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83 Excel tips every user should master

Whether you are a Microsoft Excel beginner or an advanced user, you'll benefit from these step-by-step tutorials.

People near the Microsoft store on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

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Microsoft Excel was first released in 1985, and the spreadsheet program has remained popular through the years. You can master Excel by reading these tips and tricks on how to add a drop-down list in an Excel cell to finding duplicates, how to delete blank rows in Excel, and more.

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How to use Excel drop down lists

How to add a drop-down list to an Excel cell
Drop-down lists can greatly facilitate data entry. Here's a look at how to use Excel's data validation feature to create handy lists within your worksheets.

How to add a condition to a drop down list in Excel
Microsoft Excel users, here's a quick tip on adding a condition to a drop down list.

How to add color to a drop down list in Excel
This tutorial shows the steps for adding color to a drop down list in Microsoft Excel.

How to create an Excel drop down list from another tab
Here's a quick tip for creating a Microsoft Excel drop down list from another tab.

Use Excel data validation to prevent duplicate values in a column
Prevent duplicates before they happen by combining a simple function with data validation.

How to use macros in Excel

How to use VBA procedures to generate a list of sheet names in an Excel workbook 
Use one or both of these simple Microsoft Excel macros to list all the sheets in an Excel workbook. 

How to add a timestamp to an Excel record 
Like many Excel tasks, there's an easy way and a better way to enter a timestamp for your records. Learn about both in this article. 

How to use Excel pivot tables

How to filter a pivot table in Excel
Pivot tables generate great reports in Microsoft Excel, but adding a filter or two can make them even more flexible. Here's how. 

4 tips for refreshing Excel PivotTable objects
Up-to-date information can be critical; these 4 tips will add flexibility and increase efficiency when refreshing pivot tables. 

How to combine Excel VLOOKUP() and PivotTable for simple solutions
Combining features often extends the flexibility and efficiency of your solution. 

How to display the top n records in an Excel PivotTable using built-in options
To display specific values in a PivotTable in Microsoft Excel, use one of the many built-in filters, such as Top 10. 

How to manipulate data in Excel

How to conditionally return the last value in a column in Excel
Returning the last value based on a condition seems like a difficult problem to solve unless you try one of these easy-to-implement solutions.

A quick way to delete blank rows in Excel
Deleting blank rows in an Excel data range is easy with this technique, but watch out for unintended consequences.

5 ways to delete blank rows in Excel
Deleting blank rows in an Excel data set isn't difficult, but Excel 2016 is the only version that offers predictable results.

An Excel macro that deletes blank rows in a specified range
There are many ways to delete empty rows in an Excel sheet, but this macro might be the easiest of all.

Six ways to remove blank rows from an Excel worksheet (free PDF)
Blank rows can find their way into your worksheets through various means—but no matter how they get there, it's a good idea to get rid of them. This ebook walks through five manual techniques for deleting blank rows and then winds up with a macro-based approach.

Copy an Excel sheet from one workbook to another
Susan Harkins shows you two quick ways to copy data from one Excel workbook to another.

How to average unique values in Excel the easy way
If you need to average a list of values in Microsoft Excel that contain duplicates without including the duplicates, don't fret over a complex expression when you can easily remove those duplicates.

How to summarize data in Excel

How to get an accurate sum in filtered Excel lists
Are the numbers in your filtered Microsoft Excel sheets not quite adding up? If so, here's how to solve the problem.

Create an Excel data table to compare multiple results
Suppose you want to view multiple possibilities within an Excel calculation. The answer is to create a data table.

3 quick and easy ways to summarize Excel data
Summarizing data in Microsoft Excel doesn't have to be difficult. Put these few techniques to work for almost magical results.

How to use styles and visuals in Excel

How to easily print Excel sheets in black and white
Printing a colorized Excel spreadsheet in black and white is easy, whether you do so manually or using a short VBA procedure. Here's how.

How to use Excel styles efficiently
Learn what styles are and how they can help you format your sheets more effectively and efficiently.

How to use Excel's border options by creating a simple floor plan
Applying borders to your sheets will make them more readable and easier to use. Learn how to use borders efficiently by creating a simple floor plan.

Excel tip: Three cell formats that will make header text fit
Header text often takes up too much space. Use these three formats to put headers on a diet when working in Excel. 

Excel Ideas: An intelligent data visualisation tool
Excel Ideas helps you extract the key information from a spreadsheet, but there's currently a limited range of insights available and some data formatting may be required.

How to hide Excel data and alert readers
It's common to hide Excel data. If you want viewers to see that data, you can add a friendly alert.

How to work with different views in Microsoft Excel
You can change views in Excel depending on what you're doing and what you want to see. Learn how in this step-by-step tutorial. 

