• Shaun Prince

My awesome Microsoft Excel hacks!

Last month we gave you some brilliant tips on how to get the most out of Microsoft Word. Did you manage to use any of the shortcuts? Do you feel you are now more productive? Oh good, you can thank me later by buying us a pint down the pub 😉 but for now, we would like to share with you some top tips for getting the most out of MS Excel. Not a die-hard spreadsheet junkie? Then read on….

Re-size columns with 2 clicks

Quite often, as the columns in Excel are quite small, you will find that the text you want to input doesn’t fit. We don’t want to teach a grandma to suck eggs. You probably know to resize each column by dragging it with your mouse, right? But did you know there’s a quicker way? Hover your cursor to the right of the column you want to resize and double click – voila! The column will now be the perfect size. You can even resize multiple columns – just select the columns/rows you want to resize, and double click next to any of those selected columns and it will expand them all at once.

Start a new line in a selected cell

If your text doesn’t fit in a cell, you can either follow the tip above, or you can add a line break within a cell. There’s no point pressing “Enter” like you do in MS Word, it just takes you to the next cell in the spreadsheet. To add a new line to a cell, press Alt + Enter whilst typing inside the cell to move the cursor down (this is different to Excel’s “Wrap Text” function – this only puts information on the 2nd line if the column is too small)

Keyboard shortcuts

Using keyboard shortcuts make routine functions quicker and easier, resulting in increased productivity and reduced repetitive motions which may cause you strain. You really can save time, especially if you’re working on a very large spreadsheet. “Scrolly finger” can get quite painful can’t it? Here are the most useful, and most widely used:

Adding in today’s date or time

This is a cheeky little hack. Did you know that you can add today’s date or the current time into a cell in your spreadsheet? Simply click into an empty cell and use:

Ctrl +; for the current date

Ctrl + Shift+: for the current time.

Clever huh?

Embed an excel spreadsheet into Word

This is my favourite hack! Ever needed to show part of your spreadsheet in a word document you’re working on? Select the section of the spreadsheet you want to show, copy it to the clipboard (use Ctrl + C), open up your word document and place your cursor where you want the spreadsheet copy to be. Go to the Paste button in the tool bar and click Paste Special. In Paste Options, choose “Link and keep source formatting (F). And now here’s the clever bit! As the Paste Link option was chosen, this data in Word is linked to your original Excel spreadsheet, which means that any changes you make in Excel will be reflected in the Word document. An amazing time saver!

So, there we have it! Some top tips to get you working faster and smarter in Excel! Are there any hacks or shortcuts that you use daily, or couldn’t do without? Let me know by tweeting me at