Tips from an Excel Nerd

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I’m on a constant quest to discover new Excel shortcuts because – honest -to-goodness – I’ve found some features that save me HOURS of work in a single sitting. As crazy as it sounds, Excel can be FUN. So allow me to share with you three of my recent discoveries, and let’s see if you share my enthusiasm.

1.  DATEDIF

This handy command will calculate the time-difference between two dates. Say, for example, you want to know the number of days each of your employees has been employed. All you need is their start date and the current date. The formula goes like this:

=DATEDIF(StartDate,EndDate,“D”)

In the above example, the “D” denotes what interval of time you want returned – it can be days, months, or years (or a combination thereof). I chose days.

I ran the command to quickly determine that my age is 17,021 days. Dang.

For more info on DATEDIF, click here.

2.  Automatically Numbering Rows

Do you ever need to add sequential numbers to rows of data, but don’t want to type every single entry? Boy, do I have a shortcut for you! In the first two rows, just type the number values; this establishes your pattern (whether 1, 2… or 2, 4… or 5, 10…). Ready for the magic? Just select the cells containing the starting values, drag the bottom “handle” down over the range of cells that you want to fill, and release.

For more info on automatically numbering rows, click here.

3.  Format Painter

I use a lot of formatting to make my Excel docs both more organized and more attractive, which means header-rows with bold text, background fill color, and sometimes a special border. Instead of re-selecting my formats from one row to another, I just use the Format Painter function. It looks like a paintbrush and is located in the Home menu. Just select the cell with the formatting that you want to copy and click on the Format Painter (paintbrush) button. Then select the cell (or group of cells) where you want to apply that formatting. Release the mouse button and be amazed.

For more information about Format Painter, click here.

I hope you found this article helpful!  If you don’t share my passion for Excel shortcuts, may you at least appreciate the time-savings they provide.  🙂


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