Excel Tutorial Summary: Freeze Rows and Columns in Excel
Learning how to freeze rows and columns in Excel is up there on the list of things you need to learn as an Excel newbie. This simple yet powerful feature allows you to scroll through large data sets, freeze dashboards, charts or pretty much any object in Excel by freezing rows or columns. Freezing rows and columns is especially helpful when you have information / data outside the cells that are displayed on your screen.
You can either watch the video located below or you can work through the step by step processes also located below..
Skill Level: Beginner
Table of Contents – How to Freeze Columns and Rows in Excel
I’m a huge advocate for learning by video so in this clip, I’ll introduce and show you how to freeze rows and columns in Excel.
This section is made specifically for those of you who learn better by seeing / watching.
How to Freeze Rows in Excel
Select a Row
The first step of the process is to select the row (by highlighting the row number on the left). Any content/cells above the highlighted row will be frozen so that when you scroll through your worksheet, you’ll continue to see that content.
Select View & Freeze Panes
The second and last step of being able to freeze rows in Excel is to head over to the view tab of the quick access ribbon and select freeze panes. Once you’ve done this, as you scroll down through your spreadsheet, any rows above the row select will remain in sight on your worksheet.
How to Freeze Columns in Excel
Select a Column
The first step of the process is to select the column (by highlighting the column letter on the top of your spreadsheet). Any content/cells left of the highlighted column will be frozen so that when you scroll through your worksheet from right to left, you’ll continue to see that content.
In the example below, I’ve frozen all columns to the left of column C so that we can see the stock name and its ticker symbol.
Select View & Freeze Panes to Freeze Columns
The second and last step of being able to freeze columns in Excel is to head over to the view tab of the quick access ribbon and select freeze panes. Once you’ve done this, as you scroll to the right in your spreadsheet, any columns to the left of your highlighted column will remain in sight on your worksheet.
How to Freeze Rows & Columns in Excel
Select a Cell
The first step of the process is to select a cell whereby you want all columns to the left to be frozen and all rows above the cell to be frozen. This will then allow columns and rows to the left and above to always be shown when scrolling through your worksheet.
In the example below, I’ve selected cell C2 so that all columns to the left of column C and all rows above row 2 will remain frozen when scrolling.
Select View & Freeze Panes to Freeze Columns and Rows
The second and last step of being able to freeze columns and rows at once in Excel is to head over to the view tab of the quick access ribbon and select freeze panes. Once you’ve done this, as you scroll to the right or down in your spreadsheet, any columns to the left and any rows above your highlighted cell will remain in sight on your worksheet.
Are you overwhelmed by the amount of Excel articles on the web?
If you said yes, then we are definitely on the same page and I’m willing to bet there’s a few or many following behind us.
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve set out to find the most shared Excel articles on the web and I’ve decided to put together a list showing you only articles that have been shared 100 or more times.
I’ve created this list using an amazing tool called Buzz Sumowhich allows you to find the most shared content on the web for keywords, websites, videos, podcasts you name it.
The whole reason why I started this little adventure is because I want to provide you with some of the most valuable information you can find on the web when it comes to Excel and I think I’ve achieved this here.
As you go through this list, I’ll provide you with the name of the article and a link as well as the number total shares sorted from highest to lowest.
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Building yourself a spreadsheet with links and including Excel categories will help you stay organized and really give you a solid go to resource to refer to time and time again when you’re stuck (signup to my newsletter to get your spreadsheet started).
Hopefully there are a few hidden gems in this list that you can use to skyrocket your Excel learning.
Feel free to leave any of your personal favorites below (even if they have less than 100 shares) and also be sure to leave a comment if you have any.
Already a subscriber to the ultimate Excel newsletter? Use the password that was sent to you via email to access the content. If you are having trouble finding it, shoot me an email.
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Become an Excel Guru by Practicing with Real Data Sets
Teach yourself using Excel data sets, really?
I know that’s what you’re thinking but in the real world and in business you use data sets to answer questions and solve problems. You need to be able to work with boring ol’ data sets and be able to turn them into something exciting.
In this section, I’ll provide you with a few hidden gems and resources that you can use to find test Excel data sets.
These are going to help you achieve that Excel guru status by giving you real information to play with and use to teach yourself those killer Excel skills.
1. Find and Use Open Data to Practice and Teach Yourself Excel
Communities, cities, and countries are all making data publicly available for your consumption. If you live in a metropolitan area, there is a good chance you can go to google and type in your city name + open data and you’ll find it.
Exporting this data and analyzing it in Excel might upset you depending on the data set that you pull but at least you’ll be able to play around and teach yourself some awesome Excel tricks.
