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A few of my favourite (Excel) things

Perhaps not as sensually satisfying as raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens, but when it comes to Excel, these are a few of my favourite things:

  • autofill

Quickly copy formulas or create a series of months, days, quarters, or other custom series.

  • cell and range names

Use cell or range names to make formulas easier to understand at a glance.

  • templates

Stop re-inventing the wheel when you need new workbooks to handle data with tried and true formulas and layouts

  • lookup functions

Reduce the amount of repetitive data in your workbook

  • absolute references

Make it easier (and faster) to copy formulas that need to refer to the same value regardless of where you copy them to

  • 3-D formulas

Create a worksheet to summarize data from detail worksheets using simple formulas.

  • header and footer improvements (Excel 2007)

Custom headers and footers made a giant step forward with Excel 2007

  • tables (Excel 2007)

Although the table concept is not new with Excel 2007, this version has added some amazing enhancements to tables.

  • keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts were absolutely essential in DOS days. They may not be essential in today’s mouse-based graphical user interface but they are as useful as ever.

    • date and time
    • copy cell data
    • paste
    • cut
    • undo
    • display formulas or their results
    • draw borders (ctrl-Shift-7)


  • custom sort order

For values that you want to put in order in a non-standard way

  • custom number formats

For those numbers that are not numbers (you know – values like telephone or serial numbers that you would never ‘do’ math on.)

Watch for these and other articles in the coming weeks. If you have other favourite Excel things, drop me a note and tell me what they are and why you like them?

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