Month: June 2017

0016 Excel Shortcuts: The Best Way to Format Cells

You may think you know how to format cells, but until you master this goldmine of a shortcut, you’ll forever be limited.

In this video I will teach you the best (and most comprehensive) way to format cells.

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Full Video Transcript:

Some people are extremely particular about the way their spreadsheets look. Clearly, I’m one of them, and in this video, I’m going to teach you how to be very precise and comprehensive with your formatting, which is great for presenting to your boss, investors, or that guy across the hall you’re trying to impress.

Sure, you can use the “Home” tab on the ribbon for many of the most common formatting options, but if you really want to start to get things to the next level and be really precise and comprehensive with all your formatting options, the one place to go is Format Cells, and the way to get there is with CTRL + 1 on the PC or COMMAND + 1 on the Mac.

This is one of those shortcuts that will open up an entire world of different options for you. So, we’re going to explore in-depth, but really, the only main shortcut is the Format Cells for CTRL + 1. The way to remember this is, the one formatting shortcut to control them all, all right? Think of The Lord of the Rings when you think about this.

So once you have this window here, CTRL + 1, there’s a lot of different tabs up top, and you want to be able to navigate quickly between the different sections. The way to navigate is to go CTRL + PGDN to move to the tab on the right, CTRL + PGUP to go to the tab on the left. If you hit TAB, you’re going to move to the next section or area on this popup. TAB again, TAB again. If you want to go in the reverse direction, you’ll do SHIFT + TAB. And again, this is true for any popup that comes up on your screen on your computer, which is really cool.

Another way to navigate is to go ahead and hit the Spacebar when you’re on a check mark. You can check it by hitting SPACE, and you can uncheck it by hitting SPACE again. Alternatively, you can also do things like hit ENTER to hit the OK button or basically make it save and take effect, or hit ESC to cancel out and essentially close the window without saving your changes.

You can also do things like use the ALT and then the letter to actually activate that specific area. So, ALT + W, in this case, will get me to Wrap Text. ALT + W again will undo it. If I want to move to this box here, ALT + H. You can do a lot of these types of things, just pay attention. This is for the PC. The ALT key is a nice accelerator option.

The memory tricks for this are to control your pages or they won’t pay their tab. Think of pages as little rambunctious, obnoxious kids. They’re running around in the restaurant and not paying their bill, so control your pages, or they won’t pay their tab. That’s how you remember that piece. If you want space for dessert, nope. Check, please. The space, dessert, you know, check, it’s all related. In my mind, it was. Hopefully, that helps you.

Fortunately, on the Mac, it is actually very much the same kind of thing with very little, minute differences. It’s the same concept. CTRL + FN + DOWN, which is the same as PGDN. So again, it’s pretty much the same thing as we’ve done on the PC.

There are three main tabs on this window that are important, so that we’re going to cover. There’s the “Number,” “Alignment,” and “Border,” and let’s go through each one.

On the “Number” tab, you have a lot of different types of data, different categories for what the data could actually be. So, you’ll start by selecting that on the side, and then you get a whole host of options. Again, explore each of these on your own time, and really get a flavor of it, but things like General, Number, Currency, Accounting, these are all very, very important, and if you get really fancy, you can do all sorts of custom stuff, but most people don’t ever have to do that. So, don’t sweat it.

Let’s go to the “Alignment” tab and see that there’s a lot you can do here. You can orient your text. You can do things like “Wrap Text” or “Shrink to Fit.” You can even do some merging across, we’ll talk about that a little bit later. And so, that’s a great way to take full advantage of how your text, or your numbers, or whatever your data is, is aligned exactly the way you want to.

Finally, there’s the “Border” tab here, which is kind of incredible because it lets you choose, first, your style, what kind of paintbrush are you going to use, essentially. Well, I want this solid line or this thicker line, this thicker brush, for example. You can then choose the color. Most people keep it Automatic, but you can actually choose a different color here, and then, you use this area here as a canvas, and you will paint the borders onto this.

You can use these things on the side to actually be very specific and targeted about it, or you can do it with the mouse on that section itself, which is another approach. You can do None to erase it all quickly, you can do Outline, whole lot of things you can do, again, explore this, get a feel for it. But first, choose your style if it’s not the one that you want, then your color, and then you can go ahead and apply those changes to this canvas here.

Very important note is to select the cells first before you do any of these things. So, for example, I’m going to hit Cancel, I want to choose these cells over here, and then I’m going to hit CTRL + 1 and I’m going to apply a change, for example, a border.