It’s important that you get your hands dirty with this type of real data. Here is a short list of my favorite resources:
This website is great for understanding what types of data sets might be being used in a specific industry or sector that you’re working in or hoping to work in. Once you find the model you want to work with, you can create a data set in Excel by finding the field names that would be used for a specific table on that model. Add the column headers and use some of the below resources to create your test data sets for practice:
Once you’ve built your dummy data set for your model, you can start practicing your Excel skills by applying some formulas and techniques that you’ll learn in some of the other points in this article.
3. Teach Yourself Excel Using Data Sets You’ve Found Using the Google Filetype Operator
It’s really as simple as the screen shot.
Head over to Google and type in filetype:XLS and then in quotations (this just means look for an exact match) find a certain keyword or type of data set that you’re looking for.
Again once you’ve got your data set, we can proceed to use this data for practical learning and testing in Excel.
4. Teach Yourself Excel Using Practical Business Sample Data
I’ve started to create Excel sample data to help provide my customers and readers with an alternative to having to create and find relevant business data to practice their skills in Excel.
These data sets are great for practicing and building Excel dashboards and should help you with building up your skills to Excel Guru status.
Here is an example of the type of dashboard that you could practice and build using these data sets:
5. Teach Yourself Excel By Importing Historical Stock Prices From Yahoo Into Excel
Samir Khan at Invest Excel did a really good job of putting together a well coded import process directly through Excel to Yahoo Finance. In this article he quickly reviews how you can use his excel template to quickly and efficiently import stock information without even having to leave your spreadsheet.
Samir was generous enough to give away the spreadsheet for free so that you can play around with his model. You can download the Excel spreadsheet on his blog post page:
There are a couple of things you can do to ramp up your Excel learning:
1 – You checkout his VBA code to start learning how you can build and begin to learn how to import data from the web using VBA. To do this, simply type ALT + F11 once you are in the spreadsheet. You can then review the modules as well as the code he has created on sheet1.
2 – Use the data set generated on the data tab to starting building your own investment models. Think about ways you can use formulas like MAX, MIN, AVERAGE, INDEX etc. I already have a ton of different ideas that you can implement to build an automated investment model that changes as you alter the historical data set.
This might be my favorite method for getting to know and understand some of the features that are available in Excel. If you can begin to master and create models using this data, you’re well on your way to becoming an Excel guru.
You’ll need to think outside the box on what’s important when you’re investing. Think about searching some of the major websites like Stock Trader to begin to understand the models and then maybe try and apply those concepts in your spreadsheets.
Bonus: Use the MarketXLS Excel Add-In to Learn How to Analyze Stock Data in Excel (Premium Product) [affiliate]
Being able to get a live up to the minute data feed as well as historical data for stock quotes into Excel at the drop of the hat is pretty remarkable. MarketXLS has done an amazing job at allowing you to pull in data, transform and analyze stock quotes and do things like the following:
Import Top 100 gainers / Top 100 Losers for the day (see left data set in screenshot above).
Import up to the minute stock quote data and dump it directly into Excel.
Dump historical data and perform analysis using every technical tool you could imagine.
Use and create visualization tools like candlestick charts and line charts.
This tool of course allows you to do much more as well but the biggest and most exciting part about this is the ability for those who are looking to learn Excel to pull in real data into Excel and perform and learn how to analyze and perform research analysis directly in Excel.
If you aren’t performing or needing to do a lot of research analysis for the stock market, this tool might not be the tool for you but if your looking to get into investment banking (or already are), this might be a great product for you to teach yourself Excel stock analysis.
P.S. – I was able to work withMarketXLSto get 20% off all products that they provide – click any of the links in this post to get the discount.
Become an Excel Guru By Learning to use Excel’s Built-In Help Features
Yes. Excel does have it’s own built in features to help you learn Excel just that much quicker.
Excel has thankfully built features into the application that help you in learning Excel formulas and other features at the click of a button. Let’s dive into some of these learning techniques.
6. Learn About Excel Anomalies and Features Using the F1 Help Option
Surprisingly, built right into Excel is a help screen that provides you with a lot of useful information on how to handle common situations, issues, formulas and features in Excel.
These are often some of the most common questions users will have about using the application when they are first starting out but it also does contain some additional advanced help. To access the screen, once you are located anywhere within your workbook, simply hit the F1 key and the help program will launch automatically.
Fun Tip: You can use F1 when you’re in the middle of inputting code and depending on where you are, the method or property information will be brought up automatically for you so that you can understand how it works.
7. Learn How to Use Excel Functions Using the Insert Functions Option (SHIFT + F3)
Learning Excel formulas should definitely be at the top of your priority list if you want to become an Excel guru. A great way to do this is running through the list of available formulas and then using the help on this function link as shown above.
