Basic Tips and Tricks for Excel

Definitions Cell – one of the individual boxes that make up a worksheet and into which data is entered (see right). Worksheet – by default, each workbook is made up of 3 worksheets which can be selected in turn by clicking on one of the tabs at the bottom left of the worksheet. As default, these are named Sheet 1, 2 & 3 Highlight – to select a cell or series of cells for common manipulation. Highlighted cells are indicated by having a thick black border (see right) Range – a selection of touching cells in a straightline (see right) Drag – click, hold and move the mouse from source to target cells Column – a complete vertical range of cells spanning the entire height of a worksheet whether or not the cells contain data/text or not (see right) Row – a horizontal range of cells spanning the entire width of a worksheet whether or not the cells contain data/text or not (see below right) Basic Functions To enter data or text into a cell, left click within in, type the relevant information and hit ‘Enter’ on your keyboard Hit the ‘Enter’ button, or use the down arrow on your keyboard to move down one or more cells. Hit ‘Shift’ + ‘Enter’ or the up arrow to do the reverse. To highlight a cell for manipulation, left click on it. To highlight all cells in a worksheet, left click on the blank box, to the left of ‘A’ and above ‘1’ at the top lefthand corner of a worksheet (see right). To highlight a range of cells, left click on the first cell and drag until the last one. Click the Tab button to move one cell or more to the right – hold down ‘Shift’ and ‘Tab’ to move to the left To copy the contents of a cell or range to a new location, right click on the cell or range, select ‘Copy’ (the flashing, dotted border will appear to confirm that cells have correctly been selected for copying), right click on the destination cell and click ‘Paste’. To deselect cells for copying or to change your mind once you’ve selected a cell or range to copy, press Esc on your keyboard and the flashing border will disappear. To copy cell contents to adjacent cells (those to the left, right, above or below the cell), left click on the small black box in the bottom right hand corner of a highlighted cell, and drag to the range of cells that you want the contents of the cell to be pasted into. To jump to the first or last cell in a range, left click anywhere within the range and hold down ‘Ctrl’ + the arrow key that points in the direction of the first or last cell in the range To lock a worksheet so that particular columns or rows are always visible even if you scroll so far to the right or down that the columns or rows should have disappeared off the screen, left click on the column/row heading or cell to the right or below the cell where you want the locking to start, left click on ‘Window’ at the top of the screen and select ‘Freeze Panes’. To unlock this, select ‘Unfreeze Panes’ from the ‘Window’ menu. To switch between worksheets, either click on the relevant worksheet name at the bottom left of the workbook or select ‘Ctrl’ + ‘Page Up’ to more one worksheet to the right or ‘Ctrl’ + ‘Page Down’ to more one worksheet to the left To switch between open workbooks, select ‘Ctrl’ + ‘Tab’

To rename a worksheet, double left click on the worksheet name at the bottom left of the worksheet and type in a new name. Max name length is 31 characters long. To save a workbook, hit ‘Ctrl’ + ‘S’ or go to ‘File’ + ‘Save’ To print a worksheet, hit ‘Ctrl’ + ‘P’ or go to ‘File’ + ‘Print’ To print a selected area of a worksheet only, highlight the area to be printed go to ‘File’ + ‘Print Area’ + ‘Set Print Area’ Selection To select a cell for manipulation, left click on it. To select all cells in a worksheet, left click on the blank box, to the left of ‘A’ and above ‘1’ at the top lefthand corner of a worksheet. To select all cells in a range, left click on the first cell in the range, hold down ‘Shift’ + ‘Ctrl’ + the arrow key that points in the direction of the last cell in the range Insertion To insert a cell, right click on a cell, click ‘Insert’ and select ‘Shift cells down’ or ‘Shift cells right’ To insert a column, right click on a column heading (i.e. one of the letters of the alphabet running along the top of the worksheet) and select ‘Insert’. This inserts a column to the left of the column you highlighted. To insert a row, right click on a row heading (i.e. one of the numbers running down the left side of the worksheet). This inserts a row above the row you highlighted. Replacing Text To substitute text in a worksheet, highlight the cell or range, hit ‘Ctrl’ + ‘H’ or go to ‘Edit’ + ‘Replace’. In the ‘Find what’ box type in the text or numbers that you want Excel to search for and replace and in the ‘Replace with’ box type in what you want to replace the searched for text or numbers with. Text Direction To change the direction of text, right click on a cell containing text, go to ‘Format Cells’ and then the ‘Alignment’ tab. Move the black line to the right of ‘Text’ up and down to change the orientation of the text. Mathematical Functions To select a function, click on the arrow to the right of the Σ button above a worksheet or go to ‘Insert’ – ‘Function’ AVERAGE CONCATENATE CONVERT COUNT COUNTIF HLOOKUP Averages all cell values Joins together numbers and/or texts into one word Converts numbers from one measurement unit to another Counts the number of cells containing a number Counts the number of cells matching a defined criteria Looks for a value in the top row of a table and returns the value in the same column from a row you specify


