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10 Fun and Useful Excel Tips You Probably Don’t Know

We all know Excel is a powerful spreadsheet program. But there are so many features and shortcuts built into the program that...

Harmandeep Singh Written by Harmandeep Singh · 7 min read >
Useful Excel Tips

We all know Excel is a powerful spreadsheet program. But there are so many features and shortcuts built into the program that even experienced users may not be aware of everything that Excel can do. In this article, we’ll share 10 tips that can help you work smarter and faster in Excel.

1. Use conditional formatting to highlight important data points

2. Create drop-down lists to make data entry easier

3. Use the text to columns feature to quickly split data into separate columns

4. Use Pivot Tables to summarize and analyze large data sets

5. Take advantage of keyboard shortcuts to save time

6. Use the spell checker to avoid mistakes

7. Use cell references to create dynamic formulas

8. Insert hyperlinks to quickly jump to other sheets or files

9. Use the goal seek feature to find the right input values for your formulas

10. Take advantage of free Excel templates to save time on common tasks

By learning some of these tips, you can make better use of Excel’s features and streamline your workflow. So let’s get started!

1. Use conditional formatting to highlight important data points

One of Excel’s most useful features is conditional formatting, which allows you to apply formatting options to cells based on certain conditions. For example, you could use conditional formatting to highlight all cells in a column that contain a value greater than 100. Or you could format cells based on whether they contain a certain text string.

When it comes to inserting images, there are a few things to keep in mind. For example, you’ll want to make sure the image is inserted into the correct cell so that it doesn’t distort the layout of your spreadsheet. You’ll also want to avoid inserting images that are too large or small.

To insert an image, select the Insert tab and then click on the Image button. From there, you can choose to insert an image from a file on your computer or from a web URL. Once you’ve selected the image you want to insert, click on the Insert button.

2. Create drop-down lists to make data entry easier

Another useful Excel feature is the ability to create drop-down lists. This can be helpful if you need to enter data into a spreadsheet that conforms to a specific format. For example, you could create a drop-down list of all the states in the United States. Then, when entering data into your spreadsheet, you would simply need to select the appropriate state from the drop-down list.

To create a drop-down list, select the cell where you want the list to appear. Then, go to the Data tab and click on the Data Validation button. In the Data Validation dialogue box, select the List option under Allow and then enter the values for your list in the Source field. Once you’ve entered all the values for your list, click on the OK button.

Now, when you click on the cell where you created the drop-down list, you should see a list of all the values you entered. Simply select the appropriate value from the list and it will be entered into the cell.

3. Use the text to columns feature to quickly split data into separate columns

The text to columns feature can be helpful when you need to split data that is currently in one column into multiple columns. For example, let’s say you have a column of data that contains first and last names. You could use the text to columns feature to quickly split this data into two separate columns for first name and last name.

To use the text to columns feature, select the column of data that you want to split. Then, go to the Data tab and click on the Text to Columns button. In the Convert Text to Columns Wizard, select the Delimited option and then click on the Next button.

On the next page of the wizard, you’ll need to select which character is being used to split the data into separate columns. In our example, we would select the space character. Once you’ve selected the appropriate delimiter, click on the Finish button.

Your data should now be split into separate columns. You can then format each column as needed.

4. Use Pivot Tables to summarize and analyze large data sets

If you have a large data set, you may want to summarize it using a Pivot Table. This can be helpful if you need to generate reports or if you want to quickly find certain trends in your data.

To create a Pivot Table, select the data that you want to include in the table. Then, go to the Insert tab and click on the PivotTable button. In the Create PivotTable dialogue box, make sure the correct date range is selected, and then click on the OK button.

You should now see a blank Pivot Table on your worksheet. To add fields to the table, simply drag and drop them from the field list into the appropriate areas. For example, you could drag the product field into the row labels area and the sales field into the Values area.

Once you’ve added all the fields you want to include, you can begin analyzing your data.

5. Use conditional formatting to highlight important data points

Conditional formatting can be used to quickly identify important data points in your spreadsheet. For example, you could use conditional formatting to highlight all cells that contain a value greater than 100.

To use conditional formatting, select the cells that you want to format. Then, go to the Home tab and click on the Conditional Formatting button. From there, you can choose from a variety of different options for formatting your data.

