15 Excel Advanced Tips and Tricks to Save Time and Get Known by Peers as an Excel Master

Have you been looking for Excel Advanced Tips and Tricks to make you faster and save your time?

Look no further: in this article you will see 15 tips and tricks in Excel to save time and get known by your peers as an Excel ninja. So, why wait? Let’s get started!

1. Keyboard Shortcuts

You will save tons of time and make moves like a ninja once you master the keyboard shortcuts. Here are some of my favorites:

  1. |Ctrl + A|: will select all of the data
  2. |Ctrl + C|: will copy the selected data (or object)
  3. |Ctrl + V|: will paste the copied data (or object)
  4. |Ctrl + End|: will take you to the last cell of your data
  5. |Ctrl + Home|: will take you to the first cell of your data
  6. |Ctrl + Up Arrow|: will take you to the first cell of your active column
  7. |Ctrl + Down Arrow|: will take you to the last cell of your active column
  8. |Shift + Space|: will select row(s) of your active cell(s)
  9. |Ctrl + Space|: will select column(s) of your active cell(s)
  10. |Shift + Space|: will select row(s) of your active cell(s)v
  11. |Ctrl + minus sign|: will give you Delete options

For a complete list of keyboard shortcuts, visit: http://bit.ly/1QljQSp

2 Copy Formula Down

To quickly copy a formula down:

  1. Hover to the bottom-right corner of the cell with the formula (you will notice that the cursor has turned to a thick black plus sign)
  2. Double click the plus sign

Double click in Excel to copy down

3 Copying Values or Formulas

When tip #2 doesn’t work because there’s a blank cell between your starting cell and the end cell of your range or you don¢t want to drag a formula down to 1000 rows, try this:

  1. Go to the first cell that you would like to copy or fill in other cells
  2. In the name box, type in the address of the last cell of the range, where you want to fill data or formula and hit |Shift + Enter|
  3. Press F2 to edit the formula in your first cell
  4. Then hit |Ctr + Enter|

You can see the name box highlighted in the red box. You will find this box right next to the fFormula Bar

4 Total a Column or a Row

To quickly total a column or a row, in the last cell, hit |Alt + =| (equal to sign).

5 Delete Duplicate Rows

To delete rows with duplicated data, follow these steps:

  1. Select the range of the data that you want de-duplicated (usually, |Ctrl + A| works)
  2. Click on the Data menu option from the menu ribbon
  3. Click on the Remove Duplicates button
  4. Choose whether your range has a header row
  5. Hit OK


6 Add Leading Zeros

You often find the need to add leading zeros to a number and most likely the result value is a text format. For example, you may want to show the number 7893 as 0000007893, making the number a text value with a length of 10 characters. If your number is in A1 and you want to convert that to text with leading zeros with a maximum length of 10 characters, enter this formula in B1:


7 Repeat Header for Printing

While printing a multi-page sheet, it is useful to repeat the header row(s) on every page. To do so,

  1. Click on Page Layout menu option on the riboon
  2. Click on Print Titles button
  3. Select the row(s) you want to repeat at the top in Rows to Repeat at Top box

8 Create Named Ranges

For sheets with large number of rows, it is useful to give names to ranges so that you can refer to these names in your formulas without clicking and selecting long ranges. To quickly give names to your ranges:

  1. Click on the Formulas menu option on the ribbon
  2. Click on the Create from Selection button
  3. Select the ranges to give names from usually Top Row works well as this row is the header row


9 Copy Values

To speed up copying only values and not the formulas, use this keyboard shortcut sequence:

  1. |Ctrl + A| to select the whole range of data (or select your range with the help of the mouse)
  2. |Ctrl + C| to copy the data
  3. in your destination, press |Alt + E|, then |S|, then |V|, and then |Enter|

The whole sequence is:

Ctrl + A, Ctrl + C, Alt + E, S, V, Enter

After you practice this a couple of times, when you do this in front of your peers, without a doubt they will be in awe of your new ninja abilities.

