The Magic of Excel – Fromatting Like a Pro


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Jeff Steuben

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The Magic of Excel – Fromatting Like a Pro

  1. 1. The Magic of Excel –Formatting Like a Pro Jeff Steuben Alliance to Save Energy
  2. 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. 3. Introduction• Session goal• My background• Excel is a tool to organize #’s/data WHAT can we do with Excel?
  4. 4. Things you can do with Excel• Making tables (easier than Word!)• Calculator• Fill out forms• Ongoing data tracking
  5. 5. Things you can do with Excel• Data analysis• Present data• Event organizing
  6. 6. Things you can do with Excel• Mail merge
  7. 7. Key features of Excel• Experienced users please bear with us
  8. 8. Formulas• All formulas start with =• SUM – sums up all the cells inside the ( ) – Specify a range or individual cells
  9. 9. Formulas• IF – Conducts a logical test and can do one of two actions if test is TRUE or FALSE
  10. 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. 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. 12. Dragging formulasThis becomesAnd so on…
  13. 13. Relative vs. Absolute position• Still looking at these two:• Position won’t change (absolute) in the Column “$F” and the Row “$8”
  14. 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. 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. 16. Protecting Cells2. Protect your sheet.Enter a password &select options
  17. 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. 18. What you see when you open Excel• The difference between seeing …
  19. 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. 20. Becomes…
  21. 21. Before you start…• Identify your process/goals for the project• Ask yourself some questions:
  22. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 28. Take away message:Design your documentwith the project in mind.
  29. 29. Jeff’s Rules• But first… WHY are people scared of Excel?
  30. 30. Jeff’s Rule #1• Design with people in mind – Label all your data – Make your spreadsheet easy to read
  31. 31. Jeff’s Rule #2• No hidden numbers inside cells – Cells have either calculations (formulas) OR numbers – Not both
  32. 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. 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. 34. Jeff’s Rule #4b• Use consistent design – Color scheme – Fonts – Rows vs. columns
  35. 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. 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. 37. Design for CLARITY and TRANSPARENCY
  38. 38. Thank You! Questions? Jeff SteubenAlliance to Save Energy