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.
Clear Borders In Excel
If you need to clear all the borders from a selected range use
Ctrl + Shift + _ (underline)
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.
What is the best layout when working with months/quarters/half years and full years? There are a few common structures. I prefer the one that lets you create single formulas that can be quickly copied across and down with as few copies as possible.
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.
I was working on a project for a client and receiving multiple files. Some of the sheets had hidden rows or columns. I realised there is no easy way to find out if a sheet has hidden rows or columns, so I wrote a macro.
When you create formulas that refer to other sheets Excel typically includes the name of the current sheet when you return to the current sheet and refer to a cell.
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.
My consulting work recently highlighted a stark contrast in different Excel models and the effort it takes to create or change them. I make some recommendations to make things easier for yourself at the end of this post.
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.
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.
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.
Sometimes Excel surprises me. In this case it sorts in a way I didn’t expect, but in a good way. Thanks to Mr Excel for the tip.
Marking cells Good-Bad-Neutral
Sometimes when you are reviewing a file against a printed report, you may need to identify when cell values are correct, wrong or close.
Consider using the built-in Styles Good/Bad/Neutral on the Home ribbon tab – see below.
These can be quicker than using the usual fill colour icon.
Remember they may not be useful for colour blind readers if you are sharing with other people.
Don’t forget once applied if you want to apply the same format to another cell press the F4 function key.
Once formatted you can sort or filter by colour – see right click options below.
Adding Values to Values
Let’s say you have an input cell that someone enters multiple values into eg
You may have many such cells.
Now let’s say you want to add 20 to all these cells but keep the original values that have been entered in those cells.
Paste Special to the rescue.
Enter 20 in a blank cell and then copy the cell
Select the cells you want to amend – you can hold the Ctrl key down to select multiple cells with the mouse
Open the Paste Special dialog
Click the options Values and Add – as per image below – then click OK – done!
The resulting formula will be something like
If you are using date-based headings in your reporting models please consider using dates in the headings rather than text. I’ll explain why.
Find and Replace Tips, Tricks and Traps
The keyboard short for Find is Ctrl + f.
For Find & Replace it is Ctrl + h.
Always, I mean
ALWAYS, select the range you are working with before you run Find and Replace.
If you have a single cell selected it will affect the whole sheet – maybe not what you want.
Leave the Dialog Open
In the old days we used to close the Find dialog. Now you can leave it open if you need to change things in multiple files or sheets. You can navigate around with the dialog left open.
When using Find if you want to select all the cells it has found, click in the bottom section of the Find dialog where the cells are listed and press Ctrl + a this will select all the cells at once.
Be aware that sometimes numbers won’t be found due to formatting. eg if you search for 1000 but you have used the comma format eg 1,000 then the number might not be found.
You might need to do two Finds, with and without commas.
Formulas vs Values
Click on the Options button to see these options.
The default Look in: setting for Find (unfortunately) is Formulas. See image below.
This means if a formula returns what you are looking for it won’t be found. You need to switch this Look in: setting to Values.
Time to upgrade my Spreadsheet Mug
The dishwasher has taken a heavy toll on my old mug.
I think the new version has a slightly lower capacity.
The NETWORKDAYS.INTL function was added in Excel 2010. It allows to calculate how may work days between two dates using non-standard weekends. Some countries don’t have Saturday/Sunday weekends.
I found a good shortcut today to increase the decimal places.
Alt H 0
For example you might use these two shortcuts one after the other to format a range as a percentage with one decimal place.
Ctrl + Shift + %
Alt H 0