Make Excel Work for You This Year

Excel can do so many things that just getting started can be intimidating. While you can transform your data with complex formulas, you don't need to master every function to make Excel work for you. Get started with these tricks:

1. Stop Typing Lists and Start Filling

If what you're typing has a pattern to it, AutoFill may be able to help. The fill handle (found in the bottom right-hand corner of the selected cell) can be used to replicate patterns based on numbers, dates, or custom lists.

To get started with dates and numbers, type the first couple of items in your list. Select those cells and drag-and-drop using the autofill handle to populate the rest of your list.

To set up a custom list, type the complete list with each item its own cell. Then, add the list to your autofill under your advanced Excel options (you'll find the Edit Custom Lists button under the General group).

Check out this Training Video Tech Tip to learn how.

2. Stop Typing and Flash Fill

If you have data in Excel that needs to be combined, flash fill can do the typing for you. Perhaps you have a column with first names and a column with last names and you really need one column with both. You can use a formula, but there's a simpler way: flash fill.

Start by typing your data how you need it in the first cell. Then, begin typing the data in the second cell. As soon as Excel sees the pattern, it will offer to type the rest of the data for you. Just hit enter to finish the work.

Click here to see it in action!

3. Stop Replicating Formulas and Start Using Tables

Tables (often referred to as Ctrl + T tables) create banded rows automatically and replicate formulas from one row to the next. The top pane is automatically frozen, allowing you to scroll endlessly without losing place of your column headers.

Get started by entered your column headers and first row of data. Select the cells and insert a table from the Insert ribbon. Click in the table to open up the table contextual tabs and manipulate your data with ease.

Affinity Insight Plus and Premium members, join us for our Excel Tables living training webinar on March 3rd. See your Affinity Insight Plus/Premium Membership Materials course to register.

Let Affinity help you reach your goals in 2021. We’d love to help you craft achievable, carefully considered objectives along with sharing strategic, time-saving efficiency tips like these to help you and your firm reach them. Contact us any time to get started at 877-676-5492, or request a consultation.


Danielle DavisRoe

Written by Danielle DavisRoe

Danielle’s many responsibilities at Affinity include training, CLE/speaking, writing, management consulting, and document automation. Prior to joining the Affinity family, Danielle practiced family law. She discovered, however, that she enjoyed making efficient use of technology more than practicing law, making her a perfect fit for consulting. Danielle describes her superpower as “herding cats,” and her favorite parts of her job are making others’ jobs and lives easier.

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