10 Import a Table from the Web

Often you need to import data from the internet and you wish for a better way of doing so. Well, here is one way. Let¢s say you want to import the list of all time leaders of home run hitters in baseball from baseball almanac. Follow these steps to enjoy seeing this data in an Excel file:

  1. Click on Data menu option from the ribbon
  2. Click on From Web
  3. In the browser window, enter the URL: http://www.baseball-almanac.com/hitting/hihr1.shtml
  4. Hit the Go button on the browser window
  5. Scroll down to the table of home runs
  6. Click on Click to select this table check box
  7. Click on Import
  8. Click on OK

Only a ninja can import raw tables from the web to the Excel files!

11 Delete Current Row(s)

To quickly delete current row(s), follow these two steps

  1. Select the row(s) by |Shift + Space|
  2. Delete the selected row(s) by |Ctrl + - (minus sign)|

12 Delete Current Column(s)

To quickly delete current column(s), follow these two steps

  1. Select the column(s) by |Ctrl + Space|
  2. Delete the selected column(s) by |Ctrl + - (minus sign)|

13 Quick Aggregation

Quick Tool provide aggregate statistics, such as Average, Count, Numerical Count, Max, Min, and Sum of the data from a selected range without entering any formula. To show these statistics in the bottom toolbar, right click on the toolbar and choose the desired statistic.

14 Finding a Related Value

Often you have to translate or cross-walk a value, say a state code, to it a related value, in this case the fully spelled state name. You can write multiple, nested |IF|, but a ninja way is to use a |VLOOKUP| formula. The syntax of VLOOKUP formula is: =VLOOKUP(lookup_value,table_array,col_index_num,range_lookup)

  • In the above example, our lookup value is the state code and table array is a table with the state codes and their descriptions.
  • The column index is the column that we want to return after matching a code
  • The range lookup is an argument to search for exact matches (1 or TRUE) or approximate matches (0 or FALSE)

Let’s say, your customer IDs in Column A, their mailing state code in Column B, and in Column C you want to see the state spelled out. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Create a table of codes and their fully-spelled values in Column E and F
  2. In |C2|, enter this formula:  =VLOOKUP(B2,E3:F6,2,0)
  3. Copy the formula down

Here’s how it looks:

15 Converting Numbers to Ranges

Did you ever find yourself with the need to convert a number column to discrete ranges for easier summaries or graphs? Did you wish there was a better way? Well, there is: the |VLOOKUP| formula. You saw the syntax: The syntax of VLOOKUP formula is:=VLOOKUP(lookup_value,table_array,col_index_num,range_lookup) To convert numbers to ranges, you use the |range_lookup| argument with a value of |TRUE|, which will tell Excel to make an approximate match to the lookup value. We can use this to our advantage. Let’s say, you have some measure, such as, population, revenue, sales, # of units, etc, in Column A. You want to convert these measures to certain ranges. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Create a table of measures and their discrete ranges in Column F and G
  2. In |C2|, enter this formula: =VLOOKUP(A2,F3:G8,2,1)
  3. Copy the formula down

Here’s how it looks:

16 Text to Columns

Did you have a lots of data in a text document and you wish you could easily copy that to Excel? Let’s say you have a Word document with some bullet points, like this:

  • Vendor A: 5,000
  • Vendor X: 9,900
  • Vendor D: 10,000
  • Vendor Z: 3,500

To copy and keep the desired formatting for easier manipulation, follow these steps:

  1. Copy the data from your Word document
  2. Paste the data in a blank Excel spreadsheet (say starting from cell |A1|)
  3. Select column A
  4. Click on the Data menu on the ribbon
  5. Click on Text to Columns button
  6. In the Convert Text to Columns Wizard — Step 1, select “Delimited”
  7. In Step 2, check the “Other” box and enter |:| (colon) as the delimiter.
  8. Hit Next/Finish and complete the wizard

Here’s how it looks: The text will be separated by your delimiter and data will be in separate columns

17 Add Double Quotes (or other characters) in Excel Formulas

Suppose you have some text in a few columns. You want to join or concatenate these columns, but one of the column needs to be surrounded by double quotes. What to do in such as case?

