10 Excel tips to increase productivity

In this guide, we’re going to show you 10 tips to increase your Excel productivity for when working with spreadsheets.

Cell styles

You can change the color, font type and borders around cells. Modifying these elements can help distinguish specific cells from others. A good example is changing he coloring of inputs and outputs. If you give different colors to inputs and outputs, users will be able to easily identify cells they need to interact with.

Below is an example of a spreadsheet with and without styling.

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You do not have to select each color and font from scratch. You can easily apply Excel presets to any selected cell.

Cell Styles section can be found under the Home tab of the Ribbon. You may need to click on the tiny arrow to see your options.

Select any style to apply it. If you want to design your own style, click on the New Cell Style button at the bottom of the section. Custom styles will be listed in this section once created.

Let’s continue with another styling tip for increasing your Excel productivity.

Sheet Coloring

Another way to increase your productivity in Excel is by changing the color of the sheets tab.  If your workbook has a multiple sheets, coloring them is a good example for easing navigation.

All you need to is right-click on a tab and select a color from the Tab Color pane.

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Tip: You can add dummy sheets between grouped tabs to create a more compact view.

Filtering & Sorting

If you are keeping data in tabular form, use Excel’s Filter and Sort features to access what you need faster.

Although either feature can be accessed through the Data tab in the Ribbon. Just right-click on a cell under the column you want to filter or sort.

You can find more information on Sort and Filter features in the following articles:

The crux of organizing your data: How to sort in Excel

How to Filter a Table in Excel

Our next tip involves using named ranges.

Named Ranges

A named range identifies any Excel range that can be referred by a friendly name. These friendly names make formulas easy to write and easy to read. Here an example:

Without names: =SUMIFS(G3:G16,E3:E16,”I”,D3:D16,”FIRE”)

With names: =SUMIFS(HP,Generation,”I”,Type,”FIRE”)

Without names you need to remember which range contains what data.

You can add names to your ranges easily by selecting the cell range, and then typing in the name of your named range into the reference box (right before the formula box on the top bar).

Excel Named Ranges

There is a naming convention you need to obey while assigning names into the ranges. Check our Excel Named Ranges Guide to learn more and find examples.

Tables

Tables is an Excel feature which can be used to format, manage, and analyze your data. By converting your regular range of cells into a table, your data gains a dynamic formatting and special reference system which makes formula auditing process easier like named ranges.

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You can convert your data in tabular layout into an Excel Table easily by selecting a cell in the data and pressing Ctrl + T. For more and detailed information, please check the following articles:

How to Create an Excel Table

Tips for Excel Tables

Keyboard and Mouse Shortcuts

Use combinations of keyboard keys and mouse buttons to do various actions with minimal effort.

You can repeat your last action by pressing the F4 key or you can close multiple Excel windows by clicking the Close (X) button while holding down the Shift key.

Excel Mouse Tips and Tricks 01

Find more about useful Excel shortcuts from below pages.

10 Most Useful Shortcuts in Excel

Excel Mouse Tips & Tricks

Incremental Tab Names

If your sheet names include or end with incremental numbers like 2020, 2021, 2022 or Year 2020, Year 2021, Year 2022, putting the numeric value inside parenthesis () will increase the number when you copy the sheet.

AutoSave / OneDrive / Threaded Comments

If you are a Microsoft 365, also known as Office 365, subscriber, you will see the AutoSave switch at the top left of your Excel menu.

Turn this switch on to enable AutoSave feature which constantly saves your worksheet into your OneDrive account. The obvious benefit is eliminating the data loss. Other significant advantage is that it gives you ability to share your workbook with others easily. Anyone you give the permission can work on the workbook at the same time.

You can leave threaded Comments to anyone using the workbook as well.

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Send as attachment

If you send your Excel workbook or a part of it as an email attachment occasionally, this tip may save you lots of time. You can send your workbook as an email attachment with a few clicks.

The native way is to use the Share function in the File menu. Click the Share button in the File menu to display Share dialog where you can find attach options. Each button attaches your workbook into an email.

Another way to access these options is to add the commands into your Quick Access Toolbar. Both functions as well as E-mail as XPS Attachment command can be added In Excel Options > Quick Access Toolbar dialog.

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You can find more commands to increase your productivity in Hidden commands in Excel.

Pivot Tables

With Pivot Tables, grouping and consolidating data can be done quickly with a few drag & drop actions.

You can learn about Pivot Tables here: How to Organize and Analyze Your Data Quickly with Excel’s PivotTables guide.