Comma Format

The comma format for numbers is pretty popular.

There are a couple of keyboard shortcuts to apply it.

Hold the Ctrl and Shift keys down and press 1 on the keyboard.

The next one uses the Alt key. Use the left Alt key. Keys pressed in sequence (don’t hold them down).

Alt H K

Remember Hong Kong.

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Old Macros XL4 macros

If you use the old Excel macro language – known as XL4 macros – you may need to update a setting to keep using them.

This is the macro language before VBA was introduced in the Excel 5 back in the 90’s.

Not many people use these macros any more but there a couple of techniques that they are used for.

Microsoft will soon disable them automatically and you will need to turn them back on if you want to use them.

The setting to update is in the Trust Center Macro settings – see image below.

 

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One Minute to Excel #22 – Normalise a budget

Power Query can be quick

The standard budget layout isn’t great for pivot tables. You can easily and quickly convert it in to data using Power Query

See now in this short video.

Monitor Cells with Excel’s Watch Window

Don't wait, watch

When you are developing a file for a report, budget or forecast you may need to keep track of certain cells. They could be validations or profits or some other important value. The Watch Window can help you monitor multiple cells in one place.

In the Formulas tab in the Formula Auditing section is the Watch Window icon.

Clicking the icon opens the Watch Window. It will be blank.

You can click the Add Watch button to add a cell to monitor. You can chose cells from any sheet.

Click Add to watch the cell. You can widen the Watch Window and change column widths as well.

You can click the column headings to sort by the column.

You can also select a range to watch. but it will list the range as a series of cells – see images below.

When you save and close the file the watch entries are saved. When you open the file the Watch Window won’t be open, you will have to re-open it.

The shortcut Alt M W (pressed in sequence, not held down) will open the Watch Window. The same shortcut also closes the Watch Window.

 

One Minute to Excel #21 – Hiding Zeroes

Two ways

If you want to display a blank cell instead of a zero there are two ways to do it.

See both in this short video.

Power Query Shortcut

Have you tried right clicking a formatted table recently?

There is a new option to Get Data from Table/Range – which means to import the table into Power Query so you can data cleanse the table.

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Power Query Zoom

I used this today in a live webinar.

I zoomed into the Power Query window in Excel to make it easier to see.

Ctrl + Shift + + (plus)

One Minute to Excel #18 – Convert real numbers to text numbers

Two techniques

When you are working with text numbers in tables sometimes you need to convert real numbers into text numbers to do look ups.

There are at least two ways to do this.

Let’s see how to convert real numbers into test numbers, real fast.

May the fours be with you

Excel and Star Wars combine

On the weekend Sunday the 5th of September 2021 is a big day for Excel.

In Excel the date system starts on 1/1/1900 – that was day 1, and each day since has its own sequential number.

On Saturday September 5, 2021 (Father’s day in Australia) that number is – wait for it – see the image below.

May the fours be with you!

If you remove the formatting from a cell  with a date you will see the underlying number.

Pasting into a Large Formatted Table

There is a quick way to do this

There are times when pasting to the bottom of an existing large, formatted table can take a few minutes to update. There is a quicker way.

When the formatted table is selected there is a Table Design (or Design) tab visible.

On the far left-hand side the Resize Table icon allows you to easily extend the range of the formatted.

You can amend the range and add sufficient rows to handle the new data in the dialog that opens.

When you paste into an existing formatted table (rather on the end of the table) you will find it will update a lot quicker.

Keyboard Shortcut to Record a Macro

You need the Developer ribbon tab visible to record a macro, or do you?

This old-fashioned keyboard shortcut will open the record macro dialog. Pressed in sequence, not held down.

Alt T M R

You can also use the little icon next to the Ready at the bottom left corner of the screen.

Once you start recording the small square icon to stop recording appears in the same spot.

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Happy Birthday IBM PC

40 years old

The IBM PC was launched 12 August 1981 – 40 years ago – wow!

When I was looking at my first Excel articles I found this article from 20 years ago.

Its amazing that PC’s are roughly the same price these days.

I remember using an IBM PC at college in the early 80’s for word processing. Instead of using a typewriter for your assignments you could use the PC and printer.

You had to book times to use it because there were only two PC’s available and they were used 24 hours a day. There were dual floppy drives – one was for the operating system and one was for  data storage  – your files. You carried around a floppy drive with all your assignments on it.

Excelling at Excel – Twenty Years Ago Today

My first article

My first article was published on 10 August 2001 in the Accountants Weekly magazine.

I have scanned the original article and it is shown below.

20 years later I thought I would update the 10 points from the article.

  1. The right mouse button is still a time saver and now has even more options. You can now Filter and Sort using the right click. Try right clicking the navigation icons on the left of the sheet tabs for a complete list of sheets. I drag with the right mouse button to copy formats only, or values only.
  2. Yes, I still use the Ctrl key to copy quickly. Try dragging a sheet tab with the mouse whilst holding the Ctrl key down – it copies the sheet – woohoo!
  3. Selecting multiple ranges with the Ctrl key and mouse is even better now. In the more recent Excel versions you can de-select ranges. In the old days you had to start from scratch if you wanted to change a selection.
  4. Toolbars are gone but the Quick Access Toolbar is customisable – see this post on that.
  5. Toolbars are out, but you can create your own ribbon tabs using Customize The Ribbon – right click the ribbon.
  6. Conditional Formatting (Home ribbon) now has lots more options and many built-in ones.
  7. Shift key – still lots of options with Shift.
  8. Double clicking – yes lots of time savers. Try double clicking the Format Painter (left side of Home ribbon) to apply formats multiple times. Press Esc to stop.
  9. Comments – now Comments have been re-badged as Notes and Comments are a new threaded commentary system.
  10. Paste Special – Ctrl + Alt + V opens Paste Special after copying.

When published all those years ago these tips applied to both Excel 97 and Excel 2000. We have come a long way since those days.