1-Freezing Rows and Columns
If you have a lengthy spreadsheet containing tons of data, you may have to scroll too far down or even across to view it all. This means you will lose sight of your headings and find yourself constantly scrolling back to see them. However, if you freeze the rows and columns, then those headers will remain as you move through your spreadsheet.
- Navigate to the View tab and select Freeze Panes on the ribbon.
- In the Freeze Panes drop-down, select Freeze Top Row, Freeze First Column, or choose both if needed.
Now when you scroll up, down, right, or left, you will notice your headers will remain visible. To unfreeze those rows and columns, just select Freeze Panes command again and click Unfreeze Panes.
Note that in older versions of Excel, the process is a bit different. Select the cell that is common to both the row and column you want to freeze and then click Freeze Panes.
For example, let’s say you track your dental patients’ birthdays to see whose is coming up and then mark them as having received a Happy Birthday greeting from you.
In this worksheet, we see the information we want by using conditional formatting, driven by two rules that each contain a formula. The first rule, in column A, formats future birthdays, and the rule in column C formats cells as soon as “Y” is entered, indicating that the birthday greeting has been sent.
To create the first rule:
- Select cells A2 through A7. Do this by dragging from A2 to A7.
- Then, click Home > Conditional Formatting > New Rule.
- In the New Formatting Rule dialog box, click Use a formula to determine which cells to format.
- Under Format values where this formula is true, type the formula: =A2>TODAY()The formula uses the TODAY function to see if the dates in column A are greater than today (in the future). If so, the cells are formatted.
- Click Format.
- In the Color box, select Red. In the Font Style box, select Bold.
- Click OK until the dialog boxes are closed.The formatting is applied to column A.
To create the second rule:
- Select cells C2 through C7.
- Repeat steps 2 through 4 above, and enter this formula: =C2=”Y”The formula tests to see if the cells in column C contain “Y” (the quotation marks around the Y tell Excel that this is text). If so, the cells are formatted.
- In the Color box, select White. In the Font Style box, select Bold.
- Click the Fill tab and select Green.The formatting is applied to column C.
3-Make Use of Autofill
You can save a tremendous amount of time with two methods of filling in data in Excel. Skill #1 is the “autofill” feature – filling out numbered data in columns and rows. While tutoring a realtor on how to use Excel to replace his paper financial documentation, I learned quickly that many people are not aware of this one, single feature of Excel that can save hours of data entry. To use it, simply type anything into the first cell that ends in a number.
When using the feature for dates, you can easily fill a column or row in increments of one day. For instance, you can enter 12/25/16 into the cell, select that cell, and when the fill handle appears just drag to add subsequent dates. This maneuver also works with days of the week and months of the year as well as downward through a column and across through a row.
Click and hold the lower-right corner of the cell, and drag the mouse down the column. You’ll notice that the number on the right will automatically increment for each cell.
4-Use Autofill for Formulas
Skill #2 to learn is using autofill for formulas. If you write a function at the bottom of each column – for example averaging all of the values in that column – you can use this same autofill feature to do the same calculation at the bottom of each other column as well.
You do this the same way. Click and hold the lower right corner of the cell where you just typed in the formula, and then drag it across the other columns to the right of it.
When you release the mouse, all of those column calculations will automatically correct for the right column letter. You’ve basically performed the identical formula for every column in just a few seconds, and you didn’t even have to type another keystroke.