December 21, 2021

10 Excel Hacks to Master Spreadsheets Efficiently

Spreadsheets remain one of the most used tools worldwide. From solving math problems to budgeting, organizing lists to storing and sorting data, spreadsheets are so versatile that they are essential for marketing, accounting, data analytics, human resources, and other departments. They are also successfully used by small product-making businesses to keep track of inventory before scaling operations and adopting manufacturing ERP software.

Here are our top 10 Excel features that will help you manage spreadsheets faster and more efficiently.

Create a dropdown list

To create a dropdown list in a cell, start by selecting the cell in question and click Data > Data Validation. Choose the settings that suit your spreadsheet and select “OK”. Now, when you highlight the cell, a small dropdown arrow will appear to the right of the cell.

Freeze panes

When working with a large spreadsheet, you might want to keep certain columns or rows in view while scrolling. To do this, use Excel’s freeze panes function. Simply select the cells you want to freeze and go to View > Freeze Panes. A checkmark will appear next to the menu item to indicate that the panes are frozen.

Sum a column or row

To quickly sum up all the numbers in a column or row, use the SUM function. Select the cell that will contain the total and then type “=SUM(“. Then, highlight the cells you want to include in the sum and hit enter.

Hide cells from view

If you deal with confidential information you can use Excel’s “Hide Cells” function to hide it from view. To do this, select the cells you want to hide and go to Format > Conditional Formatting > Hide Cells. Choose a condition for hiding the cells and you’re done.

Insert a hyperlink

To add interactivity to your spreadsheet, you can insert hyperlinks into cells. Select the cell of your choice and go to Insert > Hyperlink. Type the URL of the website or document you want to link to in the dialog box.

Sort data

Excel offers many options to sort data. One option is to select the cells you want to sort and go to Data > Sort. A dialog box will pop up and let you choose how you want to sort your data.

Create a chart

If you want to display your data in a visual format, you can use Excel to create charts based on your spreadsheet data. Simply select the cells you want to include in the chart and go to Insert > Chart. A dialog box will pop up and let you choose the type of chart you want to create.

Format cells

To format a cell’s contents, you can use Excel’s shortcut keys. For example, to make text bold, simply press Ctrl/Command + B. To make text italics, press Ctrl/Command + I. You can also use shortcuts to change the spreadsheet’s font, alignment, size, and color easily.

Reorder columns & rows

You can reorder spreadsheet columns and rows with a simple drag-and-drop technique. First click on the column or row header of the item you would like to move, and once you see the four-headed arrow, you can drag it to a new location.

Protect your spreadsheet

If you don’t want anybody else to edit your spreadsheet from being edited or have it deleted by mistake, use Excel’s protection features. Simply select the cells you want to protect and go to Tools > Protection > Protect Sheet. Then, choose the level of protection you want to apply in the dialogue box.

Excel offers so many tips and tricks, shortcuts, and interesting techniques to manage data. These are just a few basic hacks to help you work faster and more efficiently. Once you have the basics in place, you can use more advanced methods and truly master your spreadsheets. Microsoft offers many templates, tutorials, and explanations on how to make the most out of Excel’s functionality.

About the author 

Peter Hatch

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