Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Shortcut to Your Shortcuts

Even if you read this blog only occasionally, you know that I am a Huge Fan of Keyboard Shortcuts. There is no doubt that using keyboard shortcuts makes you more Efficient and Productive (particularly true on larger displays). An additional benefits is that these shortcuts also save stress on your hand and wrist.

The Problem is that Keyboard Shortcuts are hard to remember. Of course you can use a Cheat Sheet, run drills, or regularly devote a small amount of time to learning these wonderful tools. This will be time well spent, as the efficiently gained will pay dividends for years to come.

An alternative way to use these Efficiency Gems is to use a Special Trick that most Excel users are not aware of. Here is What You Do:

1.  Simply Select any Cell or Range on a worksheet without activating the cursor

2.  Press the Forward Slash key on your keyboard or number pad, and Presto

3.  Letter Labels will magically appear across your toolbar (e.g. ‘F’ for File, ‘H’ for Home, ‘N’ for Insert, etc)

4.  Type the letter that corresponds to the Ribbon you wish to view and Bamm, you will be taken to the ribbon of your choice which will also have Labels that you can choose with your keyboard!

This is a remarkably easy and effective way to get in step with using Keyboard Shortcuts. It is, in effect, a Shortcut to Your Shortcuts!

I hope you have a Safe and Truly Wonderful Thanksgiving!  ~Bob

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Customizing the Quick Access Toolbar

Like many useful features in Excel, the Quick Access Toolbar is often overlooked by even the savviest Excel users. This handy feature appears above the ribbon on the left and by default includes the commands, Save, Undo, and Redo.

While that is nice, So Much More can be added to this convenient locale.

By clicking the dropdown arrow on the Quick Access Toolbar, you can easily add commonly used commands such as Sort, Quick Print, Email, etc.

Don’t Stop There, however! After accessing the dropdown menu, click on More Commands (near the bottom). Excel will then present an Excel Options dialogue box that gives you hundreds of choices that you can add (Caution: It is easy to get carried away…).

1.   Choose the type of command you want to add from the Choose Commands From list. Popular Commands is the default, but you can also have other options.

2.  Select the command you want to add to your newly enhanced toolbar and click the Add button. The command button will then appear on the list on the right.

3.  Then use the Move Up and Move Down arrows to reorder buttons on the Quick Access Toolbar.

4.   Click OK

The result will be an Extremely Convenient customized toolbar that you will likely find to be one of your Favorite Excel features!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Double-Click: The Big List

Although I am a fan of using Keyboard Shortcuts, the Mouse also offers unique opportunities to augment your life on your worksheets. One way to enhance your maneuverability in Excel is to master the art of Double-Clicking. 

 Here are 10 Amazing Ways to Use Double-Click: 

 1. Perfectly Adjust Column Widths – Just select Multiple Columns and Double-Click on the separators; Works for adjusting row heights too.

 2. Auto-Fill a Series of Cells with Data or Formulas - Just select the formula in first cell, Double-Click in the “handle” (small Black Square in bottom-right-corner) and Presto! This works for formulas, auto-fills (of numbers, dates, etc) as long as the adjacent column has data.

 3. Rename a Worksheet Tab: Double-clicking the tab allows you to immediately edit the name.

 4. Insert a Split - Double-Click just above scroll-bar to include a horizontal split; Works for a vertical split too, by clicking on the little bar shape next to the right of horizontal scroll-bar.

 5. Edit a Cell Formula: Double-click any cell to edit its contents in place (rather than using the formula bar.)

 6. Close Excel 2007 (only) – Simply Double-Click the Office Button.

 7. Collapse Ribbon to Get More Space – I like this one. Just Double-Click on ribbon Menu Names.

 8. Lock Format Painter – Save a Ton of Time by Double-Clicking on the Format Painter icon, making it Reusable. (So Cool!..)

 9. Jump to Last Row / Column in Table – Another old favorite: Just select a cell, and Double-Click on the cell-border in the direction you want to go. Bamm! You’re there!

 10. Pivot Table Drill-Down: Double-click on any data value within a pivot table to instantly create a new worksheet which will show the Underlying Records that comprise that value.

 Double-Clicking: Demonstrate your Mastery of Excel with this Important Tool!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Summarizing Your Data

Summarizing your data is essential for providing and maintaining Information for your business. Let’s say that you have a database of your Sales by State. The Database may contain thousands of records, and it would quite probably be interesting to all of the stakeholders of this data to see a Summary of the Number of your Sales by each State.

This is, of course, not difficult to do, but a review of a couple of Key Techniques is always a good thing. The Keys in this instance are:

1.  Naming Your Ranges
2.  Using the COUNTIF Function

First of all, Name the Range that contains the State. You can do this by selecting the range in your database, (including blank cells below for future growth), and typing the Name of the Range in the Name Box in the upper-left-corner of your worksheet. In this example, we will assume you have named it “State” (Oh, these clever Americans…).

Then in your Report Table (as in our example above), you can list the States that are included in the database. Assuming your first entry is in A2, put in the following formula in the first adjacent cell:

 =COUNTIF(State, A2) 

Then just copy the formula down next to complete your report table and, Presto! You have a Summary of the Number of Sales by State! 

Using these Simple Techniques can quickly give you the Information you are looking for. Give it a try!