Top 5 tips for using excel more efficiently

Excel is a powerful and comprehensive tool that far too many don’t use effectively enough.  In fact, testament to just how comprehensive it is,  you would be hard pressed to find anyone who hasn’t got some room for improvement!   Like most software applications, it is easy to get used to knowing how to do what you know, rather than changing how you do it.  But, whilst at the beginning it may feel time consuming changing habits or doing things differently, it is a worthwhile investment that will save time in the long run. 

Here are five top tips for using Microsoft Excel more efficiently.


1. Use cell references not numbers!

If you are a frequent and confident user of Excel, chances are you are already doing this.  But just in case you have got in the habit of using actual numbers from your data in your formulae – stop! 

Instead you should, wherever and whenever possible, be using cell references in your formulae.  An effective way to do this that reduces the chances of errors is to click on the cells you want to include in your formula rather than typing them manually.

2. Make the most of Names

Using Named Ranges in formula as well as in the general construction of a spreadsheet adds a lot of value.  Not only are calculations and areas of the spreadsheet easier to follow for someone who is not overly familiar with it but, it can make creating formulae and tracing them, easier.

Names shouldn’t just be restricted to ranges though.  They can and should be used to define specific cells to make formulae more readable and faster to construct.

3. Using secret shortcuts

We are all familiar with the frequently used shortcuts like Ctrl+C for copy, Ctrl+x for cut, and so on.  But there are some lesser known ones which can significantly speed up the construction of a spreadsheet.  One of these are particularly useful when entering repetitive data.

If you hold down Ctrl and click all the cells into which you need data entered, you can follow this by typing the data and pressing Ctrl+Enter.  Excel will then insert your typed data into all of the cells you selected.

4. Typing text across several lines

Given that Excel is designed to deal with numerical data, it doesn’t make entering long text very easy or naturally well presented. One way to overcome this is, if you want to type text that needs to appear on several lines, simply press Alt+Enter.  This will start a new line while you are typing hence saving time compared to the more common method of selecting the new line before typing into it.

5. Skipping through worksheets quickly

As we have already mentioned, Excel responds to a number of keyboard shortcuts that are not so well known.  Another one of these is Ctrl+Page Down and Ctrl+Page Up.  Using these enable you to move between worksheets quickly much like you would use Alt+Tab to toggle between opened program windows.

Bio – Hollie Miller

2014-05-01 11.41.12Hollie provides Microsoft Word Training for Acuity Training. In her spare time she loves to go to the gym and dress making.

Leave a Reply