Most of us use spreadsheets for one purpose or another – whether you’re a student doing research for an essay, a small business owner putting together balance sheets or a freelancer trying to keep track of income streams, the majority of us will use spreadsheets on a reasonably regular basis.
It’s easy to understand why too. Programs like Microsoft Excel are hugely popular all over the world for their versatility and ease of use, whilst still offering powerful features for those of us who need a more advanced option. Of course, most of us don’t take advantage of Pivot Tables or advanced formulas, but there are still a handful of easy-to-use yet surprisingly powerful functions that could dramatically improve your spreadsheets.
Here are three of our favourite simple tricks for Excel, if you’d like more we thoroughly recommend you check out this infographic from STL:
- Adding filters to your data
If you’re working with a large amount of information, it can be tricky to quickly find what you’re looking for, or to organise your sheets in a way that helps you make decisions. To overcome this, you can use a simple filter – to add them, click on the Data tab and then select Filter. This will add filters (appearing as small triangles) in the header cell of each column. From here you can click the triangle and select the logic you want to use, including sorting by ascending or descending, sorting by colour, sorting by date or adding your own custom filter. It will also allow you to quickly and easily search your data for a specific piece of information.
- Adding multiple rows quickly
Adding new rows can be quite laborious if you’re adding them one at a time, but there’s a much quicker way of adding several new rows to a sheet. For example, if you want to add 20 new rows, simply highlight 20 existing rows, and then right click, select Insert and then select Add New Row. Instead of adding just one, it will add 20.
- Conditional formatting
This might sound like an advanced feature, but it’s actually very simple and incredibly useful. This feature allows you to specify a colour for cells containing certain information, making busy worksheets much easier to manage. For example, let’s say you want to highlight all numbers that are lower than 10, you can easily do this. Highlight the group of cells you want to format, select the Home tab and click Conditional Formatting. Then select the logic you want to apply from the dropdown (there are plenty available) and select OK.