Entering leading zeroes in Excel
By default, Microsoft Excel won't display or store leading zeros. Read this Excel tip to learn three handy ways to get around the problem.

How to suppress 0 values in an Excel chart
There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution for removing 0 values from an Excel chart. Here's a look at a few methods.

Use a custom format in Excel to display easier to read millions
Use a custom format in Microsoft Excel to reduce the number of digits in a large number without losing its scale.

Two ways to build dynamic charts in Excel
Users will appreciate a chart that updates right before their eyes. In Microsoft Excel 2007 and Excel 2010, it's as easy as creating a table. In earlier versions, you'll need the formula method.

How to use Excel's find feature to highlight or delete matching values
Excel's Find feature offers more than just finding values if you know the right steps.

How to use functions in Excel

How to use EOMONTH() to return the last day of the month and more in Excel
There's more to EOMONTH() in Microsoft Excel than the last day of the month. Learn how to put it to use in your spreadsheets.

How to split a column using an IF() function in Excel
If you need to conditionally split values into multiple columns in Microsoft Excel, consider using the IF() function. Here's how. 

How to combine Excel's VLOOKUP() function with a combo box for enhanced searching
A combo box's autocomplete feature linked to a lookup function creates a flexible search tool.

How to use the new Excel Lookup function
A little from column A, a little from column B: XLOOKUP is the new, easier way to retrieve information across Excel spreadsheets.

How to use numbers and calculations in Excel

How to subtotal transactions by conditional date components in Excel
If you need a monthly or yearly balance for revenue transactions in Microsoft Excel, you're in luck because both are easy! Here's how to find the totals you need.

How to do more advanced averaging in Excel
Averaging values in an Excel sheet is easy. But perhaps you want to ignore zeros or include multiple sheets. Knowing how each averaging function works is the key to choosing the right one.

How to average with and without the highest and lowest values in Excel
Averaging in Microsoft Excel is easy, until you start excluding specific values. Here are three ways to average a data set when giving special consideration to the highest and lowest values.

How to calculate bonuses and commissions in Excel
Everyone likes a bonus, but sometimes calculating one can be a bit complicated--at first. Here's how to calculate the amount in Microsoft Excel that you or your staff will get paid.

How to find the minimum and maximum values within a specified set of years in Excel 
There's a lot going on in these formulaic conditional rules in Microsoft Excel that highlight the smallest and largest values within a period of years.

How to copy expressions without changing cell references in Excel
Microsoft Excel updates cell references when you copy an expression. Here are a couple of workarounds for those rare occasions when you don't want to change the cell references.

How to expose expressions that return a defined error value in Microsoft Excel
You can't distribute an Excel sheet that displays ugly error values when something goes wrong! Learn how to expose those values while you work, so you can determine the right fix.

How to highlight unique values in Excel 
The easiest way to spot a unique value is to format it, and Microsoft Excel offers two ways to do so.

3 ways to suppress zero in Excel 
If you don't want to display zeros, use one of these quick and easy methods to suppress them in Microsoft Excel.

Use Excel to calculate the hours worked for any shift
With Microsoft Excel, you can create a worksheet that figures the hours worked for any shift. Follow these step-by-step instructions.

Four ways to protect your Excel formulas (free PDF)
If a user inadvertently changes the formulas in your Excel workbooks, all your hard work could go out the window. This ebook explains how to protect and hide those formulas so they remain safe and intact. 

3 ways to display meaningful information in Excel using budget values
Turning data into meaning information doesn't have to be hard; a few simple expressions and formatting might be all you need.

3 ways to reconcile transactions using Excel 2016
Here are a few quick methods of analyzing records to find out what's been paid and how much customers owe.

A super easy way to generate new records from multi-value columns using Excel Power Query
Have a complex Excel problem? Power Query to the rescue!

9 shortcuts for working more efficiently with Excel expressions
Typing entire expressions from the keyboard is tedious. Instead, use these 9 shortcuts to enter and work with expressions more efficiently. 

How to use conditional formatting in Excel

How to use conditional formatting to highlight due dates in Excel
The ramifications of missing a due date can range from simply adjusting the date to getting fired. Don't take chances with deadlines when a simple conditional format can remind you.

How to use the selected value in a combo to determine conditional formatting in Excel 
Thanks to the linked cell property in Microsoft Excel, it's super easy to use the selected value as a condition in a macro or conditional formatting rule.

How to highlight the top n values in a Microsoft Excel sheet
This formulaic conditional formatting Excel rule will let viewers determine how many top values to view on the fly. 

