Time saving tips for Excel

It doesn’t take long for what was a simple spreadsheet to grow and become a monstrous maze of data. These become increasingly difficult to navigate and work with, making the simplest tasks take an unnecessary amount of time.

While it’s no substitute to proper Excel Training, Microsoft included several handy shortcuts and little-used functions that once used become essential for future spreadsheet set up, manipulation and navigation.


If you find that you are spending most of your time performing the same monotonous spreadsheet tasks, such as copying data from one place to another, you need to look into is setting up your own macros.

Excel Macro 1

Name your Macro and set its shortcut once you have pressed the 'Record Macro' button.

Built using VBA (Visual Basic for Applications), a Microsoft built event-driven programming language; macros allow the user to create a set of instructions which it can complete within the parameters you set. This means that you can set them up to automatically perform tasks such as cell formatting, cell selection, adding or removing rows or columns or even adding a date into your spreadsheet.

Excel Macro 2

Once you have recorded your macro press your shortcut on a selected cell to run it.

Luckily, you don’t need to learn a whole new programming language to create your own, as Excel handily has its own macro recorder built in. Using the recorder you can record your keystrokes and mouse clicks, thus allowing you to click record, perform your task and end recording. Your macro can be given a shortcut, typically a combination of ‘Ctrl’ + whatever key you choose, so you can deploy it quickly and easily when you need it most.

Be warned though, the Macro Recorder function is kept in very different areas in varying versions on Excel; for example in Excel 2007 and 2010 you have to enable the “Developer” tab before you can start creating your little time savers.

For some more great time saving tips why don’t you take a look at this article on Conditional Formatting to find duplicate and unique values.  

Take Control with Ctrl

Excel SelectThose shortcut junkies amongst us will be pleased to hear that Excel has its own built in shortcuts to help ease your navigational fears. By holding down the ‘Ctrl’ button and pressing one of the directional keys you will be transported to the very outer edge, which edge depends on the direction you pressed of course, of your data where your last populated cell resides. Plus if you do this while holding ‘shift’ you select all of the cells between where you were and your destination.

Another handy use of ‘Ctrl’ is the ability to select multiple cells by clicking on them with the all important button held down. This is extremely helpful when used along side the Auto Calculate function.

If copy and pasting isn’t quick enough for you, then by selecting any cells you want to copy an entry into, type out the entry and the pressing ‘Ctrl’ + ‘Enter’ whatever you have typed will be copied into the selected cells.

With Excel having so many features crammed into it we are barely scratching the surface of what you can do with this office essential. No matter what standard you are there is bound to be many tips and tricks you are unaware of, which is why Excel training is so important, and with Beginners Excel Training and Advanced Excel Training available you can really make your life easier through knowing more about this wonderful program.


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Andy Trainer

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