To access and use the insert function window, select a cell and then type SHIFT + F3. You can then search for a function, select a category and/or run through the list in the scroll box. Once you’ve selected the function you’d like to learn, click on help on this function.
This page will give you the syntax and then also explain and give you an example that you can use for your learning process.
8. Learn Excel Formulas by using SHIFT + F3 during Formula Entry to Enter Function Arguments
If you know exactly what function / formula you want to use to solve a problem, you can type in the equals symbol with the formula name and then hit SHIFT + F3.
This will provide you with a description of the formula and also allow you to enter your function arguments individually with a description of what that argument is asking for. This is great if you’re just starting to use a certain formula and you’re forgetting how it should be used.
9. Learn Excel Formulas by using Evaluate Formula to Understand why your Formulas aren’t Working
When it comes to complex data models and spreadsheets, the evaluate formula can come in handy especially when it comes to nested Excel formulas.
Evaluate formula allows you to step into each step of the formula process to help you understand how the formula has either failed or to just give you an idea how the formula actually works. This is great when starting to learn Excel for dissecting Excel business models and dashboards.
To access the evaluate formula window, select the cell that contains the formula, head over to the formula tab on the quick access ribbon and under formula auditing, select evaluate formula.
Once the window appears, you simply need to click evaluate and it will walk you through the formula steps. You can then step into each section of a nested formula to get a true understanding of how the formula works.
10. Learn Excel formulas and Data Models by Showing all Formulas (SHIFT + `)
Being able to understand what formulas are being used in an Excel dashboard or model to build calculations is another step forward in becoming an Excel guru.
Using the show formulas option by either clicking show formulas under the formulas tab on the quick access ribbon or typing CTRL + ` will allow you to see how formulas are interacting with your data sets. This will help you learn how to use formulas when building models.
11. Refer Back to Great Excel Resources using a Resource Tracker in Excel
This may seem slightly trivial but you’ll realize very quickly that as you learn new Excel techniques, if you don’t reuse them, you’ll lose them.
By building a spreadsheet as you come across cool Excel concepts on the web, you’ll have access to links to all of your favorite articles. The key here is to add a tag column as well as an Excel category so that you can easily filter and manipulate the spreadsheet to find certain articles or concepts as you need them.
Note that you could also create a shortcut spreadsheet for your reference.
I know Excel resources seems like a pretty broad category but I’m going to focus my attention only on a few different ones in this section.
There are so many different platforms out there today that can help you learn Excel that either come with an investment or might even be free. In this section, I’ll review several different ways that you can use some of these amazing resources to speed up your path to Excel Guruness.
12. Learn Anything and Everything about Excel using Courses on Udemy
Alright so here’s the deal, Udemy truly is an amazing platform and it does offer courses for a wide range of prices starting from free all the way up to serious amounts of money.
That being said with the review of their current pricing structure, Udemy is currently in the process of changing their pricing structure so that all courses are priced between $20 – $50 a piece with a maximum discount rate of %50. The reason they are doing this is because it seems that around 90% of their sales are realized in that price range.
The planned implementation date of the launch will be in and around early April 2016.
With that in mind, you’ll want to signup to Udemy (if you haven’t already) and what you can do is start searching specific subjects in Excel that you are looking to learn.
From there, you can select whether or not you’d like to receive their newsletters with promotions and other information via email. You’ll want to select yes so that you get the best deals on the courses you’re interested in.
Here’s a great way of adding and finding courses that suit your needs:
1 – In the search box type in “Excel” and hit enter.
2 – This will bring up by default a list of Excel courses that are available. You can then filter the courses using the filters on the left hand side as shown in the screen shot above.
3 – Next you can also then sort based on reviews, language, high / low pricing, or newest.
4 – Once you’ve got that organized, you can select the course you feel fits your Excel needs by clicking on it.
5 – You can then add that course to your wishlist (or buy it of course).
The reason why I’ve said to add it to your wishlist is because Udemy is notorious for having sales on their courses and you might want to wait for one of their promotions to pickup the course you want to take at a discounted price. This is why I mentioned making sure to receive their newsletters.
13. Become an Excel Guru using Free YouTube Videos
Content is being created by the minute on YouTube and there definitely is no exception when it comes to Excel.
The beautiful thing about YouTube – the content is free (for the most part).
Debra Dagleish has been an recognized as an Excel expert for a long time and her material speaks for itself. She has some really great playlists like 30 Excel Functions, Excel Data Validation and Excel programming.
Also known asMr. Excel, has built up a massive database of Excel videos (1,717 videos) and really is just one of the best in the industry when it comes to teaching and training Excel. He has built some great Excel series/playlists on his YouTube channel like “Don’t Fear the Spreadsheet”.
