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5 incredibly useful Excel tips and tricks

There’s little doubt that Microsoft Office provides one of the most secure and capable productivity platforms around.

However, the many features in programs like Excel can leave even the most experienced users unaware of the many useful facets hidden beneath the surface.

With that in mind, we’d like to give you a leg up on some of the often overlooked Excel tips and tricks tucked away within your spreadsheets.

1) Adding more than a single column or row at once

You create a spreadsheet, only to notice that you need to add some data somewhere in the middle of your work.

Instead of adding those rows or columns one-by-one, you can add multiple rows or columns at the same time. Here’s how to do it:

  • Select the number of columns or rows you want to add (above or to the left of the space you need to insert them at)
  • Right-click the highlighted rows
  • Choose the “Insert” option from the drop-down menu.

This process will add the number of rows or columns above (or to the left) of your original position and save you valuable time.

2) Locking down your spreadsheet

You create a spreadsheet, share it inside Teams, and then one of your colleagues erases some crucial data. To safeguard the hours of work you put into your sheets, protect your data before you share it. Here’s where to start:

  • Open the “Review” tab.
  • Select the “Protect Sheet” option
  • Choose which elements can be edited and which users are allowed to edit
  • Password protect your document

This will shield your data from collaborators who might delete or edit your data prematurely.

3) Extending formulas

Entering the same formula over and over again into your spreadsheet is tedious. So let’s try another way. Streamline your calculations by extending your formulas to adjacent cells using the following fill handle:

  • Select the cell with the formula you want to copy.
  • Hover over the lower-right corner of your selected cell until it turns into a plus (+) sign
  • Drag the fill handle into the cells you need the formula to be duplicated within
  • Release the fill handle and the formula will be copied into those new cells

This simple Excel trick will save you time and help you avoid tedious data entry.

4) Applying Conditional Formatting

Creating a complex spreadsheet is difficult enough without having to think about how to highlight the information that is most important. Conditional Formatting is an easy way to draw attention to those critical details. Here’s what you should know:

  • Select the cells you wish to format
  • Select “Home,” then “Conditional Formatting,” then “New Rule”
  • Using the dialog box, select a formula that will be the base for your formatting — “Format values where this formula is true”
  • Once you click format, select your fonts and colors
  • Click “OK” to complete the formatting

Conditional Formatting automates certain processes, saves you time, and eliminates human error.

5) Selecting everything on a sheet

If you want to select everything on a sheet, you don’t need to drag your cursor across a bunch of cells (potentially missing a few in the process). Just hit Ctrl + A or select the corner button at the top left of your spreadsheet. Use this when you need to make changes to everything inside your sheet.

Become an Excel guru

You might not gain Excel mastery based on this article alone, but these Excel tips and tricks will certainly put you ahead of the curve. Be sure to check out some of our other guides for advanced tips on more apps within Office 365.