Top tips for Microsoft Excel

Excel is widely used throughout the world to manage and interrogate data. In a world of overwhelming data, analysis is essential to understand, predict, identify and manage financial data. Having the skills to do this is essential for your future.

The question our trainers always ask is, “How do you know the information you are looking at is right?” Most students reply, “Someone else set up the spreadsheet”, or “We have always done that way.” It is essential you can say for certain it is correct. Just a simple word followed by a space is seen as a different word to Excel and results in errors.

Your data is a record that has detention periods of years to permanent. It must be right and maintained by law. Budgets and decisions are based on existing data, so your knowledge of Excel is vital to reassure yourself and your managers they are making the correct decisions.

To view all the formulas in a spreadsheet, press Ctrl + ~ (tilde). It is on the left of number 1 on your keyboard. It shows all the formulas in the active sheet. No need to highlight any cells. Press it again to return to normal view. There is also a Show Formulas button you can attach to your Quick Access Toolbar. It can be found in the Formulas Ribbon, Formula Auditing Group.

Our students comment that the short cuts we teach that improves their work efficiency, many indicating ‘most of our work is repetitive so short cuts can make our work easier and quicker’. By attending training, learning Excel increases a user’s efficiency, productivity and is clearly measurable.

Numbers are entered into a spreadsheet. Then you add labels to understand what the numbers or words mean. Then you build formulas to give you answers and information about your data. That’s a spreadsheet. Using more complex functions and formulas automate this process. Our intermediate and advanced courses focus on giving you the skills to get more information from your data.

One Excel spreadsheet can contain over 1 million records across 16383 columns. This is almost an infinite amount to analyse. Pivot Tables provide a simple way to analyse vast amounts of data and automatically generate details reports. These tools are taught in our Intermediate and Advanced courses.

When you eventually find that handy icon to complete your task, add it to your Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) so it is always easily visible, by a right click on the icon, choose the Add to QAT. And remember most of the keyboard shortcuts used in Word, also work in Excel.