10 Excel hacks to boost productivity
Using Excel to boost business productivity
There have been a variety of innovative data analysis tools that were released in the market. However, Microsoft Excel remains one of the market-leading tools for data management and analysis, even 30 years after it was launched. Microsoft executives claim that Excel is one product that has outscored every other Microsoft product. Over 750 million workers have supported this claim too.
Microsoft Excel, launched back in 1985, as an easy-to-use platform for businesses to help them fulfil their data management obligations. To many peoples surprise, these businesses only used Microsoft Excel to a small percentage of its actual potential. There can be several factors that contribute to this. The most significant one being that there are more general users to excel than experts. Moreover, businesses take excel for granted as a basic office tool. However, the truth is, the software is so extensive and versatile in its features and functionality that one might require a qualification in order to master all the features that it offers.
What most startups and small businesses fail to understand is the opportunity cost associated with using this software at its basic level, rather than using the master level advanced features. They also fail to understand the cost-effectiveness and the flexibility this tool provides to businesses of all shapes and sizes. A startup can use excel to design business models, project cash flows and revenue and prepare a financial model or projected financial statements. Businesses can also use the tool to manage timesheets, employee logs, payroll and soo much more. It makes sense for a new business to utilise excel to its maximum potential while keeping costs low on unnecessary tools and software.
Related: Learn how to effectively price your products.
According to the Harvard Business Review, it costs the US $1.3 trillion every year due to bad data. As businesses get bigger so does the data they collect. As a result, more and more businesses start looking for advanced solutions to help them analyse their data in intuitive ways. Although, the most advanced solution, MS Excel is already there to be exploited to its full potential. Businesses should start by training their employees and themselves at an elementary or professional level to increase their company’s overall productivity. You can increase your proficiency with Microsoft Excel by speaking to your business accountant. Our accountants can help you design and manage intuitive business models in excel.
Video: 10 Excel Hacks You Need to Know Now
Microsoft Excel is a market-leading tool for data management and analysis. Watch this video to learn 10 Excel Hacks, shortcuts, and tricks to make you a pro in no time.
The good thing about Microsoft Excel is that you can begin by learning simple but extremely useful tactics to handle your data management responsibilities. Excel is an important tool for accountants, business owners, data analysts and many others. It helps them analyze data, report it and create scenarios with it. In this article, our accountants have shortlisted 10 of the best Microsoft Excel. These hacks can increase the reliability, accuracy and value of your work, and to boost your businesses productivity.
- Flash fill
A common problem people face while using excel is when they are listing down items with serial numbers in numerical order in an excel sheet. This tedious job is often time-consuming and frustrating. Especially when one has to manually enter a list of 100 serial numbers. This not only wastes time but also increases the chances of incorrect data entry.,
Microsoft Excel introduced the Flash Fill feature back in 2013. The feature was introduced to help ease the burden of manual data entry. Excel can automatically fill as many cells as you wish after sensing a recurring pattern.
Just suppose you have to enter the serial numbers of invoices in the first twenty cells. Let’s assume that the range begins from 0001. If you want to automatically generate a series of correct serial numbers in the numerical order down the column. You can begin by establishing a pattern by entering 0001 in the first blank cell and 0002 in the cell below. After entering, highlight both of the cells and drag your cursor by holding the small black dot on the bottom right of the highlighted cells down to the twentieth cell of the column. Release the mouse button, and you will see a series of serial numbers automatically generated in a split second!
The magical ‘’Flash Fill’’ feature is an incredible way to save time. You may use this feature in multiple scenarios. It is mostly used where you need to make a lot of entries back and forth.
- Instantly add or subtract
This is one of the most basic tricks on Microsoft Excel and a must-know for everyone using the software. Instead of entering mathematical formulae, again and again, you can simply add up everything by highlighting any cell at the end of a row or column (wherever you want your result to appear) and pressing “ALT” and “+” keys simultaneously. Similarly to subtract numbers, press “ALT” and “-” simultaneously.
