Filtering Tip

Make your headings bold.

This tip applies to tables and to the structures you use for charts.

Excel looks for the bold format when it reviews tables and layouts to figure out if your table has a headings row.

You can use Ctrl + Shift + L to add or remove the filter icons to a data table. There is also an icon on Data ribbon tab.

This will work more reliably if the headings are bold.

I use the following keyboard combination on the top left corner of the table.

Ctrl + Shift + right arrow (this selects all the headings)

Ctrl + b (this applies bold to the headings)

Ctrl + Shift + L (to turn on filters)

This combination can be done very quickly.

You can just use Ctrl + Shift + L within the table, but sometimes this applies the filter to the wrong row.

You Can Undo After You Save

I am amazed how few people know this.

Way back in Office 2007 Microsoft changed the Undo List so that it is NOT cleared whenever you save a file.

You can use Ctrl + z or the Undo icon to undo things you did before you saved the file.

If you close the file that obviously clears the Undo List.

Please let people know this as I find so many people in my training sessions do not know things have changed since Office 2003.

This applies to all MS Office apps.

Make Excel VBA Pause

Sometimes when running a macro you need to make sure Excel has had time to do something before progressing.

This is typically in large models were it can take time (a few seconds) to do a specific task eg removing a filter or updating an external data source.

You can pause a macro to allow Excel to do something by using the Wait command.

Application.Wait (Now + TimeValue("0:00:02"))

The above code will pause the macro for 2 seconds.

Ctrl + Alt + F5 Not Working

The keyboard shortcut to Refresh All in Excel is

This refreshes all the data connections in the file in one step.

The problem is that on some systems (like mine) this conflicts with an Intel Graphics hot key.

To turn off the graphics hotkeys right click the Desktop and choose Graphics Options, then Hot Keys then Disable. See below.

Big thanks to StackOverflow for covering this issue – link below.

VBA to Clear a Filter

Using Excel’s built-in filtering can speed up your VBA code.

It is important if you are applying filters that you clear any existing filters before you apply a new filter. Otherwise the existing filters will usually affect a new filter you apply.

The line of code below will remove filters on Sheet1 (Sheet1 is the sheet code name that you see on the left side of the VBA screen – it may not be the sheet tab name).

If Sheet1.FilterMode Then Sheet1.ShowAllData

The .FilterMode property is True if a filter is in place on the sheet and False if not.

The .ShowAllData method will return an error if no filter is in place – hence the use of the If statement.

Instant Format in Excel

You may know the two keyboard shortcuts below for currency and percentage.

But what you may NOT know is a technique that has been around since the early versions of Excel.

The technique allows you to automatically apply these two formats after you type an entry.

It you type $1000 into a cell and press Enter. Excel will automatically apply the $ format to the cell. The $ sign will not display in the Formula Bar – see below.

If you type 2.5% into a cell. Excel will automatically apply the standard % format to the cell. The % sign will display in the Formula Bar – see below.

As I mentioned these are really old skills that have been lost over the years since we no longer have Excel manuals – shows my age.

Top 5 Books

A recent email from CPA Australia listed my Excel book (Advanced Excel Reporting for Management Accountants) in the top 5 of all books – see list below.

Members of CPA Australia can access electronic books for FREE via ProQuest – links are below.

You will need to log in to the CPA Australia site to be able to access them.

The accounting books CPAs love

Which books have your fellow accountants found most helpful in advancing their careers? You may find the results surprising, with their top five covering everything from Excel and analytics to forecasting and getting your own way. Try these ebooks for yourself.

Your Excel survival kit: Your guide to surviving and thriving in an Excel world

Killer analytics: Top 20 metrics missing from your balance sheet
Persuasion equation: The subtle science of getting your way
Advanced Excel reporting for management accountants
Financial forecasting, analysis and modelling: A framework for long-term forecasting

Range Selection Tip and Trick

You know how when you press Enter you usually select the cell below? You can override that without changing a single setting.

When you select a range Excel can behave differently when you press the Enter key. Not many users know this trick.

Select the range B2:G2 in a blank sheet and press Enter. The cell selected will be the one on the right or back at the start of the range depending which cell was active when the range was selected.

Pressing Enter cycles through all the cells in the range.

This works for two dimensional ranges as well – in that case the cell below is selected until the bottom of the range is reached then the top of the next column within the range is selected.

This is handy for entering data into input ranges.

Try This

Let’s say range A2:D2 has basic links referencing the cell above so cell A2 has =A1 in it.

What if you wanted to change all those relative references to fixed references?

Select the range A2:D2 and then press these three keys in sequence

F2 F4 Enter

Repeat three times – job done!

F2 is the Edit command.

F4 converts a relative reference into a fixed reference.

Enter accepts the change.

You can often achieve very fast changes with keyboard techniques like this.

For example if a cell contains an email address¬† or a web address but it isn’t recognised as a link, simply select the cell and press F2 then press Enter to convert it into a link.

If there is a column of them, just keeping pressing F2 and Enter to convert them all. You can become quite fast.