Top Tips to Using Excel Effectively

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The programmes we use can make such an impact on the work we do and our productivity, yet the majority of people don’t know enough to use them efficiently, in fact they often spend large amounts of time on them, struggling with even the basic functions.

Excel is a good example of such a tool. It can be easily used to process both large and small amounts of data, however it helps to know the functionality, tricks and tips available.

Pivot tables 

Pivot tables allow you to analyze and extract significance from a large detailed set of data (providing the database has column headings). Just click on any cell within the data spreadsheet and go to insert pivot table (this will automatically go to a new worksheet within the document). When asked to choose fields, the row label is the column/item that you want to review data for (ie product items or month), the values is the column that has all the numbers you want to check (ie total sales) and the report filter is the column for the filter you want to see the results by (ie year, country, team member)

Conditional formatting 

Conditional formatting changes the cell format depending on the range or content of cells within the workbook. You can also highlight certain cells with set colours, depending on their value, allowing users to quickly note the crucial aspects of a spreadsheet or even highlight errors, while identifying important data patterns. Additionally, conditional formatting can apply cell formatting and basic font-to-font color, number format, cell borders, as well as fill cell colour. On top of that, there is a wide variation of graphical conditional formats, which help in data visualization, using data bars, color scales and icon sets.

Sorting and filtering 

This is such a simple and easy feature, yet unbelievably there are still a large number of Excel users who don’t know how to apply it. It allows you to sort large chunks of data within seconds. To make it easy to locate what you need within the workbook, you can just isolate the needed data depending on the parameters you decide to set. Sorting and filtering makes your spreadsheet more effective, while saving you time. For example, if you have 200 records that include ages, dates, names, or even cities, you can organize the data quickly, depending on the attribute that you choose or prefer.

Basic maths 

Perfect for any accounting or predictive calculations, as well as business management, Excel’s basic maths functions can really help in manipulating the numbers. Using the Formula Bar, you can enter simple calculations similar to what you would do on a piece of paper. When entering Excel formula, always start with the = sign. You can then proceed to key in the calculation that you want done, in the formula bar or cell. Once you hit Enter, the answer will display in the cell.

Mixed Type Charts 

Combo charts or mixed charts have the ability of combining two styles of chart, such as a line chart with a column chart. With such a format, you can display two forms of information, as well as a range of values, which vary greatly. For example, you can use the column chart to display the number of products sold between January and August and a line chart to show the average price of each product.

Whether you would believe it or not, Excel has simplified our lives a great deal. We no longer have to spend countless hours trying to sort data manually or doing manual calculations. Not convinced? Give us a call and let our experienced team talk you through what they can do for you to help make your data management more efficient.