Excel has a reputation for being a bit dreary. Few people would think you could cheer up your day using spreadsheets, but you can! Use these sneaky Excel tricks on your co-workers for a few laughs on a Friday afternoon (possibly not from the victim). There is a way to have fun on Excel!
Disclaimer: Silicon Beach Training will not be held accountable for any lost tempers, friendships or jobs as a result of playing pranks on co-workers/ the boss.
For some less nefarious uses of Excel why not have a look at the rest of our Excel Free Resources or for if you need help with the basics then our Beginners Microsoft Excel Training Course might be perfect for you.
1. Paste as Picture
This trick is only worth a few seconds of merriment but it is entertaining watching somebody trying and failing to type in an image. You can do this by copying data and then pasting it as an image.
Select the range of data you want to convert into an image, ie. A1:C11, right click and copy. Then click Home> Paste> As Picture> Past as Picture.
The data will still be there but as an image (the image is on top of the existing data so deleting the image won’t delete the data).
This isn’t the most subtle trick but will make most people double take when they try and select a cell.
2. Change scrolling direction
Reverse the alignment of a spreadsheet with this quick trick. Not many people know how to do this so your unsuspecting victim may soon lose their patience!
Open the Developer tab (you may have to go Excel Options> Popular and then click the box ‘Show Developer Tab’ for this to appear) and then click Properties. A window will appear:
The second option is ‘DisplayRightToLeft’. Select True and the spreadsheet will now appear backwards:
Make it even trickier to change back by removing the developer tab!
3. Talking Cells
This prank requires speakers so is great for getting your own back on those who tend to get distracted by youtube. Activating this trick results in Excel speaking the contents of a cell when anything is entered and can be really eerie for an unsuspecting user.
First you need to add a new button to the toolbar. Go to Customize Quick Access Toolbar and then More Commands.
Choose commands from ‘All Commands’ not the default ‘Popular Commands’ and then find ‘Speak Cells on Enter’, click Add and then OK.
A new button will now appear on your toolbar:
When ‘Speak Cells on Enter’ is selected, any time data is entered into a cell it will be read out by the computer. If you then remove the button Excel will continue to read out cell information but there won’t be an easy way for the user to stop it other than turning their speakers off.
More effective using Word but equally fun in Excel, you can set Autocorrect to automatically change common words such as ‘and’ to an amusing alternative/insult such as ‘dingbat’.
To do this go to Options> Proofing> Autocorrect Options:
Add any changes you wish to make to wind up your co-workers. Here’s what my spreadsheet looks like if autocorrect is set to change ‘data’ to ‘dingbat':
This is the sort of change you can make but not see any results for a while if you’re careful. Just when your ‘victim’ thinks they’ve sorted out your meddling they’re hit with autcorrect. Here’s another dormant change you can make:
5. Custom Lists
The last trick is a sneaky one that could easily go unnoticed. A commonly used Excel tip is the Auto-fill function, allowing you to drag down from the bottom right corner of a cell to fill in a predetermined list on Excel. This could be to continue a set of numbers (1,2,3 etc.) or text (January, February, March etc.). Excel is set up with a number of Auto-fill lists and can work out number sequences but you can also customise lists.
The mischievous way of achieving this is to edit a common list – days of the week for example – with a humorous addition. Go to Excel Options > Popular > Custom Lists:
The default lists are for days of the week and months as these are the most common so add a new days of the week list. Click ‘New List’ and type in ‘Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Not Your Day Today, Friday, Saturday, Sunday’ – this would really be a breaking point if you had already used all the other pranks!
As a result of this, when using the auto-fill function, the user will end up with days of the week that look like this:
So there you have it – there is fun to be had with Excel! That said we do not recommend using these as you will get in trouble but if you have a light-hearted colleague who will take it as a joke and has left their computer unlocked at lunch then at least tell them the changes you’ve made shortly afterwards. Also consider making a backup of any open files so they don’t mess up their work!
If you really are bored of Excel then perhaps you aren’t taking full advantage of the powerful tools at your disposal. Silicon Beach Training run an Advanced Microsoft Excel Training Course for those who wish to expand their knowledge past the basic application of spreadsheets.