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Archive for the ‘MS Excel’ Category



Printing the Grid

Thursday, March 9th, 2006

Printing the Grid

While going along the same lines as yesterday’s MS Office tip pertaining to displaying gridlines, I think it might be a good idea to discuss printing gridlines.

I mean, it seems inevitable. Whatever your system is trying to print (gridlines or no gridlines), you’ll want to do the exact opposite.

The question is where are the controls to these things? You just have to know that cell… Continue reading

The Clean Sheet

Thursday, March 9th, 2006

The Clean Sheet

Are there times when you find MS Excel’s gridlines more distracting than helpful?

Wish there was a way to get rid of them and to view a clean worksheet?

If you answered yes, then I’ve got the information you’re looking for.

Gridlines in MS Excel are controlled through the Options window (Tools menu, Options choice).

Once in the Options window, you’re looking for the View tab.

One Screen at a Time

Friday, March 3rd, 2006

One Screen at a Time

Tired of scroll bars and scroll wheels? Looking for a quick way to move through an MS Excel worksheet without the mouse? Maybe something a little quicker than the “one row or column at a time” method the arrow keys have to offer?

Well then, we’re all in luck, because that’s just what I have to offer today.

Many of you know that the Page

Wrong Way

Friday, February 24th, 2006

Wrong Way!

Have you ever found yourself happily working along in MS Excel only to realize that you’ve set the data up totally wrong?

You know, what should be vertical is horizontal and vice versa.

What do you do?

Start retyping?

I hope not!

Do you start copying and pasting each cell’s contents to its new location? Or maybe you just drag each item to its new home?

Either way… Continue reading

Make It Fit to the Page

Friday, February 24th, 2006

Make It Fit to the Page

Have an Excel worksheet that is sized just barely over the width of a page? I bet that’s exactly the worksheet you need to print in one page, so I’d say that extra width is a problem.

What did you do?

Maybe you went back to the worksheet and started adjusting column widths down or maybe you started changing the margins to accommodate your… Continue reading

File Name Location: A Mystery No More

Friday, February 17th, 2006

File Name Location: A Mystery No More

How much time have you wasted looking for the location of a particular MS Excel file? I mean, you’ve got the printout, but you need to make some changes and can’t seem to remember where it is, let alone what it’s called.

Ever sit back in your chair wishing that you’d thought to write it down on the printout?

What if I told… Continue reading

Same Info – Many Cells

Friday, February 17th, 2006

Same Info – Many Cells

Ever have the same info to enter into multiple cells in MS Excel?

What did you do?

Did you type the data into one cell then copy and paste it everywhere else in the worksheet?

A bit of a pain wasn’t it?

How about a way to get the data into all those cells simultaneously? A method that doesn’t require all the copy / paste… Continue reading

Tracing the Path

Thursday, February 9th, 2006

Tracing the Path

Do you use complicated Excel formulas? You know, where a formula references cells that in turn reference other cells. It leads to a big chain reaction of values. One wrong or inadvertent change to a cell’s value and you could cause a multitude of errors in the values reported.

Ever find yourself wondering just where did that value really come from? I mean, which cells in the… Continue reading

Mouseless Smart Tags

Friday, February 3rd, 2006

Mouseless Smart Tags

Do you find yourself frequently using Office XP’s smart tags? You know, the little icons that appear in files when the program is offering paste options, or when the AutoCorrect feature started making changes?

If you’ve got them and you use them, you know what I’m talking about.

Anyway, the real question is: “Do you use them less often than you’d like because you need to… Continue reading

Black and White Charts

Friday, January 27th, 2006

Black & White Charts

Yesterday we discussed setting default colors in MS Excel when creating charts, while avoiding all the manual settings we used to complete the task.

But, what happens when you’re going to print the chart and you don’t have a color printer? Or, maybe you do have a color printer but are then going to turn around and copy the chart in black and white.

Ever feel… Continue reading

Custom Chart Colors – Permanently

Friday, January 27th, 2006

Custom Chart Colors – Permanently!

Do you find that when you make a chart in MS Excel that you’re constantly clicking into the chart to change the colors of the bars, lines, etc?

How would you like to change the default colors Excel uses for charts, eliminating all that color switching you’re constantly working on?

Sounds like a good plan to me! I’m always changing those colors so if I… Continue reading

All By Itself

Friday, January 20th, 2006

All By Itself

If you use Excel to create charts, then I’m sure you’ve noticed that in the last step of the Chart Wizard, you can choose to create your chart on its own page OR as an object embedded in a worksheet with data and other charts.

I’m sure that most of the time we tend to put the chart within a worksheet. That choice tends to give us… Continue reading

Create It My Way

Thursday, January 19th, 2006

Create It My Way

Do you have settings in MS Excel such as formatting or choices from the Options window that you’re constantly changing because Excel’s blank workbook never seems to have things “the way you left them”? For example, Monday’s setting for accepting labels in formulas. Excel’s default is to not have that option checked.

Wouldn’t it be nice to make these changes just once so that all new… Continue reading

Need a Little Backup?

Friday, January 13th, 2006

Need A Little Backup?

Do you have important Excel files that would create nothing short of chaos and disaster for you if you were to lose those files?

Now I’m sure that you regularly make copies of these files just in case – but wouldn’t it be nice if Excel could help us out a bit on this score?

