10 essential Excel tricks and functions all students should know

Excel is a powerful tool that can help students organize and analyze data. However, Excel can also be confusing and overwhelming. To help you get the most out of Excel, we’ve compiled a list of 10 essential tricks and functions that all students should know.

1. Inserting a new column or row

To insert a new column, simply click on the column header where you want to insert the new column. Then, right-click and select “Insert Columns” from the drop-down menu.

To insert a new row, click on the row header where you want to insert the new row. Then, right-click and select “Insert Rows” from the drop-down menu.

2. Hiding columns or rows

If you have a large dataset and want to focus on a specific section, you can hide the other columns or rows. To hide a column, click on the column header and then right-click. From the drop-down menu, select “Hide”.

To hide a row, click on the row header and then right-click. From the drop-down menu, select “Hide”.

3. Freezing columns or rows

When you freeze columns or rows, they remain visible even when you scroll through the rest of the sheet. This is helpful if you have a large dataset and want to keep your headers visible at all times.

To freeze a column, click on the column header and then right-click. From the drop-down menu, select “Freeze Panes”. Then, select the option to freeze the “Left Columns”.

To freeze a row, click on the row header and then right-click. From the drop-down menu, select “Freeze Panes”. Then, select the option to freeze the “Top Row”.

4. Master the INDEX/MATCH function

The INDEX/MATCH function is one of the most powerful functions in Excel. It allows you to look up data in a table based on specific criteria.

To use the INDEX/MATCH function, enter the following into a cell: =INDEX(array, MATCH(lookup_value, lookup_array, match_type)).

Array is the range of cells that contains the data you want to look up. Lookup_value is the value you want to look up. Lookup_array is the range of cells that contains the lookup values. Match_type is optional and specifies how Excel should match lookup_value with values in lookup_array.

5. Sorting data

You can sort data in Excel by values, by alphabetical order, or by custom criteria. To sort data by values, click on the “Data” tab and then select “Sort”. From the Sort dialog box, you can choose to sort your data in ascending or descending order.

To sort data in alphabetical order, click on the “Data” tab and then select “Sort”. From the Sort dialog box, select the column you want to sort by and then choose “A to Z” or “Z to A” from the Order drop-down menu.

To sort data by custom criteria, click on the “Data” tab and then select “Sort”. From the Sort dialog box, click on the “Options” button. This will open the Custom Sort dialog box. From here, you can specify how you want to sort your data.

6. Filtering data

Filtering data allows you to focus on a specific subset of data. To filter data, click on the “Data” tab and then select “Filter”. This will insert drop-down menus into each of your headers. You can use these drop-down menus to filter your data by specific criteria.

7. Adding subtotals

Adding subtotals can help you quickly summarize large datasets. To add subtotals, click on the “Data” tab and then select “Subtotal”. From the Subtotal dialog box, you can specify which column you want to subtotal and how you want the subtotals to be calculated.

8. Creating a pivot table

Pivot tables are a powerful tool that allows you to summarize data and answer complex questions. To create a pivot table, click on the “Insert” tab and then select “Pivot Table”. From the Pivot Table dialog box, you can specify which data you want to include in your pivot table.

9. Using conditional formatting

Conditional formatting allows you to format cells based on specific criteria. For example, you could use conditional formatting to highlight all of the cells that contain a value greater than 100.

To use conditional formatting, click on the “Home” tab and then select “Conditional Formatting”. From the Conditional Formatting dialog box, you can specify the criteria for your formatting rules.

10. Creating charts and graphs

Charts and graphs are a great way to visualize data. To create a chart or graph, click on the “Insert” tab and then select the type of chart or graph you want to create. Excel will insert a blank chart or graph into your worksheet. You can then enter your data into the appropriate columns or rows.

Bonus tip: Use keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts can save you a lot of time when you’re working in Excel. For example, the shortcut for copying data is Ctrl + C. The shortcut for pasting data is Ctrl + V.

To see a complete list of Excel keyboard shortcuts, click on the “File” tab and then select “Options”. From the Options dialog box, select “Customize Ribbon”. Then, select “Keyboard Shortcuts” from the list on the right-hand side. This will open the Customize Keyboard dialog box. From here, you can view all of the available keyboard shortcuts.

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