Let’s make it crazy and do a little sideways border, which looks terrible, and then it applies it all the way to it. But the point is, if you just start doing borders all over the place without selecting first, it won’t get you the result that you want.

You better believe it. I’ve got exercises to practice all of these shortcuts and really remember them cold, so let’s go into each one. You’re going to match the format, make this left section look exactly like the right.

Hints, probably do the thing that it talks about at the bottom, right? It’s pretty cool. Select the cells you want, like the Number here, hit CTRL + 1 and go to the “Number” tab, and let’s see. Let’s move this to the side. Well, in fact, I want the number to appear like so, with only one decimal point and a thousand separator, and with the negative to be with red and a parentheses. So, it’s very, very precise and very comprehensive.

So, go through all of those steps to do things like changing the number format, go through the Alignment tab, make it look exactly the same way, and also do things like the border. It gets very specific. One little note for the alignment, do not merge these cells. It says so right here in the hint. It’s much better to, instead, CTRL + 1, if you want to basically get a hint, Alignment, and Horizontal, it is “Center Across Selection.” What that does is it actually keeps your data only on the left side, but it does the nice thing of putting it as if it’s centered across all of them, versus merging, which can lead to a whole bunch of problems later on, which are just annoying and stupid. So, don’t do that.

Don’t forget to visit where you can download these exercises, along with other free resources such as keyboard shortcut cheat sheets for both PC and Mac.

Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next time. And I think it was Gandhi who said it best when he said, “Don’t forget to share the Excel love.” Wise words.

0015 Excel Shortcuts: How to Insert and Delete Cells, Rows, and Columns

One major advantage that Excel has over paper & pen is that you can literally shift EVERYTHING over and make space for more information without disturbing your existing work. You can also clean things up by removing unused information (no more erasing feverishly!).

In this video, I will teach you how to insert and delete cells, rows, and columns quickly and correctly.

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Full Video Transcript:

Ever hand in a report to your boss, only to have her respond with, “Where’s the March data?”

Don’t worry, there’s a super quick fix to this and it involves inserting cells, rows or columns, which is the topic of this video.

This is one of the most powerful shortcuts in Excel because it lets you go back and add new information to an existing project, while keeping the cell references and everything else intact.

On the flip side, when you’re deleting, make sure to do so with caution because you can only undo up to a certain point. And once your information is lost, it’s pretty much gone forever and no amount of kicking or screaming is going to bring it back.

Fortunately, the actual shortcut here is very, very straightforward. To add or insert cells, you’re going to hit CTRL + + (plus). To delete, you’re going to do CTRL + - (minus). That’s really it, and this is one of those rare times where our Mac and PC shortcuts are identical.

The only nuance to this is you’re going to select first, before you actually use this shortcut. So, let me show you what I mean. If you want to take an entire row, you’re going to select the row and then insert with CTRL + + (plus) to get that row inserted. If you want to choose an entire column, you’ll do it this way and then do it afterwards.

If you want to do an entire cell, you’ll get this pop-up window saying, “Do you want to shift the cells right or down?” You’ll never really need to use these two because you can just select the entire row or column first. That saves you some trouble. But again, think about how you want to shift stuff over to the right or down. Sometimes it varies, based on what you’re trying to do.

Here are some exercises that I’ve created specifically to reinforce these shortcuts, and practice as many times as you want. So, to insert all the cells here, you’re going to end up getting the side on the left to match exactly with the side on the right. And the way to do this, in this example, is to insert the cell, so CTRL + + (plus).

Again, notice I’ve selected the cell first. Shift it to the right because I want this number to move over to the right, and hit “Okay.” And I do the same type of thing over, make sure I’m shifting around until it matches exactly.

You’re going to go through insert the cells, you’re going to do delete all the cells. You’re going to insert the rows, delete the rows, insert columns, delete columns. Lots to do, but it’s all under the same umbrella of inserting cells with CTRL + + (plus) and deleting cells with CTRL + - (minus).

Don’t forget to visit where you can download these exercises, along with other free resources such as keyboard shortcut cheat sheets for both PC and Mac.

Thanks for watching. See you next time. And in the words of William Shakespeare, “To err is human, but sharing the Excel love, now, that’s divine.” He’s so right.

0014 Excel Shortcuts: How to Clear Cell Contents

Have you ever needed to clear PART of a cell, but not all of it? If so, this video is for you!

It will save you minutes, hours, or days, depending on how complex your spreadsheet is :).

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Full Video Transcript:

I don’t know if you know this, but Excel can actually hold a lot of different types of information, sometimes all within a single cell.

