Finance News & Insights

Do you and your staffers know these 10 ‘power’ Excel skills?

excel shortcuts

You probably consider yourself pretty adept at using Excel. The same hopefully goes for your finance staffers.

Why not put that belief to the test?

The folks at PCWorld recently put together a list of the 10 tricks “Real Excel Power Users Know.” And the list certainly contains tip that could shave hours off your week.

So just how many of them do you know – and use on a regular basis?

Check out PCWorld’s list to see if you rise to the ranks of “power user.” Then let your staffers test their skills as well. You just may uncover an efficiency booster or two.

What’s your score?

These are the 10 tricks that made the list:

  1. Vlookup. It’s a report compiler’s dream. When staffers are working with data from multiple spreadsheets or workbooks, you can centralize them with this tool.
  2. Creating charts. No doubt you can create a chart. But are you aware of all the options out there? Excel has a surprising number of possibilities for chart making. You just may find a way to better present financial info.
  3. IF formulas. You know data doesn’t always behave the same. This tool lets you set conditional formulas so if one statement is true, it’s calculated one way, but when it’s not, it’s calculated another way.
  4. Pivot tables. You’ll be better able to create summary tables with this tool. Note: If you have Excel 2013, make sure staffers know about the Recommended Pivot Tables for some helpful direction.
  5. Pivot Charts. Grappling with complex data sets? This is the tool for the task.
  6. Flash Fill. You’ll have to be an Excel 2013 to benefit from this one, but if you have it you want to be using it. This tip will slash your keying times.
  7. Quick Analysis. Another Excel 2013 advance, when you’re working with simpler data sets, chart creation will take less time.
  8. Power View. Sometimes you and staffers need to get non-Excel created data into Excel. This is the tool to pull data from external sources.
  9. Conditional formatting. Need to highlight a certain data set for managers, as in those hovering close to going over their budgets for the quarter? This tool can help you do that.
  10. Transposing columns into rows (and rows into columns). It happens: The way you started organizing data turns out not to be the ideal format. So you need to make a change. When it’s moving columns or rows, it’s as easy as copying, pasting and hitting transpose.

So how’d you do?

Issue the challenge

No matter how you fared, one things clear: There’s no shortage of tips and tricks out there when it comes to this tech tool.

In fact, if you Google “Excel tips and tricks” you get over four million hits. That means there are probably plenty of untapped ones you can mine to boost Finance’s efficiency.

Try this: Issue an Excel tip challenge.

Once a week (or month, or quarter), have each staffer dig up the best new Excel tip or trick he or she can find. Then share them among all department members.

If no one already knew it you can add it to a master list of Excel tips and circulate it to boost everyone’s efficiency.

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  • Raj

    If you want to learn Microsoft Excel, there are several places on the net that offer online courses. The one I personally like is They have videos and pdf course packs like most online course. But they also have lots of assignments you can use to practice the concepts. There are simulated exercises also which are basically guided practice sessions and very helpful.