10 Time-Saving Excel Tips

We’ve helped more than 10,000 business professionals save time in Microsoft Excel.

In our classes, we show tools and tricks that can shave hours off your workday.

What are those time-saving Excel tricks?

Excel has many powerful features, but here are 10 tools that will help most Excel users.

1. Text-to-Column

When data is arranged in a single column, but would be better separated, use this feature to split the text based on a common character. This feature will save you time and potential errors from moving the data manually. Here is an example of how Text-to-Column can quickly separate data:

text-to-columns time-saving excel tool

Click here for a tutorial on how to use Text-to-Column.

2. Flash Fill

When data is separated in a manner that does not reflect the pattern you want, use Flash Fill to set a pattern in one cell, and it will repeat in the entire data range. Need to make a change later on? When you update the original pattern, the entire range also updates.

Here’s an example of how Flash Fill can be used:

Flash Fill time-saving excel tool

Click here for a tutorial showing how to use Flash Fill.

3. Macros for Automation

Tired of making the same edits and data changes to your spreadsheets? Let Excel do the work. Record the steps of the process you’d like to automate, then “play” them back on the next file that needs work.

Click here for a tutorial on how to use Macros.

4. Sorting

Sorting helps you quickly organize your data and makes it easier to find information. The most common way to sort data is alphabetically or numerically, but there are additional sorting options in Excel. The options to sort on formatting and conditions are another great feature. You may also sort left to right which helps prepare data for export into another system.

Click here for a tutorial about sorting in Excel.

5. Filtering

Filtering can help you find data quickly. It can also help you exclude data that you don’t need. You can filter based on number, text, color, etc.

Click here for a tutorial on how to filter in Excel.

6. Pivot Tables

When data is too complex to summarize using basic excel tools, use a Pivot Table to take that multidimensional data and make it compact and easy to use in charts. Data is also easier to analyze using the tools built in to Pivot data.

Click here to learn about Pivot Tables.

7. IF Function

The IF function gives you the ability to test and commit an action based on the value of the data. This formula can be layered to test for multiple situations and allow for maximum productivity.

In the example below from Microsoft, the IF Function is used to show if spending is over budget.

IF Function time-saving excel tool

Click here to learn to use the IF Function and to see more examples.

8. VLOOKUP Function

This function will evaluate and return data from another location. VLOOKUP is helpful if you need to find specific information from a large selection of data. You can also use it to create a form that will be easy to fill out. Let Excel do the work of looking up the details which are then auto-populated into the Excel spreadsheet.

Click here for a tutorial on how to use the VLOOKUP Function.

9. Use Chart Data from Excel in other Office Applications

If your data is already in Excel, you can use the data in other Office applications. You can link the data between the programs so that when the data changes, then the chart will update.

Click here for a tutorial about using chart data from Excel in other Office applications.

10. Keyboard Shortcuts

Rather than clicking on toolbars or file menus, use keyboard shortcuts to work faster in Excel. Excel has tons of keyboard shortcuts, and we’ve put them all into a printable reference sheet for you.

Click here to access the printable Excel keyboard shortcuts reference sheet.


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