7 Microsoft Excel Tips & Tricks to Power Your Spreadsheets Like a Pro

Microsoft Excel Tips

The very first version of Microsoft Excel was released in 1985, and ever since, it’s been mainstay in offices around the globe, helping to crunch numbers, graph data, and balance budgets.

Just as other Office programs have evolved over the years, Excel has followed suit, adding multiple features that you may not be aware of if you’re a casual user.

Office 365 is the most popular cloud service in the world by user count, and it’s used by 1 in 5 corporate employees. Along with Word, Excel is one of the key programs being used at regularly, whether it’s to chart sales numbers or capture emails to upload to a database.

If you’ve ever struggled with Excel or wished you knew how to get around in the program a little better, we’ve got some helpful tips that will save you time and may even impress your boss.

Microsoft Excel Tips to Help You Shine

Microsoft Excel is one of those programs that can often go underutilised simply because the user isn’t familiar with all the features. Here are 7 Microsoft Excel Tips tips and tricks to ramp you up that learning curve a little faster.

1. Quick Way to Line Break and Text Wrap

Trying to type more than a single long line in an Excel spreadsheet cell can be frustrating if you don’t know the shortcuts. Get the text to look just the way you want by using these two text management tips:

  • Line Break: Create a new line in the same cell by typing Alt + Enter
  • Wrap Text: Get text to wrap inside the cell borders by going to Home > Wrap Text

2. Use Data Bars to When You Don’t Need a Chart

Save yourself some time by using Data Bars to help visualize your data in a new way. When used, colored bars that represent the data value show up overlaid with your values.

Use by selecting your data range, then go to Home > Conditional Formatting > Data Bars, then choose a color scheme.

3. Use Autofill to Type for You

Reduce the amount of time it takes to type a series of repetitive values (like dates or times) into a spreadsheet by using Excel’s autofill feature. This can save you valuable time and reduce dull, repetitive tasks.

Begin, by typing in the beginning of the series of values, then move your cursor to the lower-right part of the last cell you’ve filled. You’ll see a plus sign (+) show up, click and drag it down to select all the cells you want to fill, and Excel will fill the rest of the values for you. This works with both columns and rows.

4. Use Images in Charts

Liven up your charts and make them even more descriptive by using images in the fill element. It’s easier than you may think.

If you have a pie chart, just double click on a slice to open the Format Data Point side menu. Click the fill bucket and under “fill” click “Picture or texture fill.” You can then paste a picture from your clipboard or choose one from your computer or if you’re using Office 365, from one of the online image sources.

5. Divide Your Spreadsheet into Quadrants

Do you have a mega-sheet that has multiple data points that you’d like to manipulate and scroll separately? You can add split bars to your worksheet to divide it into quadrants. This will allow you to scroll each quadrant of the sheet separately.

Go to the View tab and click the Split button. You’ll get a horizontal and vertical bar that you can drag to create your quadrants.

6. Use Tilted Headings

Another trick that can make your spreadsheets look flashier than anyone else’s is to use tilted headings. This is especially helpful if long header names are spreading your columns out more than you like.

Just highlight the headings you want to adjust. Right-click and choose “Format Cells” and in the Orientation area, click the degree of rotation you want.

7. Quickly Select All Cells with Specific Text

Say you have a spreadsheet of industry contacts that you’ve purchased. You want to quickly see only the ones that are have titles with “engineer” included.

Use the Find & Select feature to search for the term “engineer” and click “Find All.”  This brings up a list of cells that all have the term “engineer.” Next, press Control + A to select all the results, and this also selects the corresponding cells in the spreadsheet, which will remain selected after you close the finder.

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