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Tips and Tricks to Using Excel

14 November 2016   Kristina Abbey | CompuTime
Helpful Tips Navigating Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel is a necessary program for many types of computer users including: office staff, home users, and students. Most Excel users know the basics; entering data into cells, bolding, underlining, and various other spreadsheet tasks. But there are so many other ways you can look like a pro when using an Excel spreadsheet. Impress your co-workers, your boss, and make your life easier by simply following these fantastic tips!

Wrap Text in a Cell without Stopping

Sometimes we have a lot of information to enter into a single cell and it makes sense to have more than one line in the same cell. Pressing enter doesn’t work, that simply moves you to the next cell on the spreadsheet. So how do you fix this?

Just wrap the text in the cell. The long version of doing this is to right click on the cell, select format cell, and click the alignment tab; then select wrap text. OR! Just click into the cell you want to wrap and press ALT+ENTER in the cell and it will automatically wrap the text for you. Like magic you can move text in the same cell to have more than one line without touching your mouse.

Freeze Panes

I know, what the heck do I mean by freezing panes, right? There are times we have to work on a spreadsheet with large amounts of information and it can be a pain to continue to scroll to the top or left of the spreadsheet to see the column or row data. An easy way to fix this is to freeze the panes, rows, or columns of the spreadsheet. There are several methods you can use to freeze parts of your spreadsheet to make your headings visible regardless of how far down the spreadsheet you go.

For each method you will need to go into the VIEW tab and then click the drop down arrow next to FREEZE PANES.


Freezing the top row is quite simple, simply select FREEZE TOP ROW under the FREEZE PANES dropdown menu.

Freezing first column is done using the same method but you just choose FREEZE FIRST COLUMN under the FREEZE PANES dropdown menu.

Freezing panes under the FREEZE PANES menu will select both the first few rows and columns of your spreadsheet.

Have specialty freeze needs? No problem. Simply highlight the row below the section you wish to freeze, select FREEZE PANES in the dropdown menu and it should freeze the line above your highlight.

Want to undo Freezing? Simply select the FREEZE PANES dropdown menu and select UNFREEZE PANES.

Double Click Tricks

Excel has a lot of built in features that are operated through double clicking a certain area. If you double click on a column separator up top, it will auto-size the column to fit the data. You can snap to the last cell in a column or row by double clicking on the cell border of the first cells in that row or column. The selection will automatically jump to the last cell in the series. Lastly, if you have a series of data that automatically increases or decreases with a pattern, you don’t have to manually input each value. Simply type out 2 cells and then select them, and double click in the bottom corner when the plus icon appears. This will auto-fill the data to every box that has data next to it.


Time save, and one that many overlook – the autofill feature removes the need to manually enter row upon row of data. With this tool, Excel recognizes patterns within your data and fills in the rows or columns automatically.

Turning Data from a Row to a Column

This is especially helpful if you need to conserve space and create a simpler display. Copy the area you want to transpose, move the mouse over to a blank space and go to home – paste – transpose. Remember to copy the data first.

Keyboard Shortcuts

F2: Edit selected cell

F11: New chart

ALT: Access the ribbon for formulas

ALT + =: Automatically SUM () selected

ALT + o-c-a: Auto size columns

CTRL + Shift + #: Change Date format with day, month and year.

CTRL + K: To insert Hyperlink.

CTRL+ Shift + $: Applies the currency format to the selected cells.

CTRL + Shift + &: Applies border to cells

CTRL + B: Bold

CTRL + I: Italics

CTRL + U: Underline

CTRL + O: Open

CTRL + Spacebar: Select the entire column

CTRL + A: Select All

CTRL + F: Find

CTRL + H: Find & Replace

Shift + Spacebar: Select the entire row

F7: Spell Check

Since 1995 CompuTime™ has provided technology, document, telecom and information systems for companies through Northern Arizona and the surrounding communities. As a Certified Microsoft Partner, CompuTime™ has worked with businesses, large and small, to plan, develop and implement custom built solutions for Virtual Private Networks (VPN), wireless connectivity, inter-office networks (LAN and WAN), set-up complex security and back-up solutions. CompuTime™ provides both on-site and remote service for network and security, copiers and document solutions, telephone systems, managed services, cloud back-up and the repair of those systems.
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