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.
While selecting a number of cells, it’s easy to accidentally click on a cell you didn’t intend to include. But you don’t have to start over with your selection after every misclick. You can deselect the mistakes.
Press and hold the [Ctrl] key while clicking on any cells you want to deselect. While holding down [Ctrl], you can also click on any additional cells you want to add to your selection.
This feature is only available with an Office 365 subscription.
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 make filtering your table even more straightforward, use Slicers. Select a range within a table or PivotTable, then click on the Insert tab on the main ribbon. In the Filters group, click on Slicer. In the resulting Insert Slicers dialog box, choose the column you want to filter. Excel creates labeled buttons that allow you to filter your table with a single click. After clicking on one of the buttons to filter your table, you can choose more buttons by clicking on the Multi-Select button. When you’re ready to undo the filter, click on the Clear Filter button.
To apply cell styles, select all the cells you wish to format. Choose the Home tab on the ribbon, and in the Styles group, click on Cell Styles and choose the style you’d like to apply. You can also create your own personalized cell styles by clicking on Cell Styles | New Cell Style.
To get a quick handle on your data, change the color of your cells according to their numerical values. Select the entire block of data you want to format. Select the Home tab on the main ribbon, and then, in the Styles group, click on Conditional Formatting. Choose Color Scales from the resulting menu, and then mouse over the options to see a preview. Click on the option you prefer. Excel automatically applies a color gradient based on the range of numerical data in the cell. For example, if the data in your selected cells ranges from 1.29 to 275, and you choose the Red – Yellow – Green color scale, small numbers (e.g., 1.99) will be green, mid-range numbers (e.g., 12.49) will be yellow, and large numbers (e.g., 255) will be red. The smaller the number, the darker the shade of green. This striking graphic contrast allows you to quickly pick out the largest and smallest numbers in your selection, as well as the middle values.
For example, say your worksheet lists attendee registration information for your company’s recent training session, and you’d like to know how many states (or countries) were represented at your training. A quick Excel filter will provide a list of every unique entry.