How to change an Excel conditional format on the fly  
Conditional formatting is a flexible and powerful tool in Microsoft Excel, but you can't change a condition without modifying the underlying rule. Don't let that stop you—use an input cell. Here's how.

How to use Excel's conditional formatting to compare lists
Whether you're comparing a single list or several, Excel's conditional formatting can get the job done. 

How to avoid a conditional formatting rule in Excel that doesn't work as expected
Formulaic conditional formatting rules in Microsoft Excel can be tricky, so learn how to avoid a common mistake.

More Excel tips, tricks and downloads

How to enter data quickly in Excel 
Microsoft Excel users, follow these two easy methods to reduce data entry time and errors when customized features aren't available.

How to extract the date and time from a serial date in Excel 
If you have to work with a date stamp in Microsoft Excel that includes date and time, you can use these simple expressions to extract both components, making them easier to work with.

How to save a report as a PDF without the spreadsheet in Excel 
There are two easy ways to save the active Microsoft Excel sheet to a PDF file: manually and with a macro. Here's how to do both.

6 shortcuts for working with Table objects in Excel 
Use these six shortcuts to select Table elements and insert columns and rows quickly in Microsoft Excel, making your use of Tables that much easier.

How to use Find All to manipulate specific matching values in Excel 
Filters are great tools, but you can't remove specific items from the results. When you need to do this, try Find All in Excel instead.

6 ways to save time using Flash Fill in Microsoft Excel 
Source data won't always come in the form you need in Excel. When that happens, consider using Flash Fill to save time and aggravation.

How to use sheet view for more flexible collaboration in Excel
Whether you're tired of losing your spot when collaborating or you want to customize the way you view your data, sheet views in Microsoft Excel are for you.

How to use shortcuts to sort in Microsoft Excel 
If you run sorts in Excel a lot, you might benefit from shortcuts or even a macro. Here are some ways to make your sorting life easier.

How to use Find All to manipulate specific matching values in Excel
Filters are great tools, but you can't remove specific items from the results. When you need to do this, try Find All in Excel instead.

How to evaluate the last rows in a changing data set in Excel 
In Microsoft Excel, changing the evaluated range on the fly requires a bit of work, but it's definitely possible thanks to the Offset() function.

How to password protect an Excel workbook
At the file level, you can password protect an Excel workbook in two ways: You can determine who can get in and who can save changes.

How to transfer data from Word forms to an Excel worksheet
Avoid the hassle of manually importing Word form data into Excel. With the help of an Excel wizard, you can quickly step through the process.

How to find duplicates in Excel
You'll need more than one trick up your sleeve to find duplicates in Microsoft Excel.

How to use named ranges to quickly navigate an Excel workbook
Named ranges aren't just for formulas. Here are two ways you can use named ranges to create shortcuts for quick navigation in a Microsoft Excel workbook.

How to combine formulas with Excel's data validation and a Word Replace trick
These tutorials based on readers' questions detail how to combine formulas with Excel's data validation and feature a Word Replace trick.

How to reduce data input and typos in Excel
Data entry can be boring and rife with errors--it happens to all of us. Learn three ways to reduce keystrokes and thereby errors.

How to fix common printing problems in Microsoft Excel
Printing Microsoft Excel spreadsheets can be tricky, but you can avoid most printing problems by following these tips. 

How to turn ordinary sparklines into meaningful information with a few simple formats
Sparklines are a great visual tool, but you can increase their impact with a little simple formatting.

10 handy ways to get more from Excel (free PDF)
The tips, tricks, and shortcuts in this ebook will help you get extra mileage from Excel's powerful features, generate accurate results, and save time on your worksheet tasks. 

Office Q&A: Excel referencing, Word field codes, and a table trick
Susan Harkins presents some easy solutions for a few problems that only seem big.

How to transfer data from Word forms to an Excel worksheet
Avoid the hassle of manually importing Word form data into Excel. With the help of an Excel wizard, you can quickly step through the process.

Office Q&A: How to stop Excel's paste task from overwriting destination cell's format
It's not easy to fool Excel, but with a few extra clicks, you can work around this odd pasting behavior.

Office Q&A: Validation violators and Windows Quick access
This month, learn how to protect Excel's Data Validation feature from violators and get quick access to your favorite folders.

How to apply Insights in Excel and what to look out for when you do
Excel's Insights feature uses AI and machine learning to indicate patterns in data that can help your decision making, but there are several caveats to consider along the way.

How to use Excel's what-if tools to analyze business scenarios (free PDF)
Excel offers three what-if analysis tools that can sharpen your decision-making and help you find the best route to accomplish your objectives. This ebook introduces these tools—Goal Seek, Scenario Manager, and Data Tables—and demonstrates how you can put them to work. Sample files are included in the download.

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