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Microsoft Office Excel cheat sheet

The greatest tool for making and organizing spreadsheets is, without a doubt, Excel. It is available in other productivity programs in the Microsoft Office suite. There is a good solution available to everyone to gain access to Excel. A perpetual license is one that allows both residential and business users to purchase a software license upfront and keep it forever. If you would rather use a subscription-based service, Office 365 provides a range of payment options that may be used by both individuals and businesses.

We created this cheat sheet to assist you in getting started with Excel and to provide you with some helpful hints even before you buy the program.

Selecting a perpetual license vs a subscription license

There are two ways that you can obtain Excel, as was previously indicated. Both of these variants, nevertheless, have unique advantages and disadvantages that are better suited for disparate audiences.

With a perpetual license, you can own the software forever with just one payment, making it an incredibly economical solution. As a result, Microsoft does not provide updates; once you buy Excel, you will possess the version that is available at the time and will need to buy upgrades for it in the future.

However, there are advantages to purchasing an Office 365 subscription. You get immediate access to future updates and extra special features, even though it might cost more. If you require features like cloud sharing and team collaboration at the same time, a subscription is undoubtedly the best option.

Learn how to use the Ribbon interface.

Since its introduction in a previous iteration of the program, the Ribbon has played a significant role in Excel for a number of years. Instead of requiring users to navigate through convoluted and antiquated menus, sub-menus, sub-sub menus, and so forth, it was designed to enable faster work. With the Ribbon, you can access the tools you know and love more quickly, thanks to its intuitive navigation and mostly visual layout.

Newer versions of Excel, such as Excel 2016 and Excel 2019, feature a flatter design style for the Ribbon. This choice in design reduces screen clutter when compared to previous editions of Excel. Furthermore, Excel’s minimalist design sets it apart from its competitors, giving it a modern and stylish appearance.

Although green is widely recognized as Excel’s characteristic color, you may always alter the top portion of your Ribbon to white, grey, or black. To select your preferred theme, simply navigate to the File → Options → General menu and look for “Personalise your copy of Microsoft Office.”

While most commands and functions are located in the same places as in previous Excel versions, labels and groups make it easy for even inexperienced users to discover tools. Unable to locate something? Make use of the “Tell me what you want to accomplish” function in Microsoft. If you would rather not skip ahead, we will talk about that in more detail later.

At any time, you can conceal the Ribbon by pressing the Ctrl + F1 keyboard shortcut. Pressing those exact two keys will bring it back to life.

Modifying the Ribbon’s settings allows you to alter its appearance. The “Ribbon Display Options” icon is located in the top right corner of your screen. A menu with three choices will appear when you click on it:

  • By default, this option conceals the Ribbon and all of its tabs and actions. With this option enabled, accessing the Ribbon and all of its features in Excel is as simple as clicking on the top part of the screen.
  • Show Tabs: This option preserves the Ribbon’s tabs while concealing all of the commands beneath them. By clicking on a tab, using the Ctrl + F1 keyboard shortcut, or choosing the “Show Tabs and Commands” option, you can display commands.
  • Show Tabs and Commands: This option allows you to view the Ribbon in its entirety, with all of its tabs and commands always visible.

File menu, backstage section

Excel’s “backstage” area is where you will find yourself when you select the File menu. Here, you get a full-page view of standard functions like opening or saving files, printing, and sharing, rather than a tab with commands. Save locally, use cloud-based services you are linked to (like SharePoint and OneDrive), share via email, and even print your work directly from Excel—all accessible through submenus in the File menu that focuses on exporting your work.

The File menu also provides access to your current workbook’s properties. This allows you to view a wealth of information, including the file’s size, creation and modification dates, owner, and more. As the owner, you may also modify the permissions of your co-editors, add password security, and check for accessibility issues.

Tell me what you want to do.

Although new users may find Microsoft Excel intimidating at first, the program’s creators have made several adjustments to make it easier to understand and use. The sheer breadth of its features and capabilities can make you think that mastering it will require an inordinate amount of study time.

