4 Lesser Known Tricks Of Microsoft Excel

 Microsoft Excel has been getting progressively more complicated as its gone through the software versions from the early days until now. Early users can easily be lost in a sea of options if they’ve had a few years out from the workforce and come back to one of the newer versions of Excel.

1. Adding Watermarks to Excel Documents

Watermarks are useful to add to printed documents to remind people that the information may be confidential, restricted or only a draft copy.

Adding a text watermark in Excel is a fairly simple process:

  1. Select the worksheet where you wish to have the watermark displayed.
  2. Change to Page Layout view. This is done by either clicking the “Page Layout View” button in the center, left of the Zoom slider on the status bar.
  3. Click the “WordArt” button, which is in the “Text” group on the “Insert” tab. This will then pop open a window with many choices of text style.

Select the most appropriate style to use.

Then type the text you wish to see (Confidential, Private, etc.)

The text window can be rotated using the circular button on the very top of it and it can also be size adjusted using the square boxes in the middle of each of the four sides.

2. Auto-resizing Columns

When entering new data into columns, often you will find that the default column width is trimming what can be seen on the right side of the column. To resolve this, you will need to resize the column.

One way to do this quickly, is to move the mouse to the column row identifier (the label that reads A, B, C, etc.) and double-click the mouse where the line separates each column. When in the correct position, the cursor will change to a thick black line with arrows pointing left and right. The column will then auto-adjust to fit the existing content into the new width that Excel determines for you.

You can also use the same technique by highlighting a series of columns, moving the mouse to any of the columns, exactly between one column and the next, and double-clicking. This will auto-adjust all selected columns at the same time, rather than just one.

If you need more fine control of the exact width of an individual column, it’s also possible to click in the same place, hold down the mouse, and drag right to stretch the column as wide as needed, and then release the mouse button.

3. Adding Bullet Points in Excel

To add bullet points to Excel, you can either use the ALT key to try different special characters or change the font to Wingdings which has many symbols built in to the font face.

To bring up the symbols easily, hold down the ALT key and type in one of the following numbers below. These will bring up a different characters that can be used as a nice bullet points:

  • ALT + 7
  • ALT + 9
  • ALT + 16
  • ALT + 26
  • ALT + 254

Alternatively, change your font to Wingdings and play around with your keyboard to see what symbols you like using. There are many to choose from.

4. Creating Custom Lists

Excel has a small handful of custom lists relating to days of the week, months of the year, etc. However, it is also possible to create your own custom lists instead.

Start with the File tab in Excel 2010

  1. Select “Options”.
  2. Then “Advanced”.
  3. Scroll down to the “General” area.
  4. Click the “Edit Custom Lists” button.
  5. Click “New List” button.
  6. Type the list of entries in the order you want them.
  7. Click “Add” and “OK”.

It is also possible to import a list that has already been typed into a spreadsheet. This is done by clicking the “Import” button and locating the cell range on the spreadsheet you wish to import cell entries from.

It can be actually useful to get hands-on 2010 Excel Training as a refresher course if you’ve been out of the game for a while or just want to learn about the new interface and features of the new versions. Many companies will purchase a vocational training course for their critical staff because of the productivity benefits that may be derived from a better understand of software that is being used every day on the job. It can also get staff up to speed much faster than learning alone and being lost in confusion when the explanation in a book doesn’t make clear how to do something important.

Ashley Gardner is a private tutor and advocate of continuous education. She writes for the local paper and writes tips for college students.