52 Excel tips every user should master

Whether you are a Microsoft Excel beginner or an advanced user, you’ll benefit from these step-by-step tutorials.

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Microsoft Excel was first released in 1985, and the spreadsheet program has remained popular through the years. 

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You can master Excel by reading these tips and tricks on how to add a drop-down list in an Excel cell to finding duplicates, how to delete blank rows in Excel, and more.

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How to add a drop-down list to an Excel cell
Drop-down lists can greatly facilitate data entry. Here’s a look at how to use Excel’s data validation feature to create handy lists within your worksheets.

How to display the top n records in an Excel PivotTable using built-in options
To display specific values in a PivotTable in Microsoft Excel, use one of the many built-in filters, such as Top 10. 

How to avoid a conditional formatting rule in Excel that doesn’t work as expected
Formulaic conditional formatting rules in Microsoft Excel can be tricky, so learn how to avoid a common mistake.

Create an Excel data table to compare multiple results
Suppose you want to view multiple possibilities within an Excel calculation. The answer is to create a data table.

How to highlight the top n values in a Microsoft Excel sheet
This formulaic conditional formatting Excel rule will let viewers determine how many top values to view on the fly. 

How to average unique values in Excel the easy way
If you need to average a list of values in Microsoft Excel that contain duplicates without including the duplicates, don’t fret over a complex expression when you can easily remove those duplicates.

How to combine Excel’s VLOOKUP() function with a combo box for enhanced searching
A combo box’s autocomplete feature linked to a lookup function creates a flexible search tool.

3 quick and easy ways to summarize Excel data
Summarizing data in Microsoft Excel doesn’t have to be difficult. Put these few techniques to work for almost magical results.

How to use the new Excel Lookup function
A little from column A, a little from column B: XLOOKUP is the new, easier way to retrieve information across Excel spreadsheets.

How to evaluate the last rows in a changing data set in Excel 
In Microsoft Excel, changing the evaluated range on the fly requires a bit of work, but it’s definitely possible thanks to the Offset() function.

How to change an Excel conditional format on the fly 
Conditional formatting is a flexible and powerful tool in Microsoft Excel, but you can’t change a condition without modifying the underlying rule. Don’t let that stop you—use an input cell. Here’s how.

A quick way to delete blank rows in Excel
Deleting blank rows in an Excel data range is easy with this technique, but watch out for unintended consequences.

How to password protect an Excel workbook
At the file level, you can password protect an Excel workbook in two ways: You can determine who can get in and who can save changes.

Entering leading zeroes in Excel
By default, Microsoft Excel won’t display or store leading zeros. Read this Excel tip to learn three handy ways to get around the problem.

Use Excel to calculate the hours worked for any shift
With Microsoft Excel, you can create a worksheet that figures the hours worked for any shift. Follow these step-by-step instructions.

Copy an Excel sheet from one workbook to another
Susan Harkins shows you two quick ways to copy data from one Excel workbook to another.

Use a custom format in Excel to display easier to read millions
Use a custom format in Microsoft Excel to reduce the number of digits in a large number without losing its scale.

How to transfer data from Word forms to an Excel worksheet
Avoid the hassle of manually importing Word form data into Excel. With the help of an Excel wizard, you can quickly step through the process.

How to suppress 0 values in an Excel chart
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for removing 0 values from an Excel chart. Here’s a look at a few methods.

How to find duplicates in Excel
You’ll need more than one trick up your sleeve to find duplicates in Microsoft Excel.

Two ways to build dynamic charts in Excel
Users will appreciate a chart that updates right before their eyes. In Microsoft Excel 2007 and Excel 2010, it’s as easy as creating a table. In earlier versions, you’ll need the formula method.

How to use named ranges to quickly navigate an Excel workbook
Named ranges aren’t just for formulas. Here are two ways you can use named ranges to create shortcuts for quick navigation in a Microsoft Excel workbook.

How to combine formulas with Excel’s data validation and a Word Replace trick

These tutorials based on readers’ questions detail how to combine formulas with Excel’s data validation and feature a Word Replace trick.

How to use Excel’s border options by creating a simple floor plan
Applying borders to your sheets will make them more readable and easier to use. Learn how to use borders efficiently by creating a simple floor plan.

How to reduce data input and typos in Excel
Data entry can be boring and rife with errors–it happens to all of us. Learn three ways to reduce keystrokes and thereby errors.