Yeah – I thought so too so I did… Continue reading

Now Who Told Excel To Paste That Data?

Thursday, January 12th, 2006

Now Who Told Excel To Paste That Data?

Have you ever found yourself asking that question? (Or, in my case, asking the computer the question in my “I’m not amused, just annoyed” voice).

You may have, especially if you work with hidden cells. (You know, hidden rows and columns with data in them that’s necessary but not to be displayed.)

When you select a range of cells to copy that… Continue reading

Convert It To A Value

Monday, January 9th, 2006

Convert It To A Value

Do you have an Excel formula in a single cell that needs to be converting to its value?

No problem. Simple select the cell and press F2 then press F9.

Voila! The cell contains the value of the formula not the formula itself.

Unfortunately, you’ll find that this little trick doesn’t work on multiple cells – so now what?

Tackling this one isn’t as difficult… Continue reading

More Than A Simple Paste Button

Monday, January 9th, 2006

More Than A Simple Paste Button

Working with a newer version of Excel? Let’s say Excel XP or newer?

Have you ever noticed that your Paste button has a little extra?

Take a good look… do you see the down arrow to the right of the Paste button?

Yep – that’s right, the down arrow means that Excel has a supercharged Paste button that can do more than you’d… Continue reading

Set It In Pixels?

Monday, January 9th, 2006

A reader wrote in with an interesting Excel question. They were wondering if there was a way to set the column widths and row heights using pixels rather than the default numeric values. Hmm. Good question!

I did some looking around and found a solution – probably not the one the reader was hoping for but it’s worth mentioning.

While I couldn’t find a place to type in an actual… Continue reading

Headings Using The Keyboard

Monday, January 9th, 2006

Do you use Word’s built-in styles for quick and easy text formatting? You know, using the drop down list to the left of the font name?

Works great—not too difficult.

But… for everyone who likes the headings but hates using the mouse here are a few keyboard shortcuts to help you apply the most common styles.

  • CTRL+SHIFT+N will apply the Normal style.
  • ALT+CTRL+1 will apply the Heading

Case Sensitive Sorts

Friday, January 6th, 2006

Case Sensitive Sorts

Do you sort a lot of data in MS Excel? Ever find that you have case sensitive data (part numbers, account numbers, etc.) that just don’t seem to sort properly? Does Excel ignore upper and lower case and sort purely on letter content? Is this a problem for you?

If it is, then it seems to me that you do a lot of manual manipulation of your… Continue reading

From Another Workbook

Tuesday, December 20th, 2005

From Another Workbook

Last week we discussed how to write Excel formulas that reference cells located on a different worksheet within your workbook. Well, the logical occurred – a reader wrote in inquiring about formulas that reference cells from a completely different workbook.

Good question – one that I immediately set out trying to answer and here’s what I found…

The easiest way to tackle this one is to let… Continue reading

Leave My Addresses Alone!

Tuesday, December 20th, 2005

Leave My Addresses Alone!

Tired of the way your program (Excel, Word or PowerPoint) keeps changing all your web or email addresses into hyperlinks automatically?

Looking for a way to get these programs to stop it and behave themselves?

If you’ve been answering with yes responses then here’s just the thing for you.

What you have happening is the AutoCorrect feature of the program(s) is taking over each time it… Continue reading

From One Sheet To The Next

Thursday, December 15th, 2005

From One Sheet To The Next

Work with MS Excel a lot? Do you use multiple sheets inside the same workbook?

Have you ever found yourself trying to reference a value from a worksheet other than the one you’re currently working with?

I’d bet that you noticed a problem when you tried the same old formula… if you need the value from cell B2 from sheet 1 in a formula… Continue reading

Excel’s Name box

Thursday, December 15th, 2005

Did you know…

… that Excel’s Name box isn’t always the Name box? (The box to the left of the Formula bar.)

Sounds crazy—I know—but it’s true.

Pay attention when you type in an equal sign (=) to start a formula.

Did you notice what happened?

A Function box replaces the Name box.

The Function box first displays the last used function.

If that’s not what you’re looking for… Continue reading

Help With Excel Formula Syntax

Thursday, December 15th, 2005

Help With Excel Formula Syntax

So, you’re trying to use a formula in MS Excel but it’s been a while and you can’t quite remember the formatting to use when entering the cell references of the data. Hmm… what to do, what to do?

Well, if you’ve got a newer version of Excel (let’s say XP or newer) then the gentle reminder you need is closer than you think.

To… Continue reading

The Never-Disappearing Borders

Tuesday, December 6th, 2005

The Never-Disappearing Borders

Ever run across a cell border in MS Excel that just wouldn’t disappear? I mean you’ve turned that border off over and over again and yet that crazy line is still there!

What now?

Is Excel broken?

Much to everyone’s relief, Excel is not broken you just happen to have more borders then you realize.

If you set cell borders to overlap then removing one… Continue reading

The AutoSum With More

Tuesday, December 6th, 2005

The AutoSum With More

I’m sure we’re all aware of Excel’s handy little AutoSum button and the way it will quickly insert the formula to sum any range of data we happen to have lying around. But… wouldn’t it be nice if we could get it to do a little more than sums without a lot of extra work?

Good idea! Fortunately for all of us, AutoSum can be used… Continue reading

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