- Toolbar for auditing
While writing down a mathematical formula for calculations, entering the right column or row number in the Excel formula bar requires you to be extremely precise. To ensure that you don’t make any errors. You may use the audit toolbar to visually track the row and column cells that you have included in your mathematical formula for a particular cell.
- Undo CTRL+Z/ Redo CTRL+Y
Many people are familiar with the perks of having an undo feature on various software. It might sound like a very simple feature but don’t be surprised if someone calls it a life-saver. If you aren’t pressing CTRL+Z to undo your actions, then you would be taking a lot more time on tasks than usual. While this key shortcut is widely known, most people are not familiar with the CTRL+Y feature to redo an action.
- F4 (Function key)
You might be familiar with one use of F4, that is to let users switch between different options when creating an absolute reference. Another speciality of F4 is that it can perform repetitive functions depending on your last activity. For instance, if your last activity was colouring a cell, then you can press F4 to colour other cells as well.
- Paste special
The copy-paste feature is extremely useful to simplify a complex dataset. However, in some cases, you might not want to use the same format of your copied cell. In some instances, you might only want to copy the values from the cells and not the entire formula.
The paste special feature allows you to paste only the elements that you want, from the cell copied. To use the paste special, you need to copy the data from the cell and press CTRL+Alt+V keys simultaneously. Once done, you can then make your selections and paste only the data that you want in the format of your choice.
You can press the ALT + E + S + V keys if you only want to paste the values.
- Insert multiple rows or columns
A shortcut to adding a row or a column in between the existing ones is by pressing CTRL + Shift + (+). You may add multiple rows or columns together by simply highlighting the number of rows or columns you want to add. Once done press the ‘’insert’’ key after right-clicking the cell.
- Remove duplicates
The remove duplicates option helps you remove any duplicate entries in your data. This feature can be found in the data tool section in the data menu. However, it is strongly advised to place the values, after deduping, in another sheet to prevent any loss of data.
- CTRL+Arrow keys
Tracking down data on excel can get somewhat frustrating at times. This is especially true when the dataset is huge and you have to repeatedly scroll down entire columns and rows. You can scroll your way down by pressing the CTRL+the arrow keys (depending on which direction you want to go). By using this simple shortcut, you instantly get to the end of the data in the row or column you are working on.
To highlight a large group of cells in a row or column together. You use the CTRL + Shift key shortcut as well.
However, you should know that if there are any gaps in any of the rows or columns, this shortcut will take you to the gap first.
- Pivot tables
Most basic-level excel users are not aware of the pivot tables feature. Pivot tables are an amazing tool that allows users to extract raw data and organize it in tabular form. Clients can use pivot tables to examine revenue data according to the month, year, type of offering, or any other way which seems appropriate to them.
The ten simple hacks listed above can help you increase the operational efficiency and productivity of your business. Data handling is a crucial task and needs to be done by an expert in the field. However, if you learn a few tips and hacks on a data-management software. It will increase the confidence with which you make data-driven business decisions.
We advise you to speak to one of our specialist business advisers to learn more about Microsoft Excel and how it can help boost your productivity when working on extensive worksheets. Excel is a good tool when starting a business. You can read more about starting a business in our startup guide.
Clear House Accountants are experienced Accountants in London who are known for providing quality bespoke solutions to businesses. Our business accountants ensure that our business clients get past their growth stages seamlessly while maintaining efficiency and productivity.
Thao is a Senior Accounting Manager at Clear House Accountants. Her experience in the industry has led her to her current position in which she is responsible for a team of accountants, tax planners and bookkeepers.
Thao works with her team to help clients from a variety of industries, grow, save money and plan for the future. Thao holds a Bachelor and Masters degree in Accounting and Finance and is currently working towards her ACCA, she is also a Xero and Quickbooks Certified Advisor.
Thao’s expertise lies in high-level tax planning, management accounting and strategic business planning based on financial performance and business analytics. Her experience, expertise and knowledge make her an exceptional contributor at Clear House.