Quick Tip: Highlight urgent items

Tip for highlighting cells in Microsoft Excel

Here's a tip for your Excel users who have always wanted to use the Wingdings font in a worksheet but who couldn't think of a compelling reason to do so.

The Problem:
Suppose they're responsible for maintaining the master to-do list for their team or department, and they e-mail everyone a copy on a weekly basis. What can they do to make it easier for everyone to notice the most important items on the lists?

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The Fix:
If that worksheet contains a "severity" or "priority" column, they can make the most important items stand out by sorting them to the top of the list. Or they can introduce a graphical element to their spreadsheet by flagging those urgent items. For example, the "lit fuse" icon you get when you format a capital M in the Wingdings font is a good choice. To try out this trick:
  1. Type M in a cell.
  2. With the cell selected, go to Format | Cells | Font.
  3. Choose Wingdings from the Font list.
  4. Select red from the Color list.
  5. Choose 18 from the Size list.
  6. Click OK.

The result is an icon that's guaranteed to catch the reader's eye when you absolutely, positively want them to pay attention to that row.

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