Work With Excel Data Like A Pro With 9 Simple Tips

Excel Spreadsheet DiagramWithout doubt, an Excel spreadsheet is one of the most advanced tools for working with raw data—and one of the most feared.  The application looks complicated, way too advanced, and like something that would take hours to figure out.

I wouldn’t be surprised if upon hearing that you had to start using MS Excel, your heart started to pound. Is there any way to make Microsoft Excel less scary and intimidating? Yes.

By learning a few spreadsheet tricks, you can bring Excel down to your level and start looking at the application in a different light.  We rounded up some of the simplest yet powerful MS Excel spreadsheet tips you can start using on your data.

1. Use MS Excel Format Painter

To start you off, get yourself familiar with formatting your spreadsheet cells. A visually organized spreadsheet is highly appreciated by others as it can help them follow your data and calculations easily. To quickly apply your formatting across hundreds of cells, use the Format Painter:

  1. Select the cell with the formatting you wish to replicate
  2. Go to the Home menu and click on the Format Painter. Excel will display a paintbrush next to the cursor.
  3. Using Excel Format PainterWhile that paintbrush is visible, click to apply all of the attributes from that cell to any other.

To format a range of cells, double-click the Format Painter during step 1. This will keep the formatting active indefinitely. Use the ESC button to deactivate it when you’re done.

2. Select Entire Spreadsheet Columns or Rows

Another quick tip– use the CTRL and SHIFT buttons to select entire rows and columns.

  1. Click on the first cell of the data sequence you want to select.
  2. Hold down CTRL + SHIFT
  3. Then use the arrow keys to get all the data either above, below or adjacent to the cell you’re in.

You can also use CTRL + SHIFT + *   to select your entire data set.

3. Import Data Into Excel Correctly

The benefit of using is Excel is that you can combine different types of data from all kinds of sources.  The trick is importing that data properly so you can create Excel drop down lists or pivot tables from it.

Don’t copy-paste complex data sets. Instead, use the options from the Get External Data option under the Data tab. There are specific options for different sources. So use the appropriate option for your data:

Importing Data to Excel

4. Enter The Same Data Into Multiple Cells

At one point, you may find yourself needing to enter the same data into a number of different cells. Your natural instinct would be to copy-paste over and over again. But there’s a quicker way:

  1. Select all the cells where you need the same data filled in (use CTRL + click to select individual cells that are spread across the worksheet)
  2. In the very last cell you select, type in your data
  3. Use CTRL+ENTER.  The data will be filled in for each cell you selected.

5. Display Excel Spreadsheet Formulas

Viewing Spreadsheet Formulas

Jumping into a spreadsheet created by someone else? Don’t worry. You can easily orient yourself and find out which formulas were used. To do this, use the Show Formulas button. Or you can use CTRL + `  on your keyboard. This will give you a view of all formulas used in the workbook.

6. Freeze Excel Rows And Columns

This is a personal favourite of mine when it comes to viewing lengthy spreadsheets. Once you scroll past the first 20 rows, the first row with the column labels annoyingly disappear from view and you begin to lose track of how the data was organized.

Freezing Excel Columns Rows

To keep them visible, use the Freeze Panes feature under the View menu. You can opt to freeze the top row or, if you have a spreadsheet with numerous columns, you can opt to freeze the first column.

7. Enter Data Patterns Instantly

One great feature in Excel is that it can automatically recognize data patterns. But what’s even better is that Excel will let you enter those data patterns to other cells.

  1. Simply enter your information in two cells to establish your pattern.
  2. Highlight the cells. There will be a small square in the bottom right hand corner of the last cell. Excel Data Patterns
  3. Place your cursor over this square until it becomes a black cross. 
  4. Then click and drag it with your mouse down to populate the cells within a columnEntering Spreadsheet Data Patterns

8. Hide Spreadsheet Rows and Columns

In some cases, you may have information in rows or columns that are for your eyes only and no one else’s. Isolate these cells from your work area (and prying eyes) by hiding them:

  1. Select the first column or row in the range you want to hide.
  2. Go to Format under the Home menu.
  3. Select Hide & Unhide>Hide Rows or Hide ColumnsHiding Excel Rows Columns

To unhide them, click on the first row or column that occur just before and after the hidden range. Repeat steps 2 and 3, but select Unhide Rows or Unhide Columns.

9.  Copy Formulas Or Data Between Worksheets

Another helpful tip to know is how to copy formulas and data to a separate worksheet. This is handy when you’re dealing with data that’s spread across different worksheets and requires repetitive calculations.

  1. With the worksheet containing the formula or data you wish to copy opened, CTRL + click on the tab of the worksheet you want to copy it to.
  2. Click on or navigate to the cell with the formula or data you need (in the opened worksheet).
  3. Press F2 to activate the cell.
  4. Press Enter.  This will re-enter the formula or data, and it will also enter it into the same corresponding cell in the other selected worksheet as well.