Checks whether a criteria is met - returns TRUE if it is & FALSe if it isn't The number of characters in a number, word or sentence Finds the biggest number Finds the smallest number The number of complete workdays between 2 dates The current date and time Adds together all cell values Adds together the number of cells matching a defined criteria Inserts today's date Looks for a value in the leftmost column of a table and then returns a value in the same row from a column you specify

To allow users of a worksheet to select entries for a cell from a drop-down list, highlight a cell and go to ‘Data’ – ‘Validation’. From the drop-down menu that appears under ‘Allow’, select ‘List’. In the box below ‘Source’, type in the entries that you want to appear in the drop-down list, separated by a comma e.g. yes, no, maybe. Click ‘OK’. The highlighted cell will now have a small downwards arrow to the right of it and by clicking on you can select either ‘ye’, ‘no’ or ‘maybe’. Trying to manually write any text into the cell other than these 3 entries, will cause excel to bring up the following error message.

If you only want to suggest entries in a cell rather than preventing them from typing in anything other than a specified list of entries, following the same exercise as above but before clicking ‘OK’, click on the ‘Error Alert’ tab and in the drop down menu below Style, click on Information. You can then either user the standard Warning message or create your own in the free text box below ‘Error Message’. When users than enter text into your cell other than those in the pre-defined list, the following warning message will be displayed, though users can still enter the text they want by ignoring this message and clicking on ‘Yes’.

Conditional Formatting To enable Excel to apply formatting to a cell when the text within it meets certain criteria or ‘condition’, highlight a cell and go to ‘Format’ – ‘Conditional Formatting’ (there are many different criteria that you could come up with for text within a cell to meet, but let’s use the example of formatting text within a cell when it is a negative number). From the second drop-down menu along select ‘less than’ and then type in 0 from the next drop-down menu along to the right. Then click on Format and select how you want the formatted text to appear (e.g select Bold and then Color as Red). Select ‘Ok’. If you now type a negative number into the highlight cell, it will appear in bold, red text and in normal colour if you enter a positive number. Using the format painter button (see right) you can then paste this conditional formatting into any cells you want and negative text in those cells with turn bold and red. Repeating Column Headings on Each Printout Page If, when you print out a worksheet, your columns are too long to fit on one printout page and so you lose the column headings on subsequent pages of the printout, go to ‘File’ – ‘Page Setup’ – ‘Sheet’ – ‘Print Titles’. In the Rows to Repeat at Top box, highlight the column headings you want printed on each printed page by clicking on the cell select button (see right). Then print. Comparing 2 lists Have you ever had two lists to compare using Excel? In this example we will assume that you have a MASTER LIST of cities (column A). Then you will have a second list of cities (column C) to compare to the MASTER LIST. We want to know which items in the second list are NEW cities and which ones already exist in the MASTER LIST. We will do this using formulas in column D where the results will displayed. This is accomplished by using a combination of the VLOOKUP and ISNA worksheet functions. We have entered the following formula in cell D2: =ISNA(VLOOKUP(C2,A:A,1,FALSE)) Next, we copied this formula down through the last row in the column adjacent to the list of possible NEW items. Let's break this down to see what this is doing. VLOOKUP(C2,A:A,1,FALSE) First, we're using the VLOOKUP function to try to find each individual item from the second list (column C) anywhere within the MASTER LIST. In other words, this part of the formula says look at the list in column A and determine if there's a match on the entry in cell C2. If a city was not found in the MASTER list, then the VLOOKUP returns a #N/A error. That's okay though, because the next part of our formula looks at whether or not we got this error. To do this, we have nested the VLOOKUP in an ISNA function: ISNA(VLOOKUP(C2,A:A,1,FALSE))

The ISNA function will return either a TRUE or FALSE. This part of the formula says if the VLOOKUP function returns a #N/A error then it's TRUE, otherwise it tested FALSE for the #N/A error. So, whenever the formula returns a TRUE, it means that item from the second list is NEW - it does not exist already in the MASTER LIST. Likewise, if the result in column D is a FALSE, it means this item was already included in your MASTER LIST. Source: Or: You can compare lists using conditional formatting and entering the formula =COUNTIF(Column1, A1)=1 under ‘Formula Is’. Column1 is the column of cells you are trying to match to column A. A1 is the cell in Column A in which the conditional format should be applied. Make sure the $ signs don’t appear before A1 otherwise the formula won’t work properly.