Thursday, March 29, 2007

Excel Tips

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time in Excel, and I thought I’d pass on a few tips. Hopefully I'll give you a tip you don't know :)
Open Excel at the same time, and try them out.

Dragging the current cell to extend to other cells
  • Select a cell, and key in either the name of a month, the name of a day, or a whole number.
  • Now put your mouse over the small black square in the bottom right corner of the cell, and drag it either vertically or horizontally over some more cells.
  • When you let go, Excel will fill the cells with a procession of appropriate values, if a pattern can be found. E.g. January, February, March, etc…

Fill Down
  • Select a cell, fill it with some text.
  • Now select that cell, and a series of cells below.
  • Now press ‘Ctrl D’
  • Et Voila, the value in the first cell is copied to the lower cells.
  • This is similar to dragging the small black square, as listed above, but this won’t spot sequences (which is often desirable) and can also done without using the mouse.

Format Painter
  • Next to the toolbar icons for copy and paste is ‘Format Painter’. I didn’t know what it was for a long time.
  • First, select a cell, put some text in it, color it, give it a border, make the text bold etc.
  • Now select another cell and just put some text in it.
  • Select the first cell, then click ‘Format Painter’, then click the second cell.
  • Hey presto – all the formatting information from the first cell is copied to the second. This also works for copying regions of formatting.
  • Pressing F2 while a cell is selected allows you to edit the cell, without having to click on the edit box at the top of the screen. (This works in other places in Windows too, e.g. renaming a file in Explorer.)

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