Rick Grantham, Oz Du Soleil and Jordan Goldmeier video chat and discuss Excel topics with some of the best experts in the industry including themselves. Each of them bring something unique to the table. Their videos can be extremely informative and they also help you in getting to know some of the Excel experts that are out there in the industry. This channel is all about giving back to the Excel community.
There is one person in the Excel game that is hard to leave out and that’s Chandoo (Purna Duggirala). He’s done an amazing job at building up one of the most successful blogs on the internet and to be frank also just knows how to run a business all the while driving and bringing value to is followers and customers.
You can check my YouTube channel- bradedgardotcom out where I try to keep up to date on the regular. My focus is typically on using practical Excel examples which helps with applying Excel techniques to real life or practical business situations.
This is definitely a condensed list of YouTube channels but with the help of Excel TV, you’ll find some of the greatest Excel experts out there. There are many more that I would have liked to include but we need to continue on your quest to helping you become an Excel guru.
14. Organize Your Excel Kindle Book Notes and Highlights into Evernote
First of all, for those of you who aren’t using Evernote, you need to get on it now.
I purchase Excel books through Amazon’s kindle option all of the time for the simple fact that I can highlight and clip my notes and then easily revisit those notes.
The beauty about creating these highlights and then exporting them into Evernote is they become ridiculously easy to search for and find when you need them. I’m not going to go into too much detail on Evernote because that’s not what this article is about. But you do need to consider it if you’re reading Excel books often.
15. Find and Pay Money for the Excel Courses That Best Suit your Needs
Paying money to find courses often might be a last resort for many because there is just so much information out there on the internet that you can get without having to pay any money.
The problem is you’re never getting the full story and you’re working hard on your own trying to piecemeal what you’re learning to get the overall picture. If you strategize and pick the Excel course for you, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that you can learn and become an Excel guru quickly on that specific subject.
Here are some of my favorite courses from some of the best teachers and trainers in the Excel industry (note that some are affiliates and I will be sure to place in brackets for full disclosure).
This course is for those who spend a lot of time manipulating and cleaning data. With this course you’ll learn how to automate and import your data into Power Query in Excel (you’ll have to have Excel 2010 or later) so that you will no longer need to spend your time cleaning up data just so that you can perform your analysis.
Learning, and understanding dashboards and VBA in the real world can act as a serious competitive advantage over your colleagues. In this course, Chandoo and his team dissect and show you everything from how to apply and use loops and conditions, using variables, working with cells and ranges, databases , pivot tables and user forms and finally they also take a deep look into integration with other office applications. The super package is what will get you pretty much everything you need to learn.
Alright so Jon has over 25,000 active subscribers on his website and creates some seriously amazing training programs in Excel. His VBA pro course is bar none one of the best VBA courses out there. That being said, as of right now, Jon’s course is closed and opens up only on occasion so you can click the link above and scroll down to the bottom where you can be notified when course enrollment open ups again.
This is just a small course I put together that shows you how you can use the rank formula with Excel slicers to build a top 5 / bottom 5 Excel dashboard. This is a really slick way to show your top 5 or bottom 5 records using a slicer technique in your final Excel dashboards.
Like I said, there are so many different Excel courses out there and you’ll be able to pick up and find some of the best trainers in the world using some of the other resources that I’ve provided in this article.
If you have any Excel questions either way, you can always ask me in the comments.
Become an Excel Guru by Reverse Engineering Excel Templates and Dashboards
This section reviews some of the cool ways to find templates and dashboards so that you can reverse engineer a spreadsheet on your own.
You can apply and use some of the techniques like show all formulas (SHIFT + `) that I showed you in the Learn in Excel section. This method of learning is definitely one of the best and I have to say it’s one of the ways I learned to apply and create dashboards in Excel.
16. Dissect and Learn Excel through Downloading Free Templates in Excel
If you’re really not in the mood to find and pay for dashboard templates in Excel, this is one of the best ways to begin to learn some of the techniques that are utilized to build these templates.
All you’ll need to do is the following:
#1 – Go to the file area of your current spreadsheet in Excel.
#2 – Search for a template keyword of your choice (see # 1 in the screenshot).
#3 – Double click on the template of your choice. This will open up for you in Excel and then you can start reverse engineering.
One of the things you’ll want to do is use some of the techniques that I showed you in the Learn in Excel section. You can apply things like show all formulas, evaluate formulas, and simply investigate the formula itself using the insert function option.
17. Learn Excel by Reverse Engineering a 5 Dollar Dashboard from your Industry
The beauty about learning and downloading a dashboard from my website is that there is a good chance (hopefully) that you’ll find something pertinent to your industry or what you’re doing.
