Microsoft Excel can be a difficult program to master, so this article aims to provide you with some tips and tricks to improve your Excel competency and ensure you are as productive as you can possibly be.


Choose a fill colorAlt+H, H
Go to Insert tabAlt+N
Center align cell contentsAlt+H, A, then C
Go to Page Layout tabAlt+P
Go to Data tabAlt+A
Go to View tabAlt+W
Format a cell from context menuShift+F10
Add bordersAlt+H, B
Delete columnAlt+H,D, then C
Go to Formula tabAlt+M



A good workbook is one that others can read and work with, without the help of the creator. Presenting someone with a complex web of numbers and expecting them to get results is just unfair. Right click a cell you'd like to explain and select Insert Comment to attach a note to that cell; you can resize and reposition the comment box if required. A cell with a comment is marked with a red flash in its top-right corner, and hovering over the cell will display that comment.

It's a good idea to add comments to column or row headers, and use the spacing tools to move them around so they're not overlapping. The Show All Comments button in the Review tab will bring them all up at once.

Quick formatting

Drag to select a group of data, and look out for an icon appearing at the bottom-right hand corner of your selection area. This could be Excel's coolest feature: the quick analysis tool.

It gives you instant access to a bunch of useful formatting features, all the way from colouring up your cells based on their range to implementing sparklines, sums and charts. Hover over each option to see a preview and click it to lock it down. Use the same tool to clear formatting if it gets too much – you'll find the clear option listed under the Formatting heading.

Further reading

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