Time is the most important and the most limited resource in the world. The challenge of time was best expressed by William Penn: “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst”.
Saving time in Excel will allow you to be efficient and productive, and have time to enjoy your life and go to the movie or meet with your friends instead of building another model in Excel till midnight.
Here are 5 best time saving tips in Excel for you:
Tip #1: “Sharpen your saw” in Excel now to save lots of time later
Have you heard this story?
A woodcutter strained to saw down a tree. A young man who was watching asked “What are you doing?” “Are you blind?” the woodcutter replied. “I’m cutting down this tree.” The young man was unabashed. “You look exhausted! Take a break. Sharpen your saw.” The woodcutter explained to the young man that he had been sawing for hours and did not have time to take a break. The young man pushed back… “If you sharpen the saw, you would cut down the tree much faster.” The woodcutter said “I don’t have time to sharpen the saw. Don’t you see I’m too busy?”
Take time and “sharpen the saw” in Excel to save hours and hours later. Learning Excel now is easier than ever as you have a great selection of Excel Books and Video Courses from Excel University. You also can play the Excel Simulation Game keySkillset, where you can learn and try new Excel tricks at the same time. Excel coaching sessions from Make Excel Work For You are also great to try.
Tip #2. Go Mouse-Free in Excel
Your priority should be to learn how to be mouse-free in Excel. You increase your speed up to 10 times when you get rid of the mouse.
Most useful keyboard shortcuts that changed my life: “CTRL + S” – Save “CRTL + Z” – Undo “CTRL + Y” – Redo “Alt + =“ – Autosum F5 – “Go To” window, from where you can go to any cell on the worksheet in micro-seconds “Ctrl + arrow” – move to the end of the contiguous range “Shift + arrow” – highlight the range “CTRL + Page Up / Page Down” – navigate one tab to the left / right
The best way to start learning to be mouse-free is to:
1. Download and print the Shortcut List. 2. Hit the ALT key – you’ll see letters and number show up all over the menu, that’s how you navigate the Excel Ribbon from now on.
Getting comfortable using Excel without a mouse will take about 2–3 weeks. With keySkillset you’ll build your muscle memory 5 times faster as you can learn and try at the same time.
Tip #3. Get advantage of using the Quick Access Toolbar
For the actions that you use frequently, but it is difficult to access them on the Ribbon and there is no shortcut for the – use the Quick Access Toolbar. What is it? It’s the top row on your Excel Ribbon, usually you can see there the floppy disc to save, the undo and redo arrows. What a waste of the precious space! We just mentioned above the easy shortcuts for those actions (“Ctrl + S”, “Ctrl + Z” and “Ctrl + Y” relatively). Let’s use this space wisely.
1. Go to the Quick Access Toolbar with “Alt F T Q” – pushing it one after another.
2. In “All Commands” choose the ones you’d like to add to the Quick Access Toolbar (frequently used functions without easy hotkeys for that).
3. Let’s say, you’d like to add “Fill Color” to the Quick Access Toolbar. Click “Alt + A” to add.
4. Remove the items you don’t need on the Quick Access Toolbar as they have an easy shortcuts to implement. Use “Alt + R” to remove the item from the list.
5. After pushing “Alt” you’ll see the numbers show up on the top row of the Excel Ribbon. In our case, the “Fill Color” is number 3. That means you need to push “Alt 3” one after another to apply this action.
Using Quick Access Toolbar wisely will be a real time saver for you. Make it right – it’s your penthouse of Excel.
Tip #4. Time-Saving Templates
One of the best time-savers for most any task is the use of a template. In Excel templates are very useful. For project timelines, calendars, invoices, budgets, and more, taking advantage of these convenient pre-formatted tools can definitely save you time. Obtaining templates that you need is just as easy as using them. Vertex42 has a nice selection for schedules, budgets, to-do lists, balance sheets and many-many more. Why do something if somebody did it for you already? Try it out and save your precious time by using Excel templates.
Tip #5. You do this in Excel over and over again? Use the macros!
Very often we have to repeat the same actions and operations in Excel. Any office work assumes a certain “routine component” – the same weekly reports, the same actions for processing received data, filling in the same tables or forms, etc. The use of macros and user-defined functions makes it possible to automate these operations by using macros. Another reason for using macros in your work may be the need to add missing, but necessary for your work functions to Microsoft Excel. For example, changing the cell format to the company standard in one click or tracing the precedents or dependents in a complex model in Excel, etc.
Write a macro is much easier than you’d think. Learn how to write a simple macro in our blog – part 1, and how to handle it in part 2.
There are great webinars and online courses to learn Advanced Macros that Jon Acampora provides at Excel Campus.
What Are Your Favorite Time-Saving Features?
As we all continue to use Microsoft Excel, we find little tricks that help save us time. Do you have tricks of your own that you use regularly and would like to share with others? Please share those helpful time saving tips in the comments below!