You’ll see things like how I use shapes in Excel to build nice visual displays without taking away from the reason for the dashboard in the first place.
I have also created entire blog posts dedicated to explaining some of my secret techniques using video training as well as the written blog post itself. These are great resources especially if you’re not willing to drop your coffee for the week on a dashboard.
Here are some freeresources that you can use to learn some of the techniques used in my Excel dashboards:
Become an Excel Guru by Acquiring Relevant Excel Skills
The problem today with just going out there and trying to learn the first thing that you find about Excel is that a lot of it is useless.
You want to be focusing your efforts on Excel formulas and concepts that are going to move you forward in your career. Not only that, on the way it’s important to pick up and find shortcuts that will help you improve and also make you more efficient in Excel.
18. Learn the 20% of Excel Formulas that will get you to that 80 % Excel Guru Status
I’m sure most of you have heard of the 80/20 principle. The title basically explains it.
Sohail Anwar has put together a phenomenal FREE resource / Ebook that shows you and goes over what he calls the “Money Formulas”. Essentially he has created an Ebook around the concept that there is only a finite set of formulas that you truly need in order to be successful in your career.
19. Learn an Excel Shortcut a Day Using this Shortcut Listing from Excel Jet
Dave Bruns from Excel Jet has done a fantastic job putting together some of the most useful (if not all) Excel shortcuts that you should be learning on the daily.
This is a list that I refer back too often as he’s provided search capabilities as well as a free PDF download. If you’re serious about becoming efficient in Excel this is another great place to start:
20. Learn Excel By Exporting a List of Commonly Asked Excel Questions Using Keywords via WebpageFx
Here is the thing I hunted the internet high and low for this type of tool until one day I came across this gem of a tool through the blog QuickSprout.
This tool literally reviews and searches a specific set of websites based on the category selected and returns a result set of links and information for the keyword you’ve used. You can then export that set of links into Excel to review.
Here’s how it plays out. The first thing you’ll want to do is go to the WebpageFx – FaqFox webpage.
#1 – Type in your keyword. In our case, we’ll put in Excel Tips.
#2 – Now select category, generic. This will bring up a list of websites that the tool will scrape.
#3 – Hit the start searching button.
#4 – Download the spreadsheet with the results.
Voila. This is what you’ll get out of this. A nice table of Excel Tips questions that you can use learn what people are truly asking about on the web:
Become an Excel Guru by Being Active in Excel Communities
If you want to achieve the true Excel Guru status that I keep referring to over and over, you need to get involved in different Excel communities like Reddit.
These places not only offer up and provide you with the opportunity to help your fellow Excelers, but it’ll also give you the chance to ask some of the best Excel experts out there on concepts you just don’t know how to do yet.
21. Go to /r/Excel on Reddit and Start Helping Other People with their Excel Problems
Using Reddit’s Excel community to boost your Excel skills is probably one of the best ways to really get amazing at Excel. The majority of the questions and problems that are asked in the community apply to real world problems that users are trying to figure out.
This is great because you get to practice with true scenarios and you really get an idea of all of the different uses of Excel.
Get out there and start helping, learning and asking your own questions.
It’s a great place for your to ask for help as well.
22. Go to /r/Excel on Reddit and use the TOP, HOT & Other Hidden Gems to Learn Excel
Alright so you really need to take advantage of the header in the r/Excel community. Here you’ll find cool things like TOP, HOT and then a host of other cool links like Add-in, Templates, and Pro Tips.
Scroll through the lists of threads under these sections and you’ll be guaranteed to find some useful Excel juice and content.
Make sure you use the filter option that Reddit has made available for your convenience. You can find links only from the past hour all the way up to all time.
23. Use the Professionals on Quora to Help you Become an Excel Guru
Learn the ins and outs of Quora and in no time at all you’ll be able to navigate and find some of the best Excel advice and information on the internet.
Quora allows you to select a topic like Microsoft Excel and then pin it to your read page where you can get a continuous flow and feed of Excel questions and answers.
You can of course chime in to help answer questions coming from others in the community or you can sit back and let some of the best professionals in the world answer these questions.
Be sure to browse through their Topic FAQ section for Microsoft Excel because from here you’ll find the most commonly asked questions about Excel.
Become an Excel Guru Using Content Aggregation Tools
Many of you are probably already aware and use at least one of these content aggregation tools but for those of you who don’t, they are pretty freakin’ awesome.
It’s an RSS feed on steroids. The beauty about these aggregation tools is that each tool offers a slightly different method of organizing and handling your content.
In this section, I’ll review just how you can use two of my favorite tools to help you step up your Excel game.
