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Excel Efficiency Hacks: Save Time and Excel like a Pro

Oct 20 2023

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6 min

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MS Excel

Finance


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6 min


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Trying to improve the way you use Excel? Need a few shortcuts or resources to organize and deal with data a bit easier?

Whether you're taking your first steps into the world of spreadsheets or aiming to become an Excel expert, mastering the basics of Excel is just a few tips away. Our post covers tips, hacks, and resources to help make your spreadsheet work more efficient. 

Microsoft Excel usage tips

From practical tips for Excel beginners to handy shortcuts, you'll find what you need to start streamlining your learning experience.

How to spellcheck in Excel

When working in a Word document, you usually check for spelling and grammatical errors. But you may not be as diligent when you deal with Excel spreadsheets that contain mostly numerical data. Here's how to start spell checking your Excel data 

1. Spell check in Excel by pressing the F7 key. Or you can go to the Review menu and click on the Spelling icon.

When asked if you want to start the spell check from the beginning of the sheet, click on Yes.

In the Spelling window, you’ll be presented with the misspelled words Excel automatically detected in the sheet and a list of correct alternatives.

Spellcheck options in Excel

Choose the right word and click on the Change button. Or click the Ignore once button. If you’ve made a mistake, click on the Undo Last button to get back to the previously chosen option.

EXPERT ADVICE: If you want to spell check the whole workbook, right-click on one sheet and then click on Select All Sheets. Repeat the process again, click on Review and then Spelling.

Make sure your Excel document doesn’t contain spelling errors before you send it to a client or a business partner.

How to fit Excel onto one sheet

Need to print out your budget reports or data analysis for a meeting? It can be hard to get everything in a spreadsheet printed out properly. To ensure your worksheet comes out right, here’s what you need to do:

1. In your Excel file, go to the worksheet you wish to print out.

2. Go to File > Print.

3. Change your printing options to Fit Sheet on One Page. In the preview, you can check how your worksheet content will fit on the page. To fit your content horizontally, change the Page Orientation to Landscape.

Printing options in Excel

4. Then choose your printer from the Printer dropdown list.

5. Click on Print.

Change how you sort and filter tabular data

If you’re used to sorting data in Excel tables, you’re usually faced with sorting data in from top to bottom. However, depending on the layout of your data, you may need to change it up.

The good news is that you can easily swap in the chart you have for another. Here’s how:

1. Select your tabular data (not the headers).

2. Go to Data > Sort > Options.

In the Sort Orientation section, change to “left to right” instead of “top to bottom”

Repeat your last action with a single button

Oftentimes, working with Excel means working across multiple cells. And if you’re consistently performing quick updates, especially with formatting, this tip is for you.

You can instantly repeat your last action to perform the same task on another cell. Simply perform your action and then click on the next cell you need to work on. Press F4 on your keyboard to apply the same task on it.

EXPERT ADVICE: This is especially handy when you’re manually colour coding or formatting cells to keep track of details or data. Thus, if you need to highlight or change your font colour, change it first for one cell, and then click on the next cell and hit F4 on your keyboard.

How to visualize data in Excel

Everyone knows that data visualization is effective in getting your analysis and interpretation of it across. Not only does visualization help make sense of all the numbers, but it also adds variety to long tables and columns of raw data.

The best part is that it isn’t that hard. First, select the data you want to visualize. Then, click on the Chart button in the Insert tab. Excel offers a wide variety of charts and graphs to choose from, so you can find one that is perfect for your data.

Change Excel charts with a few clicks

If you need to make a quick change to your charts, the good news is that you don’t have to create another chart from scratch and re-enter your data. You can change Excel chart types easily. Here’s how to do it in Excel 2016 and above:

1. Select the chart you want to change.

2. Go to Insert from the toolbar.

3. Click on the chart you want.

Changing charts in Excel

How to use error checking in Excel

If you’re not that savvy with formulas, it can be tough to get them right. Fortunately, Excel's built-in error checking feature can help you find errors in your formulas.

To access the error checking feature, click on the Formulas tab and then click on the Error Checking button.

Essential Excel Shortcuts

Using an external keyboard is a productivity game-changer for many users. If you’re one of them, then you’ll find a few handy ones below:

  • Ctrl + C: Copy
  • Ctrl + V: Paste
  • Ctrl + Z: Undo
  • Ctrl + Y: Redo
  • Ctrl + A: Select all cells
  • CTRL + Space: Select entire column
  • Shift + Space: Select entire row
  • CTRL+T: Apply table formatting to current region of cells
  • F11: Open the Visual Basic Editor
  • Shift+F2: Insert or edit Cell Note

You can find a full listing of Excel shortcuts on Microsoft.com.

How to insert PDF into Excel

Ever need to attach a PDF to your Excel spreadsheet? You can do that easily in more ways than one. You can insert a PDF as an object or a hyperlink.

Head over to our blog post on how to insert a PDF into Excel where you’ll find full steps on how to do it both ways.

How to learn more about Excel?

There are many available resources to help you master Excel by yourself. Your first stop and trusted assistant is the Help tab in the Excel app. The Microsoft website provides a number of Excel video tutorials and training materials.

You can also find a variety of Excel courses, resources and tutorials online. Some of the most popular websites and blogs for learning Excel include:

Chandoo.org is a treasure trove for Excel newcomers. With a wealth of user-friendly tutorials and resources, it demystifies the world of spreadsheets. From mastering the basics to creating advanced, eye-catching charts and dashboards, Chandoo.org simplifies the learning process.

TheSpreadsheetGuru.com is for anyone who is eager to sharpen their skills. It's a one-stop destination for clear, concise, and beginner-friendly Excel tutorials and resources. TheSpreadsheetGuru.com has content that’ll help you explore Excel's potential for data analysis, automation, and more.

ContexturesBlog.com is a valuable resource for users seeking to build their skills and boost productivity. This site offers user-friendly Excel tutorials and tips, making it an ideal starting point for beginners.

ExcelChamps has a section on “Excel for Accountants" - a goldmine for beginners in the world of finance and accounting. It provides accessible and insightful tutorials for accountants and those looking to enhance their financial Excel skills.

Explore the power of Excel and Xodo

Kickstart your Excel journey. Dive in and give the above tips a try and explore the suggested resources. The tips in this post are just the tip of the iceberg.

And, of course, your digital document tasks won’t stop there. And for that, there’s Xodo. With PDF to Excel conversion tools, Xodo can help you start in on any data and spreadsheet work that comes to you in the PDF format.

Keep your digital document workflow going and give Xodo tools a try!

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Reena Cruz

PDF Productivity Expert

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