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Microsoft Excel Tips and Tricks for Boosting Efficiency

written by: •edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 5/12/2009

Microsoft Excel is a powerful application that can be used for everything from creating personal to-do lists to analyzing corporate expenditures. No matter how you plan to use the spreadsheet program, these tips will help boost Excel’s efficiency.

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    Excel Efficiency Tips

    If you’re looking for ways to improve the speed and ease of working in Excel, there are a number of tips available at Bright Hub, including 277 short, simple tricks shared by Mr. Excel (Bill Jelen) himself. In Mr. Excel’s collection, you’ll find tips for calculating with Excel, wrangling data, and formatting in Excel as well as several general usage guides for working in the Excel environment.

    In addition to Mr. Excel’s compilation of tips, there are several other articles at Bright Hub that detail different ways you can get more out of Excel.

    Keyboard Shortcuts

    One of the easiest ways to boost efficiency in Microsoft Excel, no matter what version of the software you’re using, is to learn the various hotkeys and keyboard shortcuts associated with Excel. Two of the most useful shortcuts that I use all the time are Ctrl + Home to get back to the first cell of the worksheet and Ctrl + End to go to the last cell of the sheet, but there are tons of others that can do anything from make formatting changes, to insert the current date and time.


    If you find yourself performing the same sequence of actions all the time, you may want to consider creating an Excel macro that will allow you to execute all of those commands with just a single click. This process is not nearly as complicated as it sounds. In many cases, all you need to do is click the Record Macro button, perform the commands you want included in the script, and click the button to stop recording when done.

    However, if you want to create more complicated macros, you may need to put aside some time to learn Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). While it does require more effort to program in VBA than it does to simply record macros, there are several tutorials here at Bright Hub that can get you started with the programming language.

    Customize Excel

    How often do you open Excel and spend five minutes or more going through and changing the default settings of a spreadsheet to get your desired look and feel? Personally, I’m not a real fan of the default Calibri font or many of Excel’s other out of the box settings.

    Instead of changing these things each time you open a new workbook, you can save all these changes in a new template and customize your Excel working environment. It all takes a few minutes and afterwards, all of your favorite settings will already be applied each time you open Excel.

    For more tips, be sure to bookmark the dedicated Excel topic area in Bright Hub’s Windows Channel. Articles are being added and updated all the time, so there’s always something new to learn.