5 Obvious Things that 80% of People Don’t Know About Excel

by Guest Author on April 15, 2011

This is a Guest Post by Excel Everest.

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ExcelEverest.com | For whatever reason, most people remain unaware of these 5 ultra-simple and ultra-useful aspects of Excel.

Many people use Excel on a daily, or at least a weekly basis. But many of these people also haven’t had or taken the time to dig into even the simple workings of Excel. Through our quest to build the ultimate Excel tutorial, our company, Excel Everest, has noticed five things that you’d expect people to know about Excel, but don’t. Spend 10 minutes to learn these and you’ll already have a leg up on your coworkers!

1.) You can hide the gridlines: Yup, the gridlines that make spreadsheets look like, well, spreadhseets can be completely hidden. Why would you want to do this? Because often it makes the information you’re presenting clearer, easier to understand, and simply better looking.

Which do you like better?

Gridlines Showing

Gridlines Hidden

So, how do you do it?

Excel 2003: On the tools menu, click options. Then on the view tab, uncheck the gridlines checkbox.

Excel 2007 / 2010: Click on the view tab on the ribbon, and uncheck the gridlines checkbox.

2.) You can insert images: After you’ve inserted an image into your Excel spreadsheet and seen how easy it is and how much better and more professional it makes your spreadsheets look, you’ll be doing this all the time. There’s something about putting your company’s logo into your Excel spreadsheet that makes your work seem more professional. And it’s super easy!

Images are an easy way to make things more professional.

Image Insert

So, how do you do it?

Excel 2003: On the insert menu, go to picture, and then click “from file.”

Excel 2007 / 2010: On the insert tab, click picture.

3.) You can wrap text: When you’re typing in Excel, many people quickly complain that after they hit enter, their text either goes off to the right over the other cells, or simply disappears. When you want to type a lot of text into Excel, you need to enable the “wrap text” formatting feature. It makes managing your text in Excel much simpler.

Have you had this problem?

Wrap Text

So, how do you do it?

Excel 2003 / 2007 / 2010: Right click on the cells, hit format, click on the alignment tab, and check “wrap text”

4.) You can format cells based off the contents of the cells: Sometimes you’ll be in a situation in Excel where you want to format all cells that contain a certain value a certain way. Sure, you could go through one by one and identify them all, but with a feature called “conditional formatting,” you can create rules for Excel that will allow you to format as you’d like.

If you type “red,” the cell background will turn red.

Conditional Format Blue Vs Red

So, how do you do it?

Excel 2003: Highlight the cells you want to apply formatting to, go to the format menu, click on “conditional formatting” and then use the second drop down to set “equal to” (or use another rule).

Excel 2007 / 2010: Highlight the cells you want to apply formatting to, then on the home tab of the ribbon click the conditional formatting drop down, and under highlight cells rules, hit “equal to” (or use another rule).

5.) You can copy paste only values: Copying and pasting in Excel, if you don’t know how to only paste the values, can be a bit of a nightmare. Say you’ve got a huge set of formulas that return certain results. If you want to bring only the results of those formulas into a new spreadsheet, you’ll need to use the “paste values” feature of Microsoft Excel.

Paste Special Values

So, how do you do it?

Excel 2003 / 2007 / 2010: Copy the text with ctrl-c then paste by right clicking, hitting “paste special,” and then select the “values” button.

Excel Everest is an Excel tutorial that teaches the foundations of Excel in an interactive, engaging manner. It’s a gigantic Excel file that covers 50 topics, has hundreds of buttons and videos, and 150+ exercises which are automatically graded so you can easily see if you’ve done them correctly. The Excel Everest tutorial is for sale both to individuals and companies, and many organizations such as Google, Hymans Robertson, and PlayCore currently use Excel Everest to train their employees.


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tanya September 7, 2011 at 1:13 pm

4.) You can format cells based off the contents of the cells:

How do you do this type of conditional formatting in excel 2008?

Gregory September 7, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Use the instructions for Excel 2003. Select the cells to format. Choose Format > Conditional Formatting.. Then for Conditon 1 Cell Value is equal to Red. Then click the Format button and set the formatting you want when the cell is Red.

Next click the Add button and Condition 2 will appear. Choose the drop-down in the left box and select Cell Value is. In the middle drop-down box select equal to. And in the right box type in Blue. Then click the Format button and format the cell like you want when the cell value is Blue.

Then click OK.

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