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15 Ways to Use Excel like a Pro and Become Excel Expert

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ms excel tips to become excel expert

Microsoft Excel has been around since 1985. The spreadsheet program came into the market as a solution to data management and analysis for businesses.

But now, almost every Microsoft Office user takes advantage of what it has to offer. As a student, you probably used it to handle assignments or study sessions. 

And now, as an adult, it is still your go-to aid for various tasks. These include mathematical calculation, formatting options, and visual representations using tables, charts, or graphs. 

Yet, many may feel that using Excel can be a daunting task. But, with the following tips, you too can become a bona fide Microsoft Excel expert.

Work with Excel Data Like a Pro With These 15 Simple Ways

Let's see the 15 ways to use Excel like a pro. There are so many other Microsoft excel alternatives for MAC and Windows you can also use. But the techniques and tips in this article we are going to tell you will work on any of the excel software distributed by different companies

1 - Simplify Searches with the VLOOKUP Function

You must be wondering, what is VLookup in Excel? Well, it stands for “vertical lookup.” It allows a user to search for values in the spreadsheet. Imagine looking for a name amongst thousands of others. Yet you only have one, not both names.

The value, in this case, would be that one name. Next, select the column you want Vlookup to search. You will get the result within a row in the column.

The formula you will need to master is =VLOOKUP (lookup value), table array, column number, and TRUE for an Approximate match or FALSE for an Exact match. 

Don’t let the formulae scare you. It is quite simple once you get the hang of it.

2 - Easy Data Analysis with Pivot Tables

Data analysis is a difficult task. It can take hours to sort, reorganize and manage large amounts of data. But, Pivot tables in Excel will handle such tasks with ease. 

To create a Pivot Table, go to Insert and select Pivot Table. Now here is where the magic happens. Excel will automatically fill your Pivot Table. No need to input any data, unless you want to change the order. 

The drag and drop functionality allows you to move columns as you wish to create a table. You get summaries of matching data sets which are great when analyzing tons of information. 

3 - Comb through Data Sets with Filters

Filters come in handy when you have very large sets of data. Think about how time-consuming and tedious it would be to look at every single row in the spreadsheet.

It is more convenient to look at the information that fits a specific category. Filters allow you to prune data, such that you only look at a given row at a time. 

To create filters, go to Data and select Filters. You can then organize your data in ascending or descending order. All you need to do is click the arrows on the column heads.

4 - Master Basic Formulas


Excel will help with simple and complex calculations. Throw away that notepad or calculator. 

You have all the formulas you need in Excel. Such include SUM to add values within a row or column. Others are Average, Count, and Max/Min.

5 - Quick Select Entire Rows and Columns

Another pro tip is to use the CTRL and SHIFT keys to select entire rows and columns. 

To do this, click on the first cell of the data sequence you wish to select. Next, hold down CTRL+SHIFT. Use the arrow keys to select the data above, below, or opposite the cell, you’re in.

You can also use CTRL+SHIFT+* to highlight an entire set of data.

6 - Entering the Same Data into Multiple Cells

What do you typically do when you want to input the same data into multiple cells? You go through the tedious and mundane copy and paste cycle, right? 

Well, you can stop doing that from today. There is a more efficient way to go about the process.

Start by selecting all the cells where you need to input the same data. Use CTRL+click functionality to make work easy.

Now, input the data into the last cell that you have selected. An easy way would be to copy the data. Then, use CTRL+ENTER to fill in each highlighted cell with the same data.

7 - Track Qualitative Data with Drop-Down Menus

When tracking qualitative data, it can be tiresome to keep writing words such as “Yes” or “No” over and over. Instead, you can use drop-down menus to mark descriptive aspects of what you are tracking.

To do this, highlight the target cell. Next, click on Data>Validation. 

Look at the Allow options in the setting box, and click Lists. Now, select Drop-down List. Check the In-Cell dropdown button and press OK.

8 - Copying Data across Worksheets

You may have had to deal with data in different worksheets. It can be frustrating moving from window to window, to access the information. Make your life easy by copying everything into one worksheet. Here is how.

  • Open the worksheet containing the formula/data you wish to copy.
  • Select the range that you will move to the new worksheet.
  • Use CTRL + click on the tab of the worksheet you want to copy it to.
  • Click on the cell with the formula or data you need.
  • Activate the cell with F2.
  • Press Enter to re-enter the formula or data, and it will also enter it into the same corresponding cell in the other selected worksheet.

9 - Display Spreadsheet Formulas

You may need to look at a spreadsheet created by someone else. It will require knowing the formulas they used to better understand the information. 

To do this, either use the shortcut CTRL+ ` or click on the Show Formulas button.

10 - Avoid Distortion of Values by Deleting Blank Cells

Blank cells can result in distortion of values. Avoid this by identifying and deleting such.  

Use the Filter function for this. Go to Data and click on the Filter button.

In the downward button, undo ‘select all’, scroll down, select blanks, and then click OK. All blank cells will show up allowing you to delete them.

11 - Use the Dollar Sign to Maintain a Cell’s Formula

In Excel, the dollar sign ensures that the exact column and row remain the same even if you copy the same formula to adjacent rows. 

Why is this important? Well, when you copy a relative formula from one cell to another, the values adjust depending on where you move it to. It will impact the results you get on whatever you are working on.

So, the values should remain as is. The trick is to turn the relative formula into an absolute formula by using the dollar sign.

12 - Hiding Data from Other Users

Sometimes you may wish to keep your information from third-party eyes. Here is how to enable the function in Excel. 

Start by selecting the first column or row in the range you want to hide. Next, under the Home menu, select Format > Hide & Unhide > Hide Rows or Hide Columns.

13 - Use the Excel Format Painter

The Microsoft Excel Format Painter helps you quickly apply uniform formatting across multiple cells. It ensures proper organization of the spreadsheet which makes it easy to read. To use the Format Painter;

Select the cell containing the formatting you want to replicate.

Go to the Home menu and select Format Painter.

Click on the paintbrush icon to apply the format of the cell onto any other cell.


14 - Shift Easily Between Excel Files

Navigating from one Excel document to another when handling data can lead to errors. 

To avoid this, simply use CTRL+TAB to easily navigate between files.

15 - Manage Repetitive Data with Autofill

Autofill is a very useful tool when dealing with repetitive data. Simply key in the first value in the cell.

Next, move the cursor to the cell’s bottom right. A + sign will emerge. Now drag the sign downwards until you reach the final cell you wish to fill.

Final Thoughts

Excel is a fantastic tool if you master how to use it. The truth is, these tips may not make you an overnight guru. But, spend some time learning them. You may very well become the resident Excel pro.

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