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Additional Excel Tips

Work in Progress:

Additional Tips


Formatting Cells

 Paste Special

Once you get a format of a paragraph you like, you can copy it to other cells to start new paragraphs. You can also apply the format from one cell onto another cell using the command:  

Edit => Paste Special => check "Formats"


To start a new line of text within a cell at a specific point, click in the formula bar (or cell, if editing in the cell) where you want to break the line, and then press ALT+ENTER.


Spell checking is easy, just us commands: Tools => Spelling


The Format => Cell command provides many options and can be impended on a range of cells at once

  • Changing the number of significant digits: selecting the “Number” tab and “Number” on the list allows one to set the number of decimal places



  • Percentages: selecting the  “Number” tab and “Percentage” on the list displays a fraction as a percent



Column Width


The column width can be changed by the commands: Format => Column => Width

Alternatively one can adjust the column width with the mouse by dragging the column line on the top row


If you see ###### in a cell, it means that the column is not wide enough to display the numeric contents; increase the column width.


Paste Special

The Edit => Past Special is a very useful command for copying cells within a spreadsheet


The following window will appear



  • selecting values will copy only the numeric values displayed without the underlying equations
  • selecting format will copy the format of a cell into other cells, but without changing the values in those cells
  • selecting transpose will transpose a column to a row or vice versa


What-if Analysis


There are many advance analytical tools in spreadsheets, but “what-if analysis” deserves a special mention. Using this approach, one can see what happens when one changes the value of a single cell in a spreadsheet over a range. The results of any other cell in the spreadsheet can be tracked.


See Excel help on “One-variable data tables” for an example and detailed instructions