These general tips won’t turn you into an Excel guru overnight. But they can help you take that first step towards becoming one! Are you a well-seasoned Excel user? Which of your spreadsheet tricks would you add?

 

How To Manage Your Next Super Bowl Pool With 5 Everyday Office Tools

Classic-Leather-FootballPhoto Credit: Tom Newby Photography via photopin cc

Super Bowl Sunday. Two teams. One winner. An entire season of playoffs leading up to one championship game. Who do you have pegged to win?

If you’re a football fan, chances are that your choice is already locked down in an office pool. After all, nothing adds excitement to a game like a small pool among you and your colleagues—especially when you win and get all the bragging rights!

That’s the fun part. But if you’ve ever managed a pool yourself, then you’ll know that as fun as it can be, it can also be stressful. From trying to get your football squares filled to updating your bracket sheets, every pool manager hustles to get everything organized and recorded properly.

Don’t worry if things didn’t go smoothly this year.  We found that no matter what kind of pool you’re running, there are a few tricks that can make things go easier.  So while the Super Bowl marks the beginning of the end of tracking sheets and football statistics (at least for a while), we thought a short list of tips and tools would go a long way to helping you with your next football pool. Check them out.

Use Excel Templates

First thing’s first–did you create your Super Bowl sheets from scratch? If so, you should re-consider. Save yourself the time and effort next time by using a template.

You can get a variety of templates for any pooling options you and your workmates set up. Even better, you can find templates with formulas and functions pre-set so that calculating details like scores is just a matter of entering your data.  A simple search online can dig up a number of downloadable super bowl squares excel templates and tracking sheets for free.

Share your Football Squares On GoogleDocs

Whether it was your first time handling the project or if you’re a seasoned pro, you probably had a tough time filling all your football squares once the most popular numbers for super bowl squares were taken. To help combat that lull in interest, try distributing and sharing them publicly. Doing so will help spread the word around the office.

Google-Docs-View-Document

You can easily upload it to a cloud server like Google Docs and then simply add a person’s email address to share it. To keep others from modifying your bracket sheet, set up file permissions allowing only others to view the available squares while you alone can update and lock in everyone’s picks as more people join.

Keep Everything In Excel Worksheets

In any pool, you’ll want to keep track of everything involved with the game—statistics, players and standings, so you can report the calculated results to your pool members.  To make this task easier, keep track of everything in a separate worksheet within the same workbook as your pool tracking sheet.

This may seem obvious, but it’s the most overlooked yet effective way to keep others updated on statistics during the game. You can easily use an Excel formula, a macro or a function to automatically calculate points earned, highlight player data or tally up the standings.  Thus, if anyone in the pool needs to check in on how their picks are doing, they can find the updated details organized alongside the tracking spreadsheet.

Use A Microsoft PowerPoint Template

Super-Bowl-Excel-Alternative                                                                                  Image Source: Free-Power-Point-Templates.com

Now we all have our own preferences when it comes to getting things done, and if Excel isn’t your thing, don’t waste time trying to struggle with it. Instead, consider using another format like PowerPoint. Free- PowerPoint-Templates.com has a quick tutorial on how to make a football squares template within PowerPoint. It shows you how to achieve the same goal and set up without all the formulas.  Simple.

Finalize Your Pool In PDF Format

Among the many important tasks to carry out, having the pool set in stone is key. Once you have all you Super Bowl squares set, for instance, the next thing is to ensure that those squares don’t get altered when they’re distributed.

Able2Extract-Excel-to-PDF-With-Able2Extract

The most convenient way is to create PDF files of your sheet. It’s a great way to keep yourself accountable and to secure your co-workers’ picks until the end of the game. Able2Extract can do this easily from MS Excel (or PowerPoint) with all the PDF creation and security features needed.

So are you ready for Super Bowl weekend?  Share your office pool tips and tricks in the comments!

 

Merry Christmas From Investintech.com

 Merry-Christmas-StarPhoto Credit: mrmanc via photopin cc

Christmas is finally here and we just wanted to wish everyone of our customers, followers and supporters a Merry Christmas!

Whether you’re at a huge get together with the entire family, on vacation in a tropical hotspot or cozy and warm at home with a loved one—no matter how you celebrate it, we hope you all have a safe and happy holiday this year!
Cheers,
The Investintech Team

Investintech Says Goodbye To Able2Doc PDF to Word Converter & Sonic PDF Creator

deleting-user

We have some sad news for all our Investintech users. It was a hard decision, but after a lot of careful consideration, we’ve decided to discontinue both Able2Doc PDF to Word Converter and Sonic PDF Creator.

