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Do you use Excel spreadsheets? Work faster and smarter with these four advanced Excel tips

by , 06 March 2014
If you use Excel spreadsheets, continue reading to find out four advanced Excel tips that'll having you working more efficiently.

Revealed: Four advanced Excel tips

If you use Excel spreadsheets to perform your daily tasks as an accountant, you already know that it's a great tool.

What you may not know is there are 'hidden features, new uses for old tools and handy workarounds to speed up your everyday work in the spreadsheet application.'

The good news is we'll help you uncover these hidden tools in Excel.

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Here's how to work smarter with Excel spreadsheets

itbusiness outlines four advanced Excel tips for you:

#1: Make new text lines in a cell

As you've probably already discovered when you're typing text into a cell and you want to start a new line of text, the Enter key doesn't produce the desired result. Pressing Enter merely places the text in the current cell and then selects the next cell.

Instead, to start a new line in Microsoft Excel, as you're typing text, press Alt-Enter. On the Mac, the key combination is Control-Option-Return.

#2: Quickly add values in cells

Need to make a quick calculation, such as adding the values of two cells?

Don't type a formula to do it, click once on the first cell to select it and then Ctrl-click the second cell. By default, the Status Bar–which runs along the foot of the Excel window, will show the result of adding the values in the selected cells (Sum).

You can also view other calculations in the Status Bar by right-clicking the Status Bar and choosing from the calculations listed there. Aside from Sum, you'll find Average, Count, Numerical Count (the quantity of cells selected that contain numerical values), Minimum, and Maximum.

#3: Format and chart far-flung data

When you want to format a series of cells that don't appear side by side, start by selecting the first block of cells and then hold the Ctrl key as you select the second and subsequent blocks of cells. You can then apply a format, such as a font change or fill color, to all the selected cells.

You can use the same technique to chart cells that don't appear side by side, as well.

For example, if you need to create a chart from a table of data using the headings in the first column and the data from the fourth column, first select the headings in the first column. Then hold Ctrl as you select the matching data in the cells in the fourth column. Afterward, create a chart, just as you would any regular chart.

#4: Create a custom data-entry list

According to itbusiness, it's always quicker and more accurate to select an entry from a prepared list than to type the item yourself. So when you have a worksheet that requires common entries that could exist in a list, set them up that way.

To create such a list, in an empty sheet in the workbook type the list of items to choose from, in one column. Return to the sheet where you'll use these items and select the range into which they will be entered.

Choose Data, Data Validation and then click the Settings tab. In the Allow drop-down menu, select List. Click in the Source area, navigate to the sheet that contains the data and select the cells containing the items you just typed. Click OK to close the dialog box.

When you select one of the cells to which you just added the Data Validation option, you'll see a drop-down arrow appear. From the list that appears when you click the arrow, you can select the item to enter into that cell.

There you have it. Look out for part two of this article as we'll give you additional tips that'll help you use Excel spreadsheets more efficiently.

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