Excel: Frozen

Businessman with Data

Freezing panes is a basic tool to make a large spreadsheet easier to work with. In my social media spreadsheet I like to freeze the header row into position. Then no matter how far I scroll down the sheet, the columns are labelled.

To turn on frozen panes, select the cell below the row & column you wish to freeze into position. Since I don’t want to freeze any columns, I select cell A2.

Freezing Panes using the Active Cell position" width
Freezing Panes using the Active Cell position” width

Select the View Ribbon, Click on the Freeze Panes button, and choose Freeze Panes (or Freeze Top Row in this scenario).

Freezing Panes Results
Freezing Panes Results

Now you can scroll for hundreds of rows, and each column is nicely labelled – no guessing!


This post is originally from 2016. If you want help with the newest and classic features in Excel drop me a line at catharine@mytechgenie.ca

Excel: Select Visible (2)

Man hand and laptop
The Select Visible Cells Only button on the Quick Access Toolbar
The Select Visible Cells Only button on the Quick Access Toolbar

The Select Visible Cells Only function is so useful, I like to add it to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) in Excel. These instructions are based on Excel 2010, but will be similar in all current versions of Excel.

Quick Access Toolbar Customization
Quick Access Toolbar Customization

The Quick Access Toolbar starts in the top right corner of the Excel window. The customize button is circled in red. Clicking on that button displays the menu shown below.

Move the QAT under the ribbon
Move the QAT under the ribbon

The first change I like to make is to its’ position. I like to move it under the Ribbon, since there will be more room for buttons there. Over time I tend to fill the QAT up with frequently used tools.

After I move the QAT below the ribbon, I go hunting for useful commands to add. Click the More Commands… option and the Customize the Quick Access Toolbar dialog opens up.

Customize the Quick Access Toolbar - Popular Commands
Customize the Quick Access Toolbar – Popular Commands

The dialog box defaults to Popular Commands. Try scrolling through this list and find the Format Painter. Press the Add button, to add it to the Quick Access Toolbar. This is a useful tool to have at hand!

By clicking on the Choose commands from drop-down list, a selection will be displayed.

Drop-down list of source commands.
Drop-down list of source commands.

Select All Commands from this list. Hundreds of Excel commands will display, and this is where it is useful to know the name of the command you are looking for. Scroll until you find Select Visible Cells.

Finding the Select Visible Cells command
Finding the Select Visible Cells command

Select it, Click on the Add button, and click OK.

Simply select the cells you wish to copy and press the Select Visible Cells button. Paste your information and only what you see will be pasted.


This post is originally from 2016. If you want help with the newest and classic features in Excel drop me a line at catharine@mytechgenie.ca

Excel: Select Visible (1)

I built my Social Media spreadsheet in an Excel spreadsheet with all the tools I want built in (formulas, conditional formatting and data validation). Ultimately, I will transfer my information into a stripped down spreadsheet in csv (comma separated) format. This is the format that Google Calendars will accept.

When I transfer my posts to this spreadsheet, I don’t want to include any blank rows AND I only want to copy and paste once. How do I perform this little piece of magic? I use the Excel command for selecting visible cells only.

Go To Special Dialog, select Visible cells only
Go To Special Dialog, select Visible cells only

Tucked away in the Go To Special dialog is the option for selecting only the visible cells in a region. This takes what could be multiple copy/paste operations and condenses them into one step.

First filter your data so that blanks do not appear, then press the F5 function key to bring up the Go To dialog box.

Press the Special button to open the Go To Special dialog box, choose Visible cells only and press OK. Now when you copy the selected cells, only the cells you can see are copied.

In my next post I’ll show the method to put this useful button on your Quick Access Toolbar.

 


This post is originally from 2016. If you want help with the newest and classic features in Excel drop me a line at catharine@mytechgenie.ca

Excel: Looking Good in Facebook

Chalkboard with hands giving thumbs up gesture and the phrase We Like It! in background
Controlling the layout of a wordy Facebook post
Controlling the layout of a wordy Facebook post

You can see the above is a pretty long Facebook post. To force line breaks when posting to Facebook use the html tag: <BR>

To force line returns inside an Excel cell use the Alt+Enter shortcut. This way your Excel layout looks like your Facebook post.