24. Use Feedly to Create an Excel Content Collection
Feedly is an incredible content aggregation tool that lets you make what are called collections. This is great for creating direct feeds to all of your favorite Excel websites and resources (see the screenshot above for how to create a collection).
As new content gets added to your favorite sites, the feed updates to show you all of your unread content (when you select the top level collection on the left). Again this is great for keeping up to date with the most recent Excel news as well as tricks and tips from the best in the industry.
25. Use Flipboard to Create Your Own Excel Magazines
So here’s the thing. I stopped using Flipboard quite some time ago (as you can see by how old my post additions are above) but honestly I just realized and remembered how amazing it really is (and I’m starting back up).
Here are some of reasons why I love Flipboard for helping you become an Excel guru.
#1 – You can literally create a magazine with articles from anywhere on the web. My favorite tool is theFlipboard chrome extension. Just follow the steps below and you can create and add content to your magazines while browsing the internet.
#2 – You can create highly targeted and organized Excel magazines by creating new ones for each valuable topic in Excel.
#3 – Once your magazines are created, you can organize the order of the content so that it reads like a book/magazine. This is great for building yourself full blown Excel courses and tutorials.
#4 – If you’re worried about sharing your content, you can also make your magazine private (or you can leave it public of course).
Become an Excel Guru by Using Excel Content Search Techniques
Being able to apply and use advanced search techniques to find the content that you need is becoming the way of the world.
I have created an entire blog post around this subject but I wanted to add a couple of them here because of how important it really is in your quest to becoming an Excel guru.
26. Use the Twitter Search Page to Find the Best Excel Content
Twitter has an entire host of advanced search techniques that you can use in your favor for finding some of the best Excel content on the web in real time.
Head over to the Twitter Search pagewhere you can use their advanced search tool as well as find a list of their advanced operators that will help you find the exact Excel information you’re looking for.
Finding the Excel content that you need to bring you to the next level is the next natural step to becoming an Excel guru.
27. Use Google Advanced Search to Help you Become Awesome in Excel
From here you’ll be able to learn all of the operators and special filters that can be used to help you find the exact Excel concept that you’re trying to master at any given time.
Play around with all of the available search features and filters until you master it. Once you’ve done that, you can head back over to your regular Google search and apply the custom operators to fetch you the best Excel content on the web.
Sadly, after all of those points I am sure there are many more great methods and ways to become an Excel guru.
That being said, ultimately you need to use the method that works best for you.
As your Excel skills improve, you’ll quickly realize how often people will be calling upon your expertise and sooner than later, they will not only be calling you for your help but they will be calling you because they need you.
How could you use a font to enhance your Excel spreadsheets?
I know that it’s tough to believe but special fonts actually offer a ridiculous amount of possibilities when it comes to building visual displays of any nature in Excel.
The more you begin to understand Excel and how objects interact, the more use you will find of these silly fonts.
When it comes to the office, you’ll be able to take some of these tactics and apply them to your spreadsheets and I’ll guarantee you end up turning some heads (hopefully the people that truly matter).
# 1 – Build a Stoplight Feature Using the Wingding Font to Monitor a Project Status
You can pretty much use any special Wingding character for this one but I thought it would be fitting to mimic the icon set (stoplight) features that are currently already available in Excel conditional formatting.
This is a great way to visually manage and enhance your spreadsheets for projects statuses, order statuses or pretty much any type of status you can think of in the business world. You can follow along through the video or simply follow the basic steps below to implement this tactic:
# 1 – Use data validation to create a drop down list of available statuses.
# 2 – In the cell next to your drop down list, insert the stoplight character from the wingding insert menu.
# 3 – Use conditional formatting formula for each status to set the color of the Wingding character to match the corresponding status.
That’s it! 3 steps and you’re done. Make sure to take a peak at the video for more details.
# 2 – Use “Insert Symbol” with Custom Number Formatting to Visually Enhance Your Data
I’ve covered this topic before but it’s well worth running through it again. Custom number formatting is one of the best ways to visually enhance your spreadsheets.
Using Unicode symbols allows you to copy and paste the symbols into your custom number formatting area so that you can have positive values be displayed with an up arrow and negative values be displayed with a down arrow (of course you can use any other Unicode symbol you’d like). In this case I use the characters available with the Yu Gothic font.
# 1 – Select any cell on your spreadsheet outside your data set. Go to the insert symbols in the quick access ribbon. Find the increase/decrease arrows as show in the screen shot to the left / above into the cell (both the up and down arrow).
# 2 – Copy the symbols that were inserted into the selected cell using CTRL + C. Now select the data set that you’d like to apply the custom number formatting to (see highlighted).
