10 Ways to Become More Productive with Excel
By Space Coast Daily // March 1, 2023
Microsoft Excel is a popular spreadsheet software used for data organization, analysis, and calculations. It can help you save time and increase your productivity when managing and organizing large amounts of data or complex calculations.
Whether you already consider yourself a master of Microsoft Office or are relatively new to it all, these 11 tips for becoming more of an Excel hustler are sure to help enhance your skills and take business processes like budgeting, analytics, and reporting to the next level. With just a bit of extra practice and dedication, you’ll be ready to become an Excel expert in no time!
Tip 1: Familiarize Yourself with Keyboard Shortcuts:
One of the best ways to become more efficient and productive with Excel is to learn some foundational keyboard shortcuts. This will not only save you time but also reduce the risk of errors caused by using a mouse. Some essential keyboard shortcuts to keep in mind include Ctrl+S for saving your work, Ctrl+C for copying data, and Ctrl+V for pasting information.
Besides this, you can also learn advanced shortcuts like Alt+F1 to create a chart or F9 to recalculate your worksheet. Learning how to use these keyboard shortcuts will give you an edge in mastering Excel quickly.
Tip 2: Learn Advanced Functions and Formulas:
Excel’s functions and formulas are incredibly powerful and versatile tools for data analysis. They allow you to quickly calculate complex equations, manipulate large amounts of information, and analyze trends in your data. Knowing how to use basic formulas like SUM or AVERAGE is a good start, but mastering complex functions like Vlookup and IF statements will take your Excel productivity to the next level.
Especially if you’re working with large datasets or complex calculations, a solid understanding of advanced functions and formulas is critical for efficient data analysis. Consider taking an online course from sites like Earn & Excel or reading up on some tutorials to perfect your skills in this area.
Tip 3: Streamline Data Entry With Autofill:
Autofill is a handy Excel tool that lets you populate cells with data by using a drag-and-drop feature. This can be particularly helpful when filling in large amounts of repetitive information like dates, numbers, or text strings. All you have to do is enter the information into one cell and then drag the Autofill handle (the small square located in the bottom right corner) to copy it across adjacent cells.
By taking advantage of this time-saving feature, you can reduce data entry time and make sure that your spreadsheets are always up-to-date with accurate data. Keep in mind that Autofill can also be used to fill in formulas, so you don’t have to manually enter them every time.
Tip 4: Utilize Advanced Filtering:
Filtering is a great way to quickly view and analyze data in Excel. It allows you to display only the information that matches specific criteria, without having to scroll through rows and columns of data. When using Excel’s basic filtering option, you can filter by one column at a time, while the advanced filtering option allows you to filter data across multiple columns.
By taking advantage of advanced filtering, you can easily narrow down your data and find any specific information that you’re looking for quickly. With this feature, it’s easy to customize what information is shown in a spreadsheet based on the criteria specified.
Tip 5: Use Data Validation to Ensure Accuracy:
Data validation is a great way to ensure the accuracy of the information in your Excel spreadsheets. It allows you to specify specific criteria for what data should be entered into a particular cell. For example, you can use data validation to limit user input in a cell by setting it up so that it only accepts numbers between 1 and 10.
This can be a big help in avoiding errors caused by incorrect data entry. Additionally, you can use data validation to create dropdown menus with pre-set options for users to select from, reducing the risk of typos or other accidental mistakes. By using this feature, you can save time by avoiding the need to manually check every cell for accuracy.
Tip 6: Automate Tasks with Macros:
Macros are a great way to streamline repetitive tasks in Excel. A macro is essentially a set of instructions that you can record and save, then execute whenever you need to perform the same task over again. This can be anything from copying information from one sheet to another to reformatting a range of cells or collating data from multiple sources.
Once the macro is recorded, it can be used with just one click and will save you time and effort in the long run. Macros can also be edited so you can make quick tweaks when needed. It’s a great way to automate repetitive tasks and make data analysis more efficient.
Tip 7: Take Advantage of Lookup Tables:
Lookup tables are a great way to quickly compare and analyze data in Excel. This feature allows you to search for specific information in a table by using one or more criteria. With lookup tables, you can easily find the answer to any questions related to your data without having to manually scroll through all of the records.
You can also use lookup tables to quickly compare data from different sources and keep track of information that changes over time. Additionally, they are very helpful when dealing with large volumes of data as they can easily be sorted and filtered to help you find what you need quickly. By taking advantage of this feature, you can save a lot of time and effort.
Tip 8: Create Charts and Graphs:
Charts and graphs are a great way to visualize data in Excel. They can help you quickly identify trends, outliers, and other important insights from your data. With charts and graphs, it’s easy to compare values over time or between different groups of data. This makes it much easier to spot patterns, understand correlations, and make informed decisions.
Fortunately, Excel makes it very easy to create charts and graphs. You can select any range of data that you want to include and then specify the type of chart or graph that you want to generate. With just a few clicks, Excel will generate a visual representation of your data that can be used to gain insights or share with others.
Tip 9: Leverage the Power of PivotTables:
PivotTables are an incredibly powerful tool in Excel that can be used to quickly analyze and summarize large amounts of data. This feature allows you to choose which columns and rows to include, as well as which calculations you want to perform on the data. You can then quickly toggle between different views of the same data to gain insights and spot trends.
PivotTables are also great for creating summary reports as you can easily group related data together, filter values, and generate totals. This makes it much easier to understand complex relationships in your data without having to manually sort through hundreds of rows or columns. By leveraging the power of PivotTables, you can save a lot of time and energy when analyzing large data sets.
Tip 10: Leverage Online Resources:
With the abundance of online resources available, it’s easy to become an Excel expert in no time. There are countless tutorials, videos, and articles that can help you learn about Excel features and functions. It’s also a great way to stay up-to-date with the latest tools and techniques.
Additionally, there are many online forums where you can ask questions and get help from other Excel users. This is a great way to get answers to your specific questions or learn useful tips and tricks that you may not have known about. With all the resources available online, it’s never been easier to become an Excel power user.
Bonus: Tip 11: Take Advantage of Automation Tools:
Excel automation tools can help you streamline your workflow and improve your productivity. These robust tools enable you to automate critical tasks such as data entry, formatting, and calculations, freeing up valuable time for more strategic activities. Whether working with sizable datasets or conducting repetitive tasks, automation can save you significant time and minimize errors. Furthermore, automation ensures the consistency and accuracy of your data, enabling you to make informed decisions with confidence.
There are a number of automation tools available for Excel, such as macros, add-ins, and third-party applications. By taking advantage of these tools, you can save time and effort while getting the most out of Excel.
In conclusion, Excel is a powerful and versatile tool that can be used to analyze data, create reports, and automate tasks. By taking advantage of the above tips, you can make the most out of your data and become an Excel power user in no time.
Whether it’s using keyboard shortcuts, advanced functions, or customizing their workbook settings, these tips can help individuals work smarter and get more done in less time.
With practice and patience, anyone can become proficient in Excel and take advantage of its full potential. So, start implementing these tips and watch your productivity soar with Excel!