While Microsoft Excel may not exactly have a reputation as the sexiest computer application in the PC world, it is a useful one. And since chances are good you’ll need to use it over the course of your scholarly, business or personal life, having a few tips and tricks up your sleeve is a good plan.
Jump to a Cell
To the left of the formula bar, you’ll find a cell listing that changes to show you exactly which row and cell you’re working in. By clicking on this area, you can type in a specific column number and row name to jump directly to that cell.
Fix Hinky Numbers
Occasionally, Excel will erroneously store certain numbers (especially 0) as text. This can really become a hassle if you’re trying to manipulate information within cells that contain those numbers. To fix the same error across the board, insert a new column. Next, enter a “1” into any empty cell in the new column. From here, you can copy the “1” you just typed, copy it to your clipboard and choose the numbers from the range you are looking to fix. From the drop-down menu under Paste, choose Paste Special. You can now pick options like Multiple or Values.
Ensure Empty Cells
Likewise, Excel will sometimes neglect to properly clear a cell. That is, a cell that should be empty isn’t. Regardless of whether or not anything actually appears in the cell, it doesn’t register as empty, making it impossible to properly use commands and formulas within it. To fix this spreadsheet faux pas, select the affected cells all the way down to the final row. Click the Delete key, and you should be good to go.
Delete Blank Rows and Columns
Sometimes, you’ll find your table data separated by blank rows or columns. Luckily, cleaning up this problem is quick and easy. Simply select a column and hot F5. From there, you can choose Special and then Blanks. Once these blank cells are zeroed in on, you can go to the Home tab and choose Delete.
If you’re dealing with a giant spreadsheet full of complicated formulas, it’s often imperative to take a look at not just your final values, but how you got there. Hitting CTRL and ~ simultaneously will change your spreadsheet to show the formulas within each section. Use the same combination to go back to viewing your values.