How To

Top 5 Excel Hacks: How to use software to your advantage

Excel is an incredibly handy piece of software that offers businesses in all sectors an immense range of benefits—should they know how to use it correctly. With Microsoft Office 365 used by 180 million monthly people, Excel is now a necessity, and spreadsheet software can keep track of finances, stock management and even human resources.

However, some users simply aren’t using the program to its full potential. While this is understandable, considering how complex the software is, people may end up wasting their time as a result of failing to utilise all of its features. Here are a few simple tricks which can turn you into an Excel pro and boost your business’s productivity.

1.    Use an Excel to web application

When Excel documents are shared between colleagues, it can be easy for things to go wrong, such as one user overwriting another’s formula, or getting confused between new and old versions of a document. It’s also possible for your data to be at risk of exposure, with spreadsheets being exposed to third parties or, worse, falling into competitors hands. To combat this, you can streamline your business by webifying your spreadsheets.

For instance, software developed by EASA can convert spreadsheets into a web portal, making for easier use, minimising the risk of exposure, and ensuring your data is kept secure. A web portal uses your spreadsheets to run a shared, secure application, as opposed to being sent between employees through unsecured emails. By using a programme like this, employees are prevented from overwriting formulas and confusing different, outdated versions of documents.

2.    Turn your spreadsheets into informative databases

Whether you need to track your inventory, manage your finances, or simply keep a record of important business information, you can create databases for almost every aspect of your business. A database is effectively a structured form of spreadsheets, letting employees read, understand and evaluate data more simply. Keeping your business organised is important, especially when it comes to your data, so you should always make it as easy as possible for your employees to understand, analyse and edit spreadsheets. A great example of using this to your advantage is by recording your business costs and expenses to help you efficiently plan for the future, as you can evaluate your ingoings and outgoings.

3.    Remember to use templates

Excel provides a selection of pre-made templates, which is ideal if you don’t have the time to design a spreadsheet layout from scratch. You can find templates in Excel for everything, including invoices, budget plans and timesheets, and there are also free templates online that are suitable for Excel use. All you have to do is download them and upload them into the programme. If the template you require doesn’t exist, you can create your own template for your employees by designing an initial spreadsheet and saving it as an Excel Template (.xltx)..

4.    Know the shortcuts and formulas

Knowing the keyboard shortcuts and formulas will make Excel much easier to use, save you time and make storing data quicker and more effective. Instead of manually inputting your data, which can be time-consuming, you can use a variety of functions to speed up the process, and conduct difficult calculations with ease. If you’re not an Excel wizard just yet, there are resources available listing the different shortcuts. There are quite a few to make your working life simple, but here are some to get you started:


  • =sum( )- calculate numerical sums within your data set
  • =sumif – adds all numbers in a range of cells based on one criterion
  • =average( )- calculate the average of a group of numbers
  • =count ( ) – returns the number of numerical values in dataset


  • Ctrl+Z – undo an action
  • Ctrl+Y – redo an action
  • Shift+Space – select entire row
  • Ctrl+Space – select entire column
  • Ctrl+9 – hide selected rows
  • Ctrl+0 – hide selected columns

5.    Create visual representations

Representing your complex data through easy-to-understand visual formats such as bar charts, graphs and pie charts can help put your business into perspective, including your sales, profits, and account information.

These can be updated in the same way as formulas, meaning you only have to create the initial design once, and use it like a template. For example, a pivot chart can help your marketing department summarise its customer sales figures, helping with decision making. These can then easily be shared with your employees or clients. Visualisations also allow for faster action, as you process information quicker than its written counterparts, and can also be more persuasive, helping you to start new workplace discussions and identify emerging trends.


Author Bio : 

Syna Smith is a Head of SEO at Backlinksmedia. She is expert on link building.

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