For example, let’s imagine that you have a set of data and wish to visualize it in a pie chart. Type in “make pie chart,” and a menu will provide numerous results. In this example, clicking on the first result instantly allows you to insert a pie chart without having to browse via the Ribbon and find the option there.

There are other findings that could be useful and provide solutions to your problem as well. There is a link to a resource or the Smart Lookup function to help you research any subject as you write in a task.

Finally, you may get answers to your problems and complete tasks more quickly with the Tell Me tool in Excel. There is always room for improvement when it comes to software, even if you think you know your way around it. Just type in the assignment you are looking for, and Tell Me will remember it so it is even easier to find later on.

Search online with Smart Lookup.

This revamped feature makes it a breeze to conduct targeted web searches for specific information. A context menu will show when you right-click on a cell that contains a word or words; from there, select Smart Lookup. By selecting this option, a fresh Excel window will be launched. Then, you may tell the Microsoft Bing search engine what you are looking for by typing it in.

The use of Smart Lookup may necessitate the activation of Microsoft’s intelligent services. So, in order to provide these services with training materials, Microsoft will collect your search phrases along with specific content from your documents and spreadsheets. If you value your privacy and are hesitant to risk it by doing an internet search from Excel, you should reconsider.

Definitions, relevant Wikipedia entries, and other helpful search results will be displayed to you. You can explore web pages further and learn more about them by clicking on any of the results.

When you need a definition or explanation of a term, Smart Lookup can be helpful, but it is not ideal for more precise searches like finding Germany’s inflation rate in 2016.

To visualize your data, use charts.

Presenting to an audience or adding more and more information can make even the most powerful and useful piece of facts difficult to interpret. You may make your spreadsheets better by displaying parts of them visually using charting. This makes your data more complete. You can see patterns and trends in the data and do rapid analyses with this.

First things first when making a chart: decide what data you want to show. To pick multiple cells at once or a selection of data from a group, press and hold the Shift or Alt keys, respectively, while you click on a cell. Pick a chart style that works for your data after you have selected all the cells you need by clicking the Insert tab in the Ribbon.

Over fifteen distinct charts, along with a plethora of chart-type options, are available in Excel 2019 for users to personalize the appearance of their papers. In addition to changing the design and font of your charts, you can also change their colors.

Useful Excel shortcuts

The many features and capabilities that Excel offers its users are consistently praised. Acquiring a thorough understanding of Excel’s keyboard shortcuts is essential if you want to become an experienced user and save time by eliminating the need to navigate Excel’s seemingly endless menus and clicks.

To take your Excel skills to the next level, here are a few of the most popular shortcuts.

Select an entire column or row.

By clicking on a cell within a column and pressing the Ctrl + Space combo, you can select the entire column. Instead, you can select a whole row by hitting Shift + Space.

Start a new line in the same cell.

Typically, creating a new line within the same cell in Excel can be a time-consuming task. Usually, you would need to input the text in a separate application such as Word or Notepad and then copy and paste it into Excel. However, you can save your valuable time and effort by using the Alt + Enter shortcut while typing to start a new line. This shortcut simplifies formatting text in Excel and enhances your overall productivity.

Insert current time and date.

You can quickly insert the current time or date in your spreadsheet by using keyboard shortcuts. Press Ctrl + Shift + Colon to insert the time and Ctrl + Colon to insert the date.

Hide a column or a row.

At times, you may need to compare data between rows or columns, but there could be another row or column that you don’t need at that moment. You can hide a column temporarily by selecting a cell in the column and pressing Ctrl + 0. Similarly, you can hide a row by pressing Ctrl + 9 after selecting a cell in that row.

Show or hide formulas.

To quickly view all the formulas you’ve used in a spreadsheet, simply press Ctrl + ~ on your keyboard. If you press the same key combination again, you can hide the formulas. Additionally, you may find our Excel comparison guide helpful.

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