# 3 – Once we’ve selected the data set (type CTRL + 1), this will open the format cells window. Head down to custom number formatting. Paste the symbols where necessary in your custom number formatting input box. Adjust and follow the syntax that I’ve used in the screen shot to the left / above.
If you haven’t done a whole lot of work with custom number formatting, I’ve included a few amazing resources below that you can use to get acquainted with this feature of Excel.
MORE ON CUSTOM NUMBER FORMATTING IN EXCEL
I use custom number formatting all of the time and it’s important to truly understand its functionality to really enhance your Excel Spreadsheets.
Here is one of my favorite guides for beginners on Excel custom number formatting. It’s great especially when you’re just starting out and it’s also something that you can continue to use as a reference as you become a seasoned user.
# 3 – Create a Product Review Data Chart in Excel Using the Wingding Font
Creating a product review in Excel is something that’s fun but in building one, you’ll also realize that you can use some of the same techniques in other aspects of your work or business.
You can use the REPT formula to repeat a specific character a specified numbers of times (in this case stars) based on the review provided for the associated product. Let’s see how you can do this.
# 1 – Use data validation to create a drop down for each product with a value of 1 through 5.
# 2 – Insert and find the special Wingding star character in a cell using the insert symbol and copy the text value from the formula bar.
# 3 – Use the REPT formula to generate and create the star rating in the last column of your data chart. Use the screenshot I’ve provided to the left / above.
MORE ON WINGDINGS & THE REPT FORMULA
Clearly the Wingdings font is a useful tool especially when it comes to being able to visually enhance your spreadsheets. As your skills in Excel mature you’ll be able to think of other ways to use these crazy characters. On the other side, we also have the REPT formula. This is a great tool for using those Wingding characters.
Let’s have a look at some slick resources that you can use to learn what you can do with this font and this formula:
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Learn how to apply data validation to your Excel forms – See below.
How are you Going to Use these Special Fonts to Enhance Your Spreadsheets?
Challenge yourself right now to come up with some creative ways to implement some of these visual Excel tactics to your spreadsheets and in your work.
I honestly use these characters often in my Excel dashboards but you can also think about implementing them into timelines or even custom / self made Gantt charts (i.e. clue it has to do with using the REPT formula).
Be sure to leave a comment letting me know how and where you may have used some of these special fonts to enhance your spreadsheets. I’m seriously looking forward to hearing from you.
You spend a lot of time navigating and searching the internet trying to find high quality Excel content.
I know because I’ve been there and it always seems like it takes longer than it really should to find the exact feature, formula or solution to your Excel problems or questions. Trying to find specific Excel skills that you’re interested in learning can become quite a feat.
I know and you know that there are a lot of great Excel websites out there with tons of information but sometimes it just comes down to getting your searches just right.
In this article I will be reviewing a list of advanced search techniques that you can use to find the best Excel content on the Internet (whether it be through Google or other channels).
#1 – A Quick Way to Find Some of the Best Excel Websites on the Internet (Google)
The first search technique we are going to look at is of course from Google. This technique is definitely really cool and is a great way to setup and find websites that you’d like to add to your RSS feed for continuous learning. The technique is simple. You use the term “related” followed by a colon, and then you simply include the website address for which you’d like to find similar sites.
Checkout the results you get to the left. You get a gold mine of Excel websites that are similar to Chandoo’s. You can do this with the bigger players and websites that have been around for a while or that have higher page ranking. Keep in mind this may not find results for smaller websites that have not yet reached Google rank maturity.
#2 – Use the Similar Drop Down Option When You Find Useful Excel Articles (Google)
Google has clearly mastered their game when it comes to online search. In this search tip let’s say you find an amazing article on a particular Excel subject such as “Excel Dashboard Techniques”. If you’d like to find more articles just like it, you can learn and become an expert on the topic by clicking the drop down beside the result and selecting similar.
Once you’ve selected similar, a new list of search results that are similar to the current result will show up and you’ll have the chance to read more on the subject (in our case – Excel dashboard techniques). This search functionality is especially useful when you are on the brink of learning a specific Excel technique but you need to learn just a little bit more. Try it out now.
#3 – Use the Google Filetype Lookup to Find Great Free Excel Spreadsheets Like Dashboards (Google)
Another gem of a search technique from Google is the ability to quickly find file types directly from the search engine by simply typing in filetype, colon, the file type name (i.e. in our case XLS) and then type a related search term for a file you’d be looking for. Here’s an example I used to find free Excel dashboard files using the Google search bar:
Once you hit enter you’ll get a list of results, each search result will have a file type in square brackets of [xls] to the left of the result. This is a great way to find Excel sample data sets, Excel dashboards, templates etc… as well as just interesting spreadsheets that you can use to further extend your Excel skills by playing around with the features or the data that you’ve found. Here is an example of what I found using the query above (filetype:xls dashboard). This result was directly from the Excel Dashboard Templates website.