And I’m not just talking about numbers or text. There are things like comments and hyperlinks and other data that’s actually there behind the scenes that may not be visible.

So, what happens when you want to clear away some of it, but not all of it? Well, today I’m going to teach you the shortcut on how to clear cell contents.

Instead of being sloppy about deleting information, there’s actually a way to be very precise and efficient about what specific information you want to get rid of, especially when your spreadsheets start getting more complex.

So, here are a number of different ways to clear contents. The first one is Delete. If you actually hit the DEL key, it will remove all of the contents without touching anything else. I’m going to bring that back with a little undo action.

The other ones are all based on the ALT key as the starting point. So, ALT + H for Home, E for the Clear, and then we have a whole bunch of options.

And the memory tricks for all of these is going to be, “Hey, everyone, clear all,” or, “Hey, everyone, clear formats,” “Hey, everyone, clear messages.” All right? The messages part is referring to the comments. Or, “Hey, everyone, remove hyperlinks.”

So it’s all related to that first letter, but you have to get to it with the ALT + H + E something. So, for a clear all, ALT + H + E + A and it will remove not just that content itself, but all the data along with it. Same idea for formats, for comments, for hyperlinks. We’re going to go through each one.

A couple things to note, the DEL key itself is what you want to use when you have multiple cells selected to clear the contents. Instead of the Backspace, which will only give you this annoying first cell removed, but then the blinking cursor, not what you want. So, people usually make that mistake. Don’t make that mistake, just hit the DEL key instead of the Backspace.

For the Mac, there is the other way of doing this, which is to use the fn + Delete on the keyboard. And for the rest of these, these are all customized, so go ahead and go to the description of this video, click on the link for how to customize your Mac keyboard shortcuts, and go through all those steps to do it in detail.

Something that I cannot stress enough is the importance of selecting the cells first, and then making the change, right? “Select, then effect.” So, don’t just start deleting things, select the cell or cells that you want, and then use the shortcut to have it take effect.

Here are a few exercises I created specifically designed to help you practice and reinforce all the different shortcuts. So, go ahead and make the left section here match exactly as it appears on the right using the keyboard shortcuts that we talked about.

So, in this one, we’re going to use the DEL key, we’re going to have…go ahead and select all of it and clear it out and continue to go through until it’s all matching the same way.

And notice that each one uses its own, go through each of these, and at the end, there is a challenge to use a combination of all the different ways to make it look exactly the same.

Don’t forget to visit where you can download these exercises, along with other free resources such as keyboard shortcut cheat sheets for both PC and Mac.

Thanks for watching, see you next time. And remember, dream big, live your truth, and share the Excel love. I do.

0013 Excel Shortcuts: How to Freeze Headers

The whole point of headers is to accurately describe the data underneath them. But what good are headers if they disappear every time you scroll down?!?!

Don’t worry, in this video I will teach you exactly how to freeze your headers at the top of the screen, so you always know which data you are looking at.

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Full Video Transcript:

Have you ever gotten lost in a sea of data with no reference point?

Odds are it’s because you have not frozen your headers. Don’t worry. In this video, I’ll teach you exactly how to do it.

The whole point of freezing cells is to keep certain parts of the screen in place while you’re scrolling somewhere else.

And even though there’s many different ways you can use this, the most common and, I think, one of the most helpful ways to do this is to keep your headers frozen at the top.

So, the way to do this on the PC is with ALT + W + F + F, and it’s all activated through the ribbon. So, ALT + W will get to the “View,” F will get to “Freeze Panes” and F will get you to “Freeze Panes” again. You can safely ignore both of these bottom choices because we’re going to cover only this top choice and it’s based on the current selection.

So, I’ll explain exactly how that works in a second. The key thing to remember here is, “Why is the fudge freezing?” That’s all you have to remember, and then you’ll get the whole freezing panes concept down.

If you’re on a Mac, you have to customize your own keyboard shortcuts. So, go to the description of this video, click on the link, and there’s a separate video that goes through detailed step-by-step instructions on how to customize your own keyboard shortcuts.

I recommend using these two because you can’t use an Undo. You have to use one step for Freeze and, again, a different step for Unfreeze.

Let’s see it in action. And go to this page here and actually select, first, the entire row, so that above that row is where I want the frozen section to be.

So, here’s the setup for it. I do ALT + W + F + F, and now that whole top section is frozen where all the rows 1 through 4 are there. If I want to undo, I can’t do CTRL + Z, I have to back, ALT + W + F. And, again, I hit F again. Notice that it’s changing the name here. It’s “Unfreeze” at this point. So that’s how you freeze the rows.

