Excel is like a lot of useful but familiar tools—use it long enough and it becomes a habit. You take the well-worn path of actions and approaches to get the job done, even if they are not necessarily the fastest and most effective ways to get the best results.
Mastering Excel is key to gaining what every finance professional needs to succeed: More time. By working faster and more efficiently in Excel, you can free up extra time to support the strategic priorities of your organization. And that could help you move up the corporate ladder.
“It is sometimes hard to change, particularly for someone whose work life is built around spreadsheets,” says Mark Kawakami, a certified Microsoft Excel Expert who has mastered a wide range of Excel workarounds and hacks, which he shared in a recent webinar. “The ideas I present offer a chance to grease the skids a bit and find some simple shortcuts to getting the job done faster and more efficiently.”
Kawakami aims to keep his tips and tricks simple and easy to replicate. He believes that simplicity dramatically improves the chances that these hacks will become part of the workday routine for users who may have slipped into an Excel rut.
So whether they provide a jolt of inspiration for experienced users or an opportunity to learn some key time-saving moves, here are five brief, how-to video clips to help you enhance your Excel skills.
Navigating with arrow keys
Looking for a quick and easy way to format a whole set of data in Excel? Abandon your mouse and turn to your keyboard to navigate efficiently. Learn how to use the arrow keys in concert with the control or shift keys to efficiently jump through or select data.
Using your space bar to navigate
Your space bar can be a serious time-saver. One example? If you want to to make quick changes to an entire column—such as adding a dollar sign to each number—you can hit control and space bar and an entire column of data will be selected to make your change.
Excel menu shortcuts
Check out this step-by-step guide to quick menu shortcuts using your keyboard. Included are some easy hacks for common functions such as inserting a row or column. In addition, you’ll learn shortcuts to create borders and to easily change font and fill colors.
Excel data consolidation shortcuts
Take a deeper dive into some tricks and tips for quickly consolidating data within Excel. Approaches covered include native consolidation format and using sum formulas—and the pros and cons of each.
Working with Excel pivot tables
Creating and working with pivot tables can be one of the more challenging Excel experiences. Yet there are simple formatting and navigation tricks that can make the process easier and more efficient. Check out the keystroke shortcuts that make it happen.
The bottom line: You can make the most of your Excel experience by committing to upping your game and consistently looking for new and better ways to get the job done.