In our example, we would select the Highlight Cell Rules option and then choose the Greater Than rule. We would then enter 100 in the Value field and click on the OK button.

All cells in our selection that contain a value greater than 100 should now be highlighted.

6. Use the subtotal function to quickly calculate data in multiple rows or columns

The subtotal function can be used to quickly calculate data that is spread out over multiple rows or columns. For example, let’s say you have a list of sales figures for each month of the year. You could use the subtotal function to quickly calculate the total sales for each quarter.

To use the subtotal function, select the range of cells that you want to include in the calculation. Then, go to the Data tab and click on the Subtotal button. In the Subtotal dialogue box, select the appropriate function from the drop-down menu (e.g., Sum, Average, Count, etc.).

Then, select the column that you want to subtotal and click on the OK button.

Your data should now be grouped by the column that you selected and the appropriate calculations should be displayed.

7. Use the IF function to perform complex calculations

The IF function can be used to perform complex calculations in Excel. For example, let’s say you have a list of students’ grades and you want to calculate the overall grade for each student. You could use the IF function to do this by creating a formula that checks each grade and assigns a letter grade based on the numeric value.

To use the IF function, select the cell in which you want to enter the formula. Then, type =IF( and click on the cell that contains the first value that you want to check.

Next, type a comparison operator (e.g., >,<,=) and then click on the cell that contains the second value. Finally, type ), “letter grade”, “F”.

This formula will check the value in the first cell and compare it to the value in the second cell. If the condition is met (e.g., if the value in the first cell is greater than the value in the second cell), then Excel will display the letter grade that you entered. If the condition is not met, Excel will display an “F”.

You can then copy this formula down to the other cells in your column to calculate the overall grade for each student.

8. Use the VLOOKUP function to quickly find data in a large spreadsheet

The VLOOKUP function can be used to quickly find data in a large spreadsheet. For example, let’s say you have a list of employees and you want to find the employee’s name based on their employee ID number. You could use the VLOOKUP function to do this by creating a formula that looks up the employee ID number in one column and returns the employee’s name from another column.

To use the VLOOKUP function, select the cell in which you want to enter the formula. Then, type =VLOOKUP( and click on the cell that contains the value that you want to look up.

Next, type a comma and then click on the range of cells that contains the data that you want to search through. Make sure to include the column that contains the values that you’re looking up (e.g., the employee ID numbers).

Then, type a comma and enter the number of the column that contains the data that you want to return. In our example, this would be the column that contains the employees’ names.

Finally, type a comma and enter 0 (zero) or 1. The zero indicates that Excel should perform an exact match when looking up values. The one indicates that Excel should perform an approximate match.

You can then copy this formula down to the other cells in your column to find the employee’s name for each employee ID number.

9. Use the COUNTIF function to quickly count data in a range of cells

The COUNTIF function can be used to quickly count data in a range of cells. For example, let’s say you have a list of students’ grades and you want to know how many students got an “A”. You could use the COUNTIF function to do this by creating a formula that counts the number of cells that contain the value “A”.

To use the COUNTIF function, select the cell in which you want to enter the formula. Then, type =COUNTIF( and click on the range of cells that you want to count.

Next, type a comma and then enter the value that you want to count (e.g., “A”).

You can then copy this formula down to the other cells in your column to count the number of students who got each grade.

10. Use the SUMIF function to quickly sum data in a range of cells

The SUMIF function can be used to quickly sum data in a range of cells. For example, let’s say you have a list of expenses and you want to know how much you’ve spent on each category of expense. You could use the SUMIF function to do this by creating a formula that sums the values in a range of cells based on criteria.

To use the SUMIF function, select the cell in which you want to enter the formula. Then, type =SUMIF( and click on the range of cells that contains the values that you want to sum.

Next, type a comma and then enter the criteria that you want to use. In our example, this would be the name of the expense category (e.g., “Rent”).

You can then copy this formula down to the other cells in your column to calculate the total amount spent on each category of expense.

These are just some of the many useful things that you can do with Excel. By learning how to use these and other Excel functions, you can save yourself a lot of time and effort when working with spreadsheet data.

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Written by Harmandeep Singh
I am Harmandeep Singh, SEO specialist of Tricky Enough. Tricky Enough aims to provide the best tips and tricks about internet marketing, SEO, WordPress.
   
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