How to work with different views in Microsoft Excel
You can change views in Excel depending on what you’re doing and what you want to see. Learn how in this step-by-step tutorial. 

How to fix common printing problems in Microsoft Excel
Printing Microsoft Excel spreadsheets can be tricky, but you can avoid most printing problems by following these tips. 

How to combine Excel VLOOKUP() and PivotTable for simple solutions
Combining features often extends the flexibility and efficiency of your solution. 

Four ways to protect your Excel formulas (free PDF)
If a user inadvertently changes the formulas in your Excel workbooks, all your hard work could go out the window. This ebook explains how to protect and hide those formulas so they remain safe and intact. 

How to use Excel’s find feature to highlight or delete matching values
Excel’s Find feature offers more than just finding values if you know the right steps.

Excel tip: Three cell formats that will make header text fit
Header text often takes up too much space. Use these three formats to put headers on a diet when working in Excel. 

Excel Ideas: An intelligent data visualisation tool
Excel Ideas helps you extract the key information from a spreadsheet, but there’s currently a limited range of insights available and some data formatting may be required.

How to get an accurate sum in filtered Excel lists
Are the numbers in your filtered Microsoft Excel sheets not quite adding up? If so, here’s how to solve the problem.

How to hide Excel data and alert readers
It’s common to hide Excel data. If you want viewers to see that data, you can add a friendly alert.

How to turn ordinary sparklines into meaningful information with a few simple formats
Sparklines are a great visual tool, but you can increase their impact with a little simple formatting.

10 handy ways to get more from Excel (free PDF)
The tips, tricks, and shortcuts in this ebook will help you get extra mileage from Excel’s powerful features, generate accurate results, and save time on your worksheet tasks. 

9 shortcuts for working more efficiently with Excel expressions
Typing entire expressions from the keyboard is tedious. Instead, use these 9 shortcuts to enter and work with expressions more efficiently. 

4 tips for refreshing Excel PivotTable objects
Up-to-date information can be critical; these 4 tips will add flexibility and increase efficiency when refreshing pivot tables. 

Office Q&A: Excel referencing, Word field codes, and a table trick
Susan Harkins presents some easy solutions for a few problems that only seem big.

Use Excel data validation to prevent duplicate values in a column
Prevent duplicates before they happen by combining a simple function with data validation.

A super easy way to generate new records from multi-value columns using Excel Power Query
Have a complex Excel problem? Power Query to the rescue!

How to transfer data from Word forms to an Excel worksheet
Avoid the hassle of manually importing Word form data into Excel. With the help of an Excel wizard, you can quickly step through the process.

An Excel macro that deletes blank rows in a specified range
There are many ways to delete empty rows in an Excel sheet, but this macro might be the easiest of all.

Office Q&A: How to stop Excel’s paste task from overwriting destination cell’s format
It’s not easy to fool Excel, but with a few extra clicks, you can work around this odd pasting behavior.

Office Q&A: Validation violators and Windows Quick access
This month, learn how to protect Excel’s Data Validation feature from violators and get quick access to your favorite folders.

3 ways to reconcile transactions using Excel 2016
Here are a few quick methods of analyzing records to find out what’s been paid and how much customers owe.

Six ways to remove blank rows from an Excel worksheet (free PDF)
Blank rows can find their way into your worksheets through various means—but no matter how they get there, it’s a good idea to get rid of them. This ebook walks through five manual techniques for deleting blank rows and then winds up with a macro-based approach.

How to apply Insights in Excel and what to look out for when you do
Excel’s Insights feature uses AI and machine learning to indicate patterns in data that can help your decision making, but there are several caveats to consider along the way.

3 ways to display meaningful information in Excel using budget values
Turning data into meaning information doesn’t have to be hard; a few simple expressions and formatting might be all you need.

5 ways to delete blank rows in Excel
Deleting blank rows in an Excel data set isn’t difficult, but Excel 2016 is the only version that offers predictable results.

How to use Excel’s conditional formatting to compare lists
Whether you’re comparing a single list or several, Excel’s conditional formatting can get the job done. 

How to use Excel’s what-if tools to analyze business scenarios (free PDF)
Excel offers three what-if analysis tools that can sharpen your decision-making and help you find the best route to accomplish your objectives. This ebook introduces these tools—Goal Seek, Scenario Manager, and Data Tables—and demonstrates how you can put them to work. Sample files are included in the download.

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