Step Up Your Game in Excel

You may wish to amaze your boss because you want a promotion, or a raise, or you just want to differentiate yourself from the crowd. No matter the purpose, the initial question is how?

Why not look into Excel? This spreadsheet program may seem like just a simple, albeit important, business tool, but the truth is that there are several lesser-known Excel tips that can help you work more efficiently.

  • Hiding Information: Do you know you can hide columns, instead of deleteing them, when printing a spreadsheet? This can be convenient, for instance, if the spreadsheet has confidential information such as salary. In order to hide rows or columns, click the related number or letter of the row or column to highlight it, then right-click on the highlighted row or column and choose the Hide option. It is possible to Unhide a row or column in the same way after you have printed or displayed your spreadsheet.
  • Timestamping: You can attach a fixed date and time to your Excel spreadsheets utilizing your computer’s “Ctrl” key. To do this, hold Ctrl as you press the semicolon key. For the current date and time merely hold down the Ctrl and Shift keys while pressing the semicolon.
  • A Better-Looking Spreadsheet: Give your spreadsheet a fresh look by using Excel’s Themes option. You can find this in the Excel Ribbon, at the top. Click it, and you will be given a huge selection of fonts, and color schemes that you can apply to your spreadsheet. You can also make your own!
  • Tracking Trends: This is only applicable for those who have a more up to date version of Excel. The feature is called Sparklines and with it you can create charts that relate trends in the information in your spreadsheet. One way you can use this is to easily and quickly figure out how many software bundles your company’s salespeople sold in the first quarter of 2011.
  • Conditional Formatting: This feature allows formatting only in cells that meet the criteria that you decide on. For instance you could chose to have any dollar amount over 1,000 be a distinct color.