EXCEL: Comparing Two Columns

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Did you know that you can use the Go To Special command to help you compare two columns? This command identifies the differences quickly.  Here are the steps:

  1. Select the column you want to find the differences.
  2. Use the Ctrl key to select the original column.
  3. On the Home tab, select Find & Replace, Go To Special, check Row Differences and click Ok.

Compare two columns 1

The items in the difference column will be highlighted for you.

compare two columns 2

Then select the red font color in order for you to see the differences between the column.

compare two columns 3

EXCEL: No Mouse and Ctrl key to Select Noncontiguous Cells

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It was brought to my attention how to select cells that are not next to each without the Control key and the mouse! Michael Castelluccio wrote an article for the Strategic Finance website that explains how to do it.

Most people know how to select multiple ranges in Excel using the Ctrl key and the mouse, but there are other methods that can be more efficient. The obscure technique Add to Selection lets you select many ranges without ever using the mouse. And Go To Special lets you quickly find and select all the cells of a specified type.


No Mouse Needed

Let’s say that you want to apply a Color Scale to the data cells in the figure below. This means you need to select cells B4:D8, G5:I8, and D11:F13. Start by selecting cell B4. To select the first block of data, hold down Ctrl+Shift and press the down arrow (↓) and then the right arrow (→). This common keyboard trick selects all the way down to the bottom and the right edge of the data.

NonContiguous selection 1

After selecting the first cell range, most people would switch to using the mouse. But it’s faster if you can keep your hands on the keyboard. Press Shift+F8. You’ll see the words “Add to Selection” in the status bar at the bottom of the Excel screen.

Move the cell pointer to the next section of data: Ctrl+↓, Ctrl+→, Ctrl+↓, and then ↓. The original range, cells B4:D8, stays selected while you move the cell pointer outside of the range.

To select the second range, hold down Ctrl+Shift and press ↓ then →. You’ve now selected B4:D8 and D11:F14 (see figure below). But now the “Add to Selection” is gone from the status bar. Press Shift+F8 to return to Add to Selection mode.

NonContiguous selection 2

Move the cell pointer to cell G5. Hold down Ctrl+Shift and press ↓ then → to select the third block of cells (see figure below).

NonContiguous selection 3


Extended Selection

In Extend Selection mode, any click of the mouse will select from the active cell to the newly clicked cell, obliterating any previous selection. While I’ve never found a good reason to use Extend Selection, there clearly are times when using Shift+F8 for Add to Selection will save time.

I will like to add my advice here as well.  I do not use Extend Selection (F8) because I use the Shift key and the arrow keys to do the same. F8 on my keyboard is dark blue on a black key and I need to use the FN key to make the function keys active. So, since the shift key replaces the left mouse button, I highlight the cells this way.  The mouse is so fast that it highlights more cells that I need.  I am in control of highligting. (Hint: I do the same method in Word).  So, Michael, this is quicker and better for those who have difficulty controlling the mouse and/or who can’t find the F8 in dark blue.

EXCEL: Quick Way To Select Cells in a Table

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You heard of the expression, “Can’t Teach Old Dogs New Tricks”…well I just learned this:

In order to select all the cells in a column, the old way was to click on Shift+End+Down Arrow or to select all the cells to the right was to Shift+End+Right Arrow.  This is perfectly fine but when I teach and I say “END” the student hit the letter “N” key. Now, I simply say and do, Ctrl+Shift+Down Arrow.  Same process for the right.


EXCEL: Quickly Filling in Cells in A Table


It is very annoying when a table has blank cells.  You can not filter, sort or even produce accurate pivot table or graphs.  The solution is to manually fill in the cells.  Here is a way to eliminate this tedious process.

Fill in empty cells


Notice that the cells are blank under each state. You need to fill in these cells in order to work with tables.

  1. Highlight the cells from the bottom up by using the Control and Mouse (this is the sparatic selection).
  2. The last cell that is chosen and active should be B4.
  3. OR click on Find & Select, Go To Special, BlanksFill in empty cells highlightedpng
  4. Type = and click on B3
  5. Control EnterFill in empty cells highlighted and completed

There You Have it!

EXCEL: Quick Way to Repeat Text in Cells Without Autofill

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An acquaintance of mine showed me a way to repeat text without using the autofill.  Here is a simple way to do it:

  1. Highlight several cells
  2. Type in the text in the active cell
  3. Click on Control+Enter key

There you have it!

WORD: Repeat Table Headings at the Top of Every Page

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When you create a lengthy table that continues on more than one page, Word doesn’t display the table’s headings (i.e., the table’s first row) at the top of each page that contains a portion of the table. This can make multi-page tables hard to read. However, you can easily configure Word to repeat a table’s heading row wherever the table breaks across pages.

If you’d like to use just the first row of your table as a repeated heading:
1. Place the insertion point anywhere within the table’s first row or select more than one row.
2. Choose Table | Heading Rows Repeat from the menu bar.
**When you do, Word automatically repeats the selected row contents wherever the table breaks across pages. In addition, Word automatically adjusts the placement of repeated heading rows so that when you add or remove rows from the body of the table, the repeated heading rows always appear at the top of the page.

Word DOES NOT display the repeated row headings when Normal, Outline or Web Layout view is active. They are still applied when the print coomand is issued.

WORD: Positioning Drawing Objects Using the Grid Lines

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Here is a simply way to place drawing objects in just the right location eliminating approximation,or the guesssing game.

To create a grid in your document:

  1. Select Draw | Grid from the Drawing toolbar.
  2. In the Drawing Grid dialog box, select the Display Gridlines On Screen check box and click OK.

Customize your gridlines
You can choose how far apart to space your gridlines, and you can choose to remove the vertical lines if you’d like.

To adjust your gridline spacing:

  1. Select Draw | Grid from the Drawing toolbar.
  2. In the Grid Settings area, increase or decrease the numbers in the Horizontal Spacing and Vertical Spacing spin boxes. Smaller numbers create closely spaced gridlines, and larger numbers widen the gaps between gridlines.

To remove the vertical gridlines:

  1. Select Draw | Grid from the Drawing toolbar.
  2. Deselect the Vertical Every check box in the Grid Origin area of the Drawing Grid dialog box. Click OK.

Another Method for 200, 2010, and 2013
Change your grid settings by going to the Page Layout tab and in the Arrange group, click the Align button and choose Grid Settings from the resulting dropdown list. This choice opens the Drawing Grid dialog box. You can also quickly hide/show your gridlines by selecting or deselecting View Gridlines from the same dropdown list.


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