10 Great Tips for Learning Excel

MS Excel is a program that has extensive capabilities that most people are not familiar with. Excel is a complex software that most people are not conversant with, and it is easy to understand why most novice users are not comfortable working with it. One important thing that you should know is that Excel is a powerful software that can help you do so much if you open up to it.

The key to learning excel is breaking down the process into manageable pieces. It is not possible to learn Excel in a day or a week, but if you are dedicated enough to learning these individual pieces one at a time, you will know how to work with this powerful software.

Go through these techniques, and you will have an easy time working with Excel. Master these tips which are simple to get.

Create a shortcut menu

There are three shortcuts located on the top menu, Save, Repeat typing and Undo typing. However, in case you want more shortcuts like Cut and Copy, you can set THEM UP:

File>Options>Quick Access Toolbar, add Copy and Cut and save it. The two shortcuts will be present.

Adding more than one column or row

You may know how to add one column or row, but when you want to add more rows or columns, you need another way.
Right-click the rows/columns that you have highlighted choose Insert from the menu that drops down. New rows or columns will appear to the left of the column that was selected first, or above the row.

Quickly copy and move data into cells

If you want to move a data column in a spreadsheet really fast, you need to choose the column and move the pointer to the border of the column until a crossed arrow appears. Drag the cursor to move the entire column.

In case you want to copy the data, press Ctrl button before moving, and the new column will have the selected data.

Performing calculations

To start with, use basic math operators and calculations in Excel. You should remember that Excel requires you to place an equal sign when you are doing any maths. For instance, if you want to do 10+10. You have to write it as =10+10 in a cell and press enter, the cell you are working on will display the number 20.

Subtracting and adding are a fairly simple calculation, but when it comes to multiplication, use an asterisk(*) in place of the multiplication operator and use a forward slash(/) when doing divisions.

Using Autosum

This is a very nice way to get up to speed with basic Excel functions, First of all, place two numbers in cells that are next to each other(one on top of the other).
Next, select the cell where you want to place the answer of the calculation, which should be the cell below the top two numbers.

Navigate to Home>Autosum
The selected cell will be automatically populated with a SUM formula; once you press enter, it will be executed.
When you use the Autosum drop down, you can also use different math functions.

Applying number formats

As you continue to use your spreadsheets, your numbers will begin to become complex; they will start having different data types, or different types of numbers; for instance dates, percentages, currency and more. To ensure that you work with all these different types of data, you need to format each type of data.

To do this, you will need to select the numbers that need formatting. You will select each data type separately. Look for the Number section that is located at the top of the screen and locate the drop down that has General as the default.

You will now be able to choose the type of format you want. To go an extra mile, you can select More number formats that is at the bottom of the list, and you will have the capacity to specify more details like the decimal places you want to use, or the currency type you want to use.

Creating a table

To get started, select the data you want to convert into a table, have the headings also at the selected data, and then click on Quick analysis that appears at the bottom left corner of the selection.
Move to Tables tab and choose Table. Once you see the table header cells, you can use the arrows to filter out some data or sort them out however you want.

Create a chart

When creating a chart, you can use the same process as we used in creating a table. Just select the data you want to present in a chart. Using the icon that appears at the bottom left, hover the mouse over to the different types of charts you want to use, and choose one. You can also select More for more control over the chart that is presented.

Pivot tables

Pivot tables are used in the re-organization of data in a spreadsheet. Pivot tables won’t change the data you have, but they can help in summing up the values and in the comparison of different information in a spreadsheet.

To create a Pivot table. Head over to Data>Pivot Tables. The table will be populated easily by Excel, but you can work on the order of how the data is organized.

VLOOKUP Function

If you want to combine two different sets of data in different spreadsheets, VLOOKUP can do that for you. Before using the formula, be sure that there is one column that is identical in both places. Also, ensure that there are no extra spaces for the data you want to compare.

Now, you can use the following formula.

VLOOKUP(lookup value, table array, column number, [range lookup])


There are more extensive tutorials on using complex function like VLOOKUP. Even when you are stuck in performing some functions in Excel, use the help function which will give you tool tips on how to perform the intended function. Here are more functionalities of Excel that you can study to make the most out of Excel.

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