So, let's say column A has first names, column B middle initials, and column C last names. You want the middle initials be surrounded by double quotes. You could escape the quotes by surrounding them with two more quotes. The formula will look like this:


It gets ugly soon. If you want to add spaces or any other characters, the formula becomes long and unreadable. A better option is using the CHAR formula. The CHAR formula shows a character for a code number. You can rely on ASCII tables to find out the character you want to concatenate. The ASCII number of 34 is a double quote character. (32 is a space). 

So, our new formula will look like this:


This doesn't have spaces though, so we will add a space using CHAR(32):


It will look like this:

Excel add double quotes to string concatenate formula

18 Count Unique Values From a Range

Often, you need to see a count of unique values in a range. While you can use other methods to delete any duplicate rows, a quick formula is sometimes all you need.

Let's say you have some text values in A1:A10 range. In this example, we have city names in this range. I repeated some cities for this example.

In another empty cell, in this case, in C1, we type this formula:


But instead of hitting the regular enter key, we use Command + Shift + Enter on a Mac or Control + Shift + Enter on Windows. By doing so, we create an array formula. You should see the number 7 as the result of this formula. 

excel count unique values in a range

19 Count Numbers That Fall in a Range

Suppose you have some numbers or values in a range, and you want to count how many of them fall within a certain range. How would you find that count?

There are two ways of doing so:

A fixed method

Let's say our data is in the range A1 to A15. We want to count how many rows have values that fall between 50 and 80. In an empty cell, as shown in the image below, we enter this formula:


excel count values between range countifs fixed range

But now if you want to count something different, you will have to edit the formula. A better approach is a dynamic formula.

A dynamic method

Let's say we store our from and to values in cells D2 and D3. Now, we can enter this formula to find values that fall between this range:


excel count values between range countifs dynamic range

Now, you can easily change the values in those cells and our count will get updated. For example, we changed the range to 10 and 40:

excel count values between range countifs dynamic range another example

20 Use Excel to Help Write SQL

I use Excel all the time to help me get things done quickly. It includes creating data and copying it to R, or creating a complicated SQL logic. Watch this short GIF to see how to create a CASE WHEN statement:

Write SQL quicker with Excel

21 Divide Values by a Number

If you want to divide many cells by a constant number, type in that constant in a cell. Copy that cell and select the range of cells you want to divide, right-click and hit Paste Special, and select Divide. As you can see in the Paste Special options, you can multiply, add, or subtract. But I find divide and multiply option helpful to convert numbers to percentages and vice versa.

How to divide cells by a constant number in Excel using paste special

22 Make Data Sideways or Vertical

In the Paste Special options, you will notice a Transpose option. This option will make your data vertical or horizontal. See the GIF below:

How to use Paste Special to Transpose cells in Excel

Take your Excel game to the next level with these books

Excel 2019 Bible
  • Alexander, Michael (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1120 Pages - 10/23/2018 (Publication Date) - Wiley (Publisher)
Excel 2016 Bible
  • Walkenbach, John (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1152 Pages - 10/26/2015 (Publication Date) - Wiley (Publisher)
Microsoft Excel Data Analysis and Business Modeling (Business Skills)
  • Winston, Wayne (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 864 Pages - 12/09/2016 (Publication Date) - Microsoft Press (Publisher)
Microsoft Excel 2016 Step by Step
  • Frye, Curtis (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 544 Pages - 10/08/2015 (Publication Date) - Microsoft Press (Publisher)
Excel 2016 Power Programming with VBA (Mr. Spreadsheet's Bookshelf)
  • Alexander, Michael (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 768 Pages - 02/08/2016 (Publication Date) - John Wiley & Sons (Publisher)
Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA
  • Walkenbach, John (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1104 Pages - 04/01/2013 (Publication Date) - Wiley (Publisher)
R for Excel Users: An Introduction to R for Excel Analysts
  • Taveras, John L (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 212 Pages - 08/08/2016 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

Last update on 2022-05-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API