History shows that necessity is the mother of innovation. Dan Bricklin, the “Father of Electronic Spreadsheet,” proves a story of how a personal need helped him develop software that made our life with numbers a lot easier.
An electronic spreadsheet is a program that organizes information in well-defined columns and rows. It allows users to keep track bulks of data in multiple worksheets in a single file. It paves way for analyzing data from a bigger perspective.
Excel is one of the most beautiful milestones in the development of spreadsheet programs. As a flagship product for Microsoft in the ‘80s, it became one of the first electronic spreadsheets to use a graphical interface packed with built-in menus and mouse-enabled commands.
However, Excel isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. The program’s advanced set-up makes it difficult for others to appreciate the nifty tools it can offer.
Let’s bring complex data calculations down to your Excel level. Here are some quick ways you can work with your Excel data like a pro:
How Excel Works
Are you struggling with loads of data? Transform your worksheet and make wise decisions through some of Excel’s essential features:
- Organize numeric and textual data. Excel stores information in organized cells. You can quickly format these data as values. You can safe-keep categories of data into separate sheets and save them into a single workbook.
- Perform calculations. Accomplishing arithmetic calculations is made easy through Excel’s Formula and Function Management.
- Formulas enable you to enter calculations in worksheets easily.
- Formulas are value-dependent and automatically changes results according to the given numbers, making instant recalculations in the final value.
- Functions are predefined formulas that perform a specific operation.
- Functions help determine investment returns, loan payments, grade averages and periodic costs, etc.
- Functions also reflect results in text such as logical values associated to the worksheet.
- Represent Data through Visuals. Excel does not only present data through rigid texts and numbers. You can simplify complex information through easy-to-format charts, graphs and tables to analyze data instantly. Here’s a quick look at Excel’s analysis features:
- Charts and Graphs – Excel recommends charts and graphs that will best illustrate your data patterns. Here are the commonly used charts you can work on excel:
- Clustered Column
- Clustered Bar
- Tables– Present series of data in a neat and structured form. Excel gives you the option to filter, sort and summarize your data easily through Tables.
- Pivot Tables– Getting inferences from your data is made accessible in Excel. Through the Pivot Table, you can create a summary of your information which performs different calculations based on your selected reference feature. This kind of table is especially useful when making informed decisions.
- Sparklines– View trends in a quick way through little graphs which Excel refers to as Sparklines. These visuals can be placed alongside your data in single cells.
How to Use Excel (Tips and Tricks)
There are tons of tasks you can automate through Excel’s advanced features. Jumpstart your Excel skills with these commonly used Excel tools:
- Inserting Multiple Rows and Columns– Instead of adding rows or columns individually. Simply:
- Select Multiple Rows and Columns
- Right Click, Choose Insert
- Excel automatically adds extra gaps in your sheet based on the number of rows or columns you have initially selected.
- Resize Columns and Rows– Double-click the edge of a row or column heading to resize it to fit your data automatically.
- Move Column and Rows Using the Mouse + Shift + Ctrl Command– Easily move a range on your worksheet by following these easy steps:
- Select the range of columns or rows you wish to move.
- Hover your mouse over the edge of the selected range of columns or rows
- When the mouse pointer changes to a double arrow, left click the mouse and held down while you drag the range to your desired location on the worksheet.
- 4. Freeze Column and Row Headings– It’s a little confusing to keep track of headers while you scroll through the rest of the worksheet. Good thing Excel allows you to keep the top row and column visible with these simple steps:
- Place your cursor on the top-left cell
- In the View tab, Click the Freeze Panes Drop Down List
- Freeze First Column or Freeze Top Row
- Hide and Unhide Rows and Columns- Are there information you opt not to show to others who have access to your worksheet? Excel got you covered:
- Select the first row or column in the range you wish to hide.
- In the Home menu, Choose Format
- In the Visibility Options, Choose Hide and Unhide
- From the options, Hide Rows or Hide Columns
To unhide hidden rows or columns, just click on the first row or column right before the hidden range.
- 6. Enter Repetitive Data into Multiple Cells– Entering the same data into some different cells can be tiring especially if you do it by pasting them individually into each cell. In Excel, a quicker way is made possible. Here are the steps:
- Select all the cells where you wish to fill the same data.
- If these cells are spread across the worksheet, just use the shortcut key CTRL + click
- Once you’ve selected the cells, move your cursor to the last cell you selected, type in your data
- Use the shortcut key CTRL + ENTER. All the cells you’ve chosen will be filled in by your data.
- Make your Chart Template– There’s no need for you to create and customize your commonly used charts every time you need them. Save time by only right-clicking the chart you created and choose the ‘Save as Template’ option.
- Speed Up Calculations with Excel Formulas. The countless ways to get fast calculations on Excel makes it a sophisticated and must-have tool for people wanting to get quick results for significant figures. Here are some essential Excel formulas:
- =CONCATENATE– In merging contents of two or more columns or rows into one, this formula always comes in handy.
- =TRIM- Do you notice those unwanted space you get when pasting data from an external source such as a website, database or word? With the help of this formula, you can import and paste data into Excel without the extra spaces in no time.
=DAYS– Are you working on dates in your worksheet file? Quickly calculate the number of days between two dates using this formula.
Some of the Best Ways to Learn Excel Online
Workspaces are getting closer to each other globally. By the power of digital information, data is processed in platforms that are collaborative and dynamic.
For you to keep up with the shift in work processes, it is essential that you equip yourself with the ability to maneuver tools such as Excel to run more tasks timely and accurately. Kickstart a strong foundation in basic Excel operations through these online learning tools:
- Microsoft’s Official Excel Training Site– Being one of Microsoft’s brainchild, developers took the extra leap in spreading knowledge on how to maximize Excel’s amazing features. In this website, you get to experience Excel video training on the following:
- Workbooks and cells
- Tables, charts, and analysis
- Formulas, PivotTables, and Collaboration
- They also offer unique lessons on the software’s past versions. At LinkedIn Learning, other advanced tutorials are also available. You can also take lesson offline with their downloadable interactive training plan.
- Youtube– Many people find solace in tutorials by tech enthusiasts on Youtube. And yes, learning Excel through video tutorials from various content creators is another fun and engaging way for you to learn the world of the electronic spreadsheet. Some of these tutorials are even supplied with a detail voice-over to guide you through each process. If you have further queries, the comment section will be your haven.
- Message Boards– The question and answer forums never go out of date when it comes to learning tips and tricks on software like Excel. Some experts, tech enthusiast or regular surfer gather in these message boards exchanging precious pieces of advice on all things digital. Have a question? Key it in. You can also check out the archives for responses that match your queries.
If you’re managing larger volumes of inventory that excel is not robust enough to use, you can also check out one of our personal favorites the Emerge App. Here’s a list of features you can check out as a wholesaler: EMERGE App – revolutionizing how wholesale businesses work.
Begin with Practice
Exploring new Excel features should never be a dull task. Start small. Practice learning key features step by step. Discovering a new skill is always a fun experience. Start with Excel today!