Spreadsheet programs like Excel might seem simple but in fact contain a huge amount of depth. If you want to use it as effectively as possible, using it in a sensible way is crucial – here are 5 tips to get you on your way.
1: Much of the time used when working on spreadsheets is spent formatting cells. Instead of formatting cells one at a time or one row or column at a time, use the format paintbrush feature instead. Format one cell how you want it, click the paintbrush icon, and then highlight another cell, column, or row. The formatting will copy over, saving a huge amount of time.
2: A lot of the spreadsheets you create will be similar in nature and layout, so you should create a template spreadsheet to start from with these features already created. This saves time you making the same layout over and over, and allows you to focus on the more functional aspects of the spreadsheet you’re creating instead of getting caught up in the details of appearance.
3: If you’re going to be designing a spreadsheet for others to use, or that you will be using far into the future, you should add a sheet to it that works as a piece of documentation. This sheet will briefly describe what the spreadsheet does and how to use it. This will keep confusion out of the picture if you have to go back and figure out what you were thinking when you made the spreadsheet.
4: Always use shortcut functions like SUM() and AVERAGE() instead of typing out the formulas themselves. This saves time in the short run as the shortcut functions take less typing and effort, and saves time in the long run as if you move around cells or add columns/rows, you’ll have to completely re-write all of your formulas if you don’t use shortcuts.
5: Label the cells on your spreadsheet well. Nothing wastes time with spreadsheets more than not knowing where each piece of data should be entered individually.