On the flip side, you can do the columns by choosing the column after the frozen point. So it’s always going to the left of that spot, ALT + W + F + F. And now it’s frozen left-to-right which is, again, pretty helpful if you have things such as names, dates, IDs, something that has to stay visible even when you’re scrolling.

Most people know about these two but what they don’t know about is the third option, So, let me undo it by ALT + W + F + F and choose not a row or a column but a single cell. And this is the point where, at the top left, it’s going to be the frozen point.

So, again, ALT + W + F + F. Not only is it frozen up and down, but it’s also frozen left and right, which is super helpful when you have the headers at the top as well as information on the left that you always need to see.

One caveat here, one thing to avoid is getting lost in your data and saying, “Hey, what happened to my information?” and you go up top and you think you are missing things. You just have to go one down, past that frozen point, to actually pop it back into place and see everything visible again.

So that may happen where, if you’re going down and you go all the way back up, it looks weird. You just have to just go down a little bit more individually, past that frozen point, and everything will pop back into place.

Here are specific exercises I’ve created to help you practice and actually learn all of these shortcuts really, really well. So, go ahead and fill this out.

Freeze the cells along the black border itself. So, again, choose the section underneath, ALT + W + F + F. They’ll be frozen that way for the row. Do the same thing for the column, and the same thing for the rows and columns at the same time. And I recommend using this pretty much all the time because you’ll always have information at the top that you kind of always want to see.

Don’t forget to visit, where you can download these exercises along with other free resources, such as keyboard shortcut cheat sheets for both PC and Mac.

Thanks for watching and I’ll see you next time. And next time you’re with friends and family, go ahead and share that Excel love. Oh. Oh, they’ll thank you for it.

0012 Excel Shortcuts: How to Zoom In or Out

Fact: When it comes to spreadsheets, size matters.

If the text is too small, make it easier to read by zooming in. On the flip side, if you can’t see everything you need to without scrolling, try zooming out.

Either way, make it easier for your boss, colleagues, and yourself by learning how to zoom in and out quickly and effortlessly by using the shortcuts I’m about to teach you.

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Full Video Transcript:

How many times have you received a spreadsheet only to have a really hard time reading it because the text was way too small?

It happens to me all the time, and the first thing I do is zoom in to the correct level. That’s exactly what I’m going to teach you in this video.

What’s wrong with this picture?

If you can read any of this, then I’m extremely impressed. This is way too small, and the only thing we can possibly do before doing anything else is zooming in, right?

That is such a key thing that so many of my clients somehow seem to forget, and they make it really difficult for me to actually read what they’re actually using on a daily basis. So don’t ever make it hard for someone to read your spreadsheet.

Always zoom in very, very nice and big, but not too big because then you can’t see everything that you want to see. So that’s pretty much the essence of this video. And the way to do this with the keyboard is, on the PC, it’s ALT + W + Q will get you to this zoom window.

You can use any one of these presets. You can use up and down arrows to select them. You can use the ALT and then one of those numbers or letters that’s corresponding to the underlined section, and it will jump to that spot. And if you want to type in your own number, I like 125, and hit ENTER, it will now jump to that specific zoom.

On a Mac, what you need to do is actually customize your keyboard shortcut. There is a separate video. Check out the description of this video and click on the link for detailed, step by step instructions.

In this case, it is CTRL + SHIFT + Q, and the “Q” looks like a little magnifying glass. So you’re like Sherlock Holmes for a day and you want to say, “Hey, where’s my magnifying glass?” That’s how I actually figure out how to zoom in with that keyboard shortcut.

If you want another way to do this, you can actually press and hold the CTRL key and then scroll up and down to zoom in and out. That’s actually how I’ve been doing it. You may not have even noticed, but that’s how I did it.

Here are a couple exercises to reinforce these shortcuts and help you practice them. So on the tab itself, on the name of it, it tells you how much you need to zoom in to.

Go ahead and use those shortcuts. In this case, on a PC, ALT + W + Q. Hit TAB to move to this next box and then type in 400 and then hit ENTER, and you’re going to get to the right spot.

Again, just follow the prompts on each of these, and you’ll get to the right approach. And that way, you can practice all of these shortcuts to your heart’s content.

Don’t forget to visit where you can download these exercises along with other free resources such as keyboard shortcut cheat sheets for both PC and Mac.

Thank you for watching, and I’ll see you next time. And do me a favor. Share that Excel love.