The awesome thing about this is the file actually has instructions and provides you with the ability to try things out on your own.
#4 – Use Google Site Lookup to Find Specific Excel Content On High Ranking Excel Websites (Google)
Clearly I enjoy looking things up on Google, but man do they ever just make things easy. Using the site lookup option, you can easily lookup Excel specific content and return results from a specific website.
This is great when looking at Excel super sites like Chandoo’s where there are thousands upon thousands of pages of Excel content. When using this search feature, I like to put the keyword in quotations (note: quotations will lookup the exact keyword phrase – more information on Google operators).
Once you hit enter you’ll get a list of results and you’ll be shown content that is specific to the keyword you’ve used within the site you’ve requested. In this case I wanted to find content specific to slicers in Excel coming from chandoo.org. You’ll notice in the screen shot to the left / above that all of the results are related to excel slicers coming only from that specific website.
I’m sure that you can think of more than one useful way to use this technique to help you with your Excel learning.
#5 – Use Twitter Advanced Search to Find Specific Excel Content (Twitter)
Alright I know that I haven’t covered every single search technique with Google but I think I’ve provided you with the tools to figure it out. Because I’ve covered a lot of the different operators via Google, it won’t take you long to learn the ropes with Twitter search. Twitter has a search page that you’ll want to use to get yourself acquainted so you can become an Excel search master using their software.
Here’s the step by step process that you can follow along with using the screen shot to the left / above:
#2 – Alright now that you’re there, you can learn everything you need to know about operators (much like Google by the way) and you can also used their advanced search section so that you can master your search techniques for Twitter.
#3 – The best part now is you can merge what you’ve learned with operators and apply them to the search bar no matter where you are on Twitter.
Okay, now that I’ve shown you the techniques, let’s go through a quick Excel search example using the twitter search bar.
The results will yield you a list of links where the tweet contains the exact phrase “excel slicers”. Oddly enough it looks like someone has shared some of my YouTube content:
#6 – Use BuzzSumo to Find the Most Shared Excel Content by Keyword (BuzzSumo)
If you’re not a part of the marketing world, there could be a chance that you haven’t heard of this one yet. BuzzSumo is great for marketers especially when it comes to finding content to curate and build round up posts around.
That being said, for us Excel learners, its best use is in being able to find the best content on the web for specific Excel keywords and phrases.
If you are going to use it, I would suggest you sign up. Once you sign up, you will be able to perform searches. Keep in mind that in order to get all of the functionality offered by the software, you’ll need to sign up to the pro version unfortunately.
For your purposes however, using the free version while signed up should get you exactly what you need. For me at least I want to find the best content for certain keywords like “Excel shortcuts”.
#7 – Use the Excel Subreddit to Search for Excel Keywords and Topics (Reddit)
The Excel Subredditcontains a ridiculous amount of content that likely contains the results / solutions to all of your Excel questions, concerns or learning requirements for that matter.
If you are curious about anything related to Excel you can use the search functionality that is available in the top right hand corner (or mid screen after you’ve performed a search) of the Excel Subreddit screen and you are likely to find what you are looking for. If not, the beautiful thing about the Excel Subreddit is that you can post any topic or Excel question and it will be answered almost instantaneously.
If you want to find great tips or the best content / posts made on the Subreddit, you can also use the pro tip sections as well as the top posts section.
#8 – Use and Search the Top Excel Forums on the Web for Amazing Content (Excel Forums)
Excel forums are a little bit like Reddit but they are still a stellar tool for searching for as well as getting an answer to one of your Excel questions.
I am going to suggest 3 different Excel forum resources that you can use to either ask questions or simply search the directories for cool Excel stuff:
You can use these resources in a couple of different ways.
The first would be by using the search bars (or use the site search operator with Google – see above) within the forum. The second would be to simply navigate and the third option would be to ask and post your Excel questions to have them answered by the community.
A Summary of Excel Content Search Techniques
As you already know, the internet is stuffed with pages upon pages of Excel content (and of course any content you can possible think of).
In order to maximize and find the most useful Excel content on the web, you really need to understand the search techniques that are available to you. In this post I’ve reviewed with you several different techniques that you can use find the best content out there.
I think it’s a great idea to practice, learn and use all of these techniques as well as the operators that are provided by each search type so that you can become a master at finding amazing Excel content.
What search techniques do you use that I might have missed? Make sure to leave a comment letting me know.
More Links and Resources to Step Up Your Excel Game