Both these products have been with us since the very early days of Investintech.com, and we’re sorry to see them go.  However, we believe in providing our users with products that add value to a workflow which includes being able to work with PDF documents without having to resort to more than one product.

Able2Doc-Pro-Discontinued

Sonic-PDF-Creator-Discontinued

You may have noticed that our PDF to Word conversion and PDF creation technology have already been integrated with Able2Extract PDF Converter.  Because of this, you can benefit from an even better, more enhanced user experience. PDF conversion and PDF creation are now both within a few clicks of each other.

What Does This Mean For Existing Users?

Unfortunately, because we’re phasing these products out, we will no longer be offering any customer or technical support for them. Thus, we’ll be offering a highly discounted Able2Doc upgrade to Able2Extract 9 for $29.95 USD  (to Standard version) and $49.50 USD (to Professional version).

With this discount, you’ll not only get the PDF to Word conversion and PDF creation features you’re used to, but also the added functionalities that come with Able2Extract–PDF conversion to more than 10 formats, PDF page editing, advanced PDF creation options, custom PDF to Excel conversion, and more.

We’ll be pulling out Able2Doc and Sonic every now and again for exclusive one-time giveaways. So you’ll still be able to catch the software around in the future every now and again.

To give  Able2Extract 9 a try, you can download a 7-day free trial here.

 

Introducing The All New Able2Extract 9 With PDF Creation!

Today, we’re excited to announce that we just released Able2Extract 9.0! Our flagship PDF converter has undergone some major changes in this version which we know you’ll love.

These changes go beyond what you’d consider an average product upgrade.  This is because in addition to general PDF conversion improvements, Able2Extract 9 now comes with the ability to create  and edit PDF documents!

able2extract-pdf-converter-9

Our developers have worked hard to turn Able2Extract 9 into a complete PDF solution package. And with our in-house PDF creation technology baked directly into Able2Extract, the PDF converter can accomplish a whole new set of PDF tasks from creating PDFs to editing your PDF pages.

Here’s what you’ll find in this latest version.

Create Professional PDF Documents

We made it super easy for you to create a PDF file from any document, whether it’s from within Able2Extract itself or through the brand new  virtual print driver.

able2extract-open-file

The process is just as easy as converting a PDF file with Able2Extract. From the Command toolbar, click on the Create PDF icon, select your file and simply save it to your computer.

New PDF Creation Options

If you’ve used our PDF creation tools before then you’ll know which creation features you have at your disposal.  PDF creation options include:

  • Compression- Choose from LZW, JPEG, and ZIP for your images
  • Security-Apply passwords and file permissions
  • Font & Colours- Specify if you’d like to embed orsubset fontsor convert CMYK to RGB
  • PDF viewing- Decide how you want your PDF to display when opened
  • MS Office conversion-  Choose from a number of Office-related options such as retaining hyperlinks, bookmarks, and comments from Office documents

pdf-creation-options

PDF Creation Security Features

As part of your PDF creation options, you can also create secured PDFs. You no longer have to worry if your PDF files are being tampered with or not. You get to choose what people can or can’t do with your content.

pdf-document-security

Let users copy and paste text, print up the file, or allow them to insert, rotate and shuffle pages. As always, we leave the choice up to you!

Edit PDF Document Pages

With Able2Extract 9, you can go so far as to edit your PDF files.  Able2Extract allows you to add and adjust your PDF document’s information, the file’s viewing settings, and editing PDF pages:

edit-pdf-pages

Able2Extract Print Dispatcher

Another new feature is the Able2Extract Print Dispatcher. This is an icon that sits in your system tray when you install Able2Extract 9 and allows you to keep track of newly created PDF files directly from your desktop.

able2extract-print-dispatcher

It works in conjunction with the Able2Extract Virtual Print Driver. So when you create a PDF document from another application, you can choose how and where you want to open the file.  You can also use this to adjust your PDF creation options when using the Virtual Print Driver to create PDFs.

Save Your PDF Creation Settings

Just as you can save your custom PDF to Excel conversion parameters, you can now save your PDF creation settings as a file. This means that for every PDF you create, you can apply the same file settings as required.

manage-pdf-creation-settings

Improved PDF Conversion, OCR & PDF Rendering

And now that PDF creation is a part of Able2Extract 9, the PDF rendering and viewing capabilities are better than ever! You can use Able2Extract 9 to view PDFs with the even the most complex of graphical content.

able2extract-pdf-viewer

Other enhancements include improved PDF conversion for complex PDF files. And for Able2Extract Professional, we included tweaks to the OCR engine, providing you with even more accurate renditions.

 

Test out and check out all of these newest features here.  Existing Software Advantage Plan users can upgrade to Able2Extract 9 from their account dashboard.

Give it a try and don’t forget to let us know what you think of this latest version!