Many consider Microsoft Excel to be the "swiss-army-knife of software" while others have no idea just how extensive its capabilities are. We explore the various different ways different people use the many tools of Excel. Travel deeper into this amazing, versatile productivity provider and expand your own portfolio of magic you can work with Excel.
Without even having to type a formula, Excel automatically displays helpful information about the cells you select. Open a spreadsheet and select several cells containing numeric data. If you look at the status bar at the bottom of your window, you’ll see the average, count, and sum for the selected data. Even better, you can customize the data shown in the status bar. With the cells still selected, right-click on the status bar. Select any additional information you’d like to display.
Excel’s CONVERT function provides an easy way to display your data in another unit of measurement. For example, if you have a list of temperatures in Fahrenheit and you’d like to add a column that displays each temperature in its Celsius equivalent, you need look no further than the CONVERT function.
Let’s assume your first Fahrenheit temperature, 98.6, is located in cell C7. In cell D7, type =CONVERT(C7,"F","C"), where C7 refers to the temperature you want to convert, “F” refers to Fahrenheit, and “C” refers to Celsius.
Excel allows conversions for dozens of units of measurement, including mass, pressure, distance, magnetism, and many others. Search for the term convert in Excel’s help pages to find an exhaustive list of all conversions and their text values you’ll use in your formula. For example, “m” represents meter, “in” represents inch, “T” represents Tesla, and “ga” represents Gauss.
To select your entire dataset, do you always click and drag? For small groups of cells, this method works just fine, but as your dataset grows, you may find it awkward to drag outside the visible window. Sometimes the scrolling speeds up unexpectedly, and you have to really work to select your entire dataset and nothing more. Consider a faster approach: simply press [Ctrl][Shift][*] to select your entire dataset.
Once you click on a cell, you can select the remainder of that column by pressing [Ctrl][Shift][Down Arrow], or you can select the remainder of that row by pressing [Ctrl][Shift][Right Arrow]. Similarly, [Ctrl][Shift][Up Arrow] and [Ctrl][Shift][Left Arrow] select the dataset’s entire column above and to the left of the selected cell, respectively. Combine the arrows for even more options. For example, press [Ctrl][Shift][Up Arrow][Right Arrow] to select everything in the dataset above and to the right of the selected cell, and so on.
Excel adheres to a strict order of operations when calculating formulas. Keep this order in mind when building formulas to ensure accurate results.
Intimidated by Excel’s chart function? You don’t have to be a whiz to get a quick, new perspective on your spreadsheet’s contents.