This post is originally from 2016. If you want help with the newest and classic features in Excel drop me a line at catharine@mytechgenie.ca

Making a Zoom Background in PowerPoint

You can make a professional looking Zoom background quickly in PowerPoint. Just be sure to use a 16 x 9 dimension slide.

Oh, and flip your logo or any text on the slide. Yes, it will be mirrored. But when uploaded to Zoom as a virtual background, it will read properly for your audience.

Where to go to reverse images
Don’t forget to reverse images

After creating your slide, save it as a jpeg and then upload it to Zoom.


Looking for help with getting the most from your presentations?
Contact me at catharine@mytechgenie.ca

Flash Fill

Flash Fill was introduced in 2013, but I have clients who are just upgrading to 2013 this year. This is the kind of feature that makes upgrading worthwhile.


Flash Fill is a new tool introduced in Excel 2013. Its a simple tool to handle a frequent problem. You have a small set of data and you need to break it apart into separate columns or join separate columns of data together.

Previously, I would have handled it with a series of text functions in Excel (LEFT, RIGHT, MID) combined with FIND and LEN if the data was complex enough. But if the data set is small, writing a formula sometimes seems like an overly complicated answer to a simple problem (why not just retype?).

Now Flash Fill is stepping in to help you handle this problem. If you give it a series of data (column orientation only) and an example of the pattern you want to extract, it will extract the data for you.

Flash Fill in action
Flash Fill captures the first names only from the adjacent column

You can see once the second name is typed in the column adjacent to the list of full names, Flash Fill is able to see the pattern and offer all the first names in the list. Pressing enter autocompletes the action and the names are filled in. To do this, there can not be more than two blank columns between the source data and the resulting column. You can use the Ctrl + e shortcut to start flash fill.

Flash Fill Icon
Note the Flash Fill Icon displaying after the Ctrl + e shortcut was used.

You can click the Flash Fill icon to display the menu, accepting the suggestions will have all the names autocomplete.

The Flash Fill menu will display if the icon is clicked
The Flash Fill Menu

Here is an even trickier scenario, in the list above some names have two middle initials. Using the “default” flash fill means only the second initial will display in those names. However if I return to any of the names on the list (with two initials) and correct the example to two initials, all of the two initials examples will be extracted.

Two initials with Flash fill
Flash Fill double initial example

I find that seriously impressive.

I can split data in a cell into multiple columns and I can also use Flash Fill to join multiple columns of data together.

Flash Fill concatenation
Joining separate columns using Flash Fill

The same technique used above. Note that I’ve been able to add commas and periods to the text as well.

Formatting via Flash Fill
Using Flash Fill to apply formatting

In the same way, I can use Flash Fill to apply formatting, in this case putting a space between the first and second part of a postal code. You can also use it to format telephone numbers and date information.


I was (and still am) excited to share Flash Fill with my favourite clients. If you are interested in becoming one of my clients, drop me a line at catharine@mytechgenie.ca

Excel: Multiple Cell entry

Here’s a quick keyboard tip, instead of copying and pasting the same information in multiple cells (too many steps!), try the following.

  1. Pre selecting the cells you want to enter data in.
  2. Enter the data – BUT instead use the Ctrl + Enter keyboard shortcut to confirm the data. This will duplicate your data entry to every cell you have selected.

The toughest part of this shortcut is remembering to use it!

PowerPoint: Use the Grey Space

The grey space around your PowerPoint slide is a useful area.

Picture of the workspace in PowerPoint
The grey space around a PowerPoint slide is used to hold instructions.

You can put it to work in a couple of ways:

  • Park items you’re not working with but still want to have on hand, like an image that you want to keep in the file for use later.
  • Put instructions for other users here.

Does your organization need easy to use, on brand presentation templates? Drop me a line at catharine@mytechgenie.ca, and let’s talk.