Step Up Your Game in Excel

April 6th, 2012

You may wish to impress your boss because you want a promotion, or a raise, or you just want to stand out from the crowd. No matter the purpose, the first question is how?

Why not look into Excel? This spreadsheet program may seem like just a simple, albeit essential, business tool, but the truth is there are several lesser-known Excel tips that enable you to work more efficiently.

  • Hiding Information: You might wonder why you would want to hide certain information in a spreadsheet. Well, suppose the spreadsheet which includes all your data about the company also has everyone’s salary. That is private information that you don’t want to reveal at the meeting. Simple hide the column or row by clicking the related number or letter to highlight it, then right-click on that highlighted row or column and choose the Hide option from the popup menu. You may then Unhide the row or column in the same manner when the meeting is over.
  • Timestamping: If you want to attach a date to your spreadsheet, you can use the Timestamp feature. Just hold Ctrl as you press the semicolon key. If you want the current date and time hold down the Ctrl and Shift keys while pressing the semicolon.
  • A Better-Looking Spreadsheet: Give your spreadsheet a fresh look by using Excel’s Themes option. You can find this in the Excel Ribbon, at the top. Click it, and you will be given a huge variety of fonts, and color schemes that you can apply to your spreadsheet. You can also build your own!
  • Tracking Trends: This is only applicable for those who have a more recent version of Excel. The feature is called Sparklines and with it you can create charts that show trends in the information in your spreadsheet. One way this can be used is to easily and quickly see how many software bundles your company’s salespeople sold in the first quarter of 2011.
  • Conditional Formatting: With conditional formatting, you can instantly customize the look of spreadsheet cells that meet certain conditions. For instance, a cell showing that product sales rose by more than 100 percent in a given month might take on a different shade so that it quickly sticks out.

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