial reports, produce budget reports, etc. In simple words, Excel spreadsheets are used to systematize your work life. While Excel is a powerful spreadsheet tool, one can ever get to work, mastering Excel can be time-consuming and it would probably require some patience to work with Excel spreadsheets.
Managing and Calculating data in Excel with advanced formulas requires your through skills in financial analysis and is way more critical than we imagine. Some jobs have monotonous steps which will require you to repeat unnecessary tasks over and over again which will waste your time.
It is important to take your Excel skills to the next level to make sure that your methods of using spreadsheets are churning out maximum efficiency. Excel has many integrated features that allow you to get your work done quicker. You can master some of the tips and tricks for most frequently used steps in Excel to improve your efficiency while working with Excel and save your precious time. In this article, we outline some of the tips which you can include in the daily workflow that can liberate you from doing repetitive tasks and help save your time while using Excel.
1. Use AutoFill
Auto Fill is a very useful feature that will automatically fill a series of cells based on the pattern of previous cells. Suppose you want to enter a column with names of a month, simply enter Jan. Select the cell and drag it down. The Autofill magically fills in the month names based on the previous pattern.
2. Use Flash Fill
Flash Fill automatically combines and extracts data based on the data pattern entered in the first column. For example, if your first column has abc/123/xyz and you want to extract the value 123 into the second column. Simply enter the data in the first cell. By the second cell, excel will know the pattern and displays what you want them to look like by simply using Flash Fill in the Data Tools group.
In the same way, you can flash fill to combine the data. .For example, if you have email addresses in the first column, you can use Flash fill to create the first column by entering the correct email pattern and first name in the second column. In simple words, if you want to extract or combine the data, simply click on Flash Fill in the Data Tools session by typing the pattern how you want them to display.
3. Use the F4 key to automate the repetitive task
The F4 key is the most popular keyboard shortcut used which will save your time while doing repetitive work. If you are repeating the same steps over and over again, you can automate the repetitive tasks by using the F4 key. The F4 simply repeats your last action or command. Additionally, you can use F4 key To close the workbook and Excel window. Press ctrl+F4 to close the workbook and use Alt+F4 to close the Excel.
4. Use Ctrl keyboard shortcut
There are many keyboard shortcuts which provide the most efficient and faster ways to complete a repetitive task.
Ctrl+Shift+down arrow – selects all the data in the column below the cell.
Ctrl+Shift+up arrow– selects all the data in the column above the cell.
Ctrl+Shift+right arrow– selects all the data to the right in the row
Ctrl+Shift+left arrow– selects all the data to the left in the row
Ctrl+Shift+ End – jumps the cursor to the lowest right cell containing a data in a worksheet and selects ever cell with data in between the first cell you want to select and the lowest right cell with data.
To know more about the CTRL keyboard shortcuts, check the list on office.com.
5. Add a note to explain formulas and functions using N()function
You can annotate cell with explanatory notes which will help you to remember and explain complex functions and formulas to other spreadsheet users. To include comments to the complex formulas simply add +N(“your comments “) at the end of the formula. For example, a cell with formula =Sum(B1:B2: B3) +N(“your note on formula”) displays both comments and formula when you click on that cell.
6. Use Paste specials for quick calculations
You can perform quick calculation like addition, subtraction, multiplication or division in the spreadsheet by using Paste Special instead of using formulas. This feature is easy to use and is extremely useful for small calculations to get your work done quicker. For example, if you have a column with a list of numbers which you want to divide it by 100. Type 100 in a cell and copy it. Select the list of the number which you want to divide by 100 and click Paste special. In this dialogue box, select the Divide option. This method will instantly divide all the selected numbers by 100.
Which tricks do you use most frequently to save time while working in Excel? Do share in the comments below.