10 Excel time-savers you might not know about

Excel has a lot of tricks up its sleeve, some of which aren’t widely known. Mastering even a few of these less familiar shortcuts can save you considerable time and effort. This download includes an illustrated walk-through of 10 handy techniques, along with a sample workbook you can use to try out each one.

From the download:

Excel is powerful and offers some complex solutions, but that doesn’t mean it has to be hard to use. On the contrary, Excel is packed full of small timesaving click behaviors that make your work quick and easy. In this article, I’ll show you 10 tips that simplify everyday Excel tasks. I can’t promise you won’t know some of them, but chances are, you’ll learn something new!

I’m using Excel 2016 on a Windows 10 64-bit system, but most of these tips have been around for a long time. If something doesn’t work for you in a previous version, it might not be available to you. Feel free to use any Excel sheet or use the demonstration files included with this download.

1: Quick range names
Most of us rely on range names, and remembering them can be troublesome if you have a lot. If you can’t remember the name and you can’t find your documentation, just zoom out. That’s right. A sheet will display range names, as shown in Figure A, when the zoom percentage is less than 40. You can use the Zoom option in the bottom-right corner or the options in the Zoom group on the View tab. It’s a helpful behavior, but unfortunately, the names are difficult to read. Still, it might be just the hint you need.

2: Quick list
The first tip shows you ranges by name and location. If you need a quick list or quick access, press F3. Doing so will display a list of the range names, but there’s more. With the list available, you can insert it into an expression. To illustrate, let’s enter an expression in the Commission column that returns 2% of the values in column C:

  1. Select F4 and enter =.02*. (If you select a range of cells, Excel will enter the expression in all of the cells.)
  2. Press F3.
  3. In the Paste Name dialog, select Value (Figure B) and then click OK.
  4. Press Enter to commit the expression (Figure C).

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