The Magic of Excel – Fromatting Like a Pro
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  • 1. The Magic of Excel –Formatting Like a Pro Jeff Steuben Alliance to Save Energy jsteuben@ase.org
  • 2. Session Overview• Introduction• What you can do with Excel• Key features of Excel• Before you start…• Jeff’s Rules for better spreadsheets• Questions
  • 3. Introduction• Session goal• My background• Excel is a tool to organize #’s/data WHAT can we do with Excel?
  • 4. Things you can do with Excel• Making tables (easier than Word!)• Calculator• Fill out forms• Ongoing data tracking
  • 5. Things you can do with Excel• Data analysis• Present data• Event organizing
  • 6. Things you can do with Excel• Mail merge
  • 7. Key features of Excel• Experienced users please bear with us
  • 8. Formulas• All formulas start with =• SUM – sums up all the cells inside the ( ) – Specify a range or individual cells
  • 9. Formulas• IF – Conducts a logical test and can do one of two actions if test is TRUE or FALSE
  • 10. Formulas• ISBLANK – Used in logical tests to see if a cell is blank – Great for making calculations work without making things look ugly
  • 11. Dragging formulas• You don’t want to type this on every line• Hover near the bottom right corner of a selected cell until you see this• Click and drag to copy
  • 12. Dragging formulasThis becomesAnd so on…
  • 13. Relative vs. Absolute position• Still looking at these two:• Position won’t change (absolute) in the Column “$F” and the Row “$8”
  • 14. Exclamation!• Referencing a location on another tab uses this format:Tab Name!Followed by the cell location• Needs single quotation marks if tab name is multiple words
  • 15. Protecting Cells• Two stage process• By default, all cells will lock once you enable “Protect”1. Select cells you want to be editable (e.g. data entry cells) - Right Click - “Format Cells”  “Protection” Tab - Uncheck “Locked”
  • 16. Protecting Cells2. Protect your sheet.Enter a password &select options
  • 17. What you see when you open Excel• Center your screen on what you want the user to see.• Do this for every tab• THEN save
  • 18. What you see when you open Excel• The difference between seeing …
  • 19. Hide Cells• Remove cells from sight without deleting• Save blank areas for future use• Improve visual clarity• Select ROWS or COLUMNS (not cells) – Right click – “Hide”
  • 20. Becomes…
  • 21. Before you start…• Identify your process/goals for the project• Ask yourself some questions:
  • 22. Q: Will other people be using this?• Always design as if you will get amnesia• Don’t cut corners on labeling• If your document is good, it will resurface in unexpected places
  • 23. Q: Will the data be ongoing or one-time?Or: Will I need limited or unlimited space for my data?• Don’t box yourself in
  • 24. Q: How many tabs will I need / should I have?• As few as possible without overcrowding• One document that tries to do everything is less helpful in the end
  • 25. Q: How should I spatially arrange my data?• Rows, Columns or boxes (areas)• Depends on what you’re doing Rows C o l u m n s
  • 26. Q: Will multiple people provide data to the sheet?• Make a google doc• Or track versions with file naming scheme – v1, v2, etc. or timestamp “2-6-2011”
  • 27. Q: Will I need to prevent people from changing certain cells?A: Protect the sheet• Further editing becomes a pain – do this last
  • 28. Take away message:Design your documentwith the project in mind.
  • 29. Jeff’s Rules• But first… WHY are people scared of Excel?
  • 30. Jeff’s Rule #1• Design with people in mind – Label all your data – Make your spreadsheet easy to read
  • 31. Jeff’s Rule #2• No hidden numbers inside cells – Cells have either calculations (formulas) OR numbers – Not both
  • 32. Jeff’s Rule #3• State your assumptions – The world runs on assumptions – Do the best you can – Be able to justify how you got them – Be flexible to adjusting them
  • 33. Jeff’s Rule #4• Take advantage of visual formatting to improve clarity – White border – Bold outlines – Fonts – Cell colors (don’t overdo it!)
  • 34. Jeff’s Rule #4b• Use consistent design – Color scheme – Fonts – Rows vs. columns
  • 35. Jeff’s Rule #5• Avoid clutter and over complexity – Don’t overcrowd a sheet, make multiple tabs – Keep tabs to minimum – Adding more and more features/information results in a bloated document – Significant figures
  • 36. Wrap-up• Excel can do many things• Take advantage of Excel’s features• Think before you start• Remember Jeff’s Rulesand above all…
  • 37. Design for CLARITY and TRANSPARENCY
  • 38. Thank You! Questions? Jeff SteubenAlliance to Save Energy jsteuben@ase.org