Often a component of MS 365 and MS Office, Excel is inarguably among the most used Microsoft products, perhaps next to MS Word. It has for long been an amazing way to tabulate, store, and analyze data. How Do You Get the Most From Microsoft Excel?
Many features come with Excel to help with calculations, visualization, automation, and much more. Especially for novice users, MS excel has numerous functions, hacks, and tricks that can help transform your business if you understand how to use them. This having been said, here are several ways to get the most out of Microsoft Excel.
Shareability is perhaps one of the most powerful features of Excel or any other type of MS Office file. This means that you can share excel spreadsheets with one or more users to promote collaboration and eliminate the need to send files each time you need to give access to someone else.
But unlike google sheets where all you need is to share a link with the person you need to grant access to, sharing excel sheets can be a little challenging. But it’s doable, and the process is pretty easy as long as you’re using a version like Excel 97 or later.
To get multiple users working simultaneously on the same Excel 2007 workbook, for instance, all you need to do is click the review tab and select “share workbook” in the changes group option.
Next, go to the editing tab and allow simultaneous changes by different users. Once done, save your workbook on dropbox, One-Drive, or a local network that your selected users can access.
If you have a background in coding, this is among the best ways to make the most out of Excel. And as much as Microsoft Word and Excel provide numerous templates, many worksheet processes can be automated to free time for your team and yourself.
Now, automation usually requires you to have some understanding of MS Office’s programming language called Visual Basic for Applications of VBA. With some VBA understanding, you can write code to automate numerous activities and processes performed in MS Excel, ultimately saving time and probably money!
Another popular yet barely used function in MS Excel, VLOOKUP allows you to match up one or more attributes of one set of data with another. For example, the VLOOKUP function can be used to match pairs of files, words, locations, and people.
A really good way to use this function is to split a long spreadsheet into separate worksheets of the same type that have identical columns in the first one. When you check the second worksheet, the one with the identical columns, Excel will try to match the file’s location (created by filenames) with the location in the other worksheet.
Are you dealing with time-sensitive data? If so, this is an excel feature you can use when analyzing reports.
A timeline filter lets you filter underlying datasets by date fields based on days, weeks, months, quarters, or years. Adding the timeline filter usually takes a few simple steps. Just click on your cell of interest, go to “analyze tab”, and click “insert timeline”.
PowerQuery is an MS excel function that can significantly improve your data cleaning and normalization processes. Power Query lets you query vast amounts of data quickly and effectively, and keep track of the execution history in the form of a summary.
Sharing MS Excel sheets can help promote collaboration, but it shouldn’t stop there. Interactive spreadsheets can not only help save time and make work easier, but they are also effective in boosting morale, concentration, and learning.
To get the most from Microsoft Excel, make your spreadsheets interactive using checkboxes. Checkboxes usually come in handy for cells with lists, charts, reports, and selections, where checking or unchecking is required. When you add a checkbox in excel, the spreadsheet becomes easier to work with, more interactive, and interesting for the user.
With a little bit of practice, you can master these six excel tips and create some great spreadsheets. You might be surprised at how you can save time, promote collaboration, and increase your productivity with one or more of these hacks. Voila!