Excel has dozens of tools to make the editing process as easy as possible for the user. Understanding and taking advantage of Excel's tools is a major time saver in preparing your data. Learn about the various tools Excel offers with the following articles.

Tips, Tricks, and Answers

The following articles are available for the 'Tools' topic. Click the article''s title (shown in bold) to see the associated article.

   Adding and Using a Combo Box
Combo boxes can be a great way of getting user input in a worksheet. Here's how to add a combo box to your worksheet and put it to use.

   Adding Buttons to Your Worksheet
You can easily add a button to your worksheet that will allow you to run various macros. This tip shows how easy it is.

   AutoFilling from a Custom List
AutoFill can be a real timesaver if you often work with set lists of data. You can define your own custom lists and then use them over and over again, as described here.

   Comparing Lists for Duplicates
Do you have two worksheets on which you need to see if there is duplicate information? Here is a couple of quick ways to figure out the duplications.

   Creating Dependent Drop-Lists
Drop-down lists are handy in an Excel worksheet, and you they can be even more handy if a selection in one drop-down lists controls the options presented in another drop-down list. This tip explains how you can use data validation to create these special dependent lists.

   Deleting a View
When you no longer need a view, you can get rid of it by deleting it. Deleting unnecessary views is a good idea because it decreases the complexity of your worksheets. This tip explains how to get rid of unwanted views.

   Embedding an Excel Chart in a Word Document
As components of the Microsoft Office suite, one would expect Excel and Word to work together. One of the most common tasks between the two is to embed a chart in a document. It is relatively easy to do, using the editing techniques you already know about.

   Evaluating Formulas
Need a bit of help in figuring out how Excel is evaluating a particular formula? It's easy to figure out if you use the Evaluate Formula tool.

   Goal Seeking
Excel provides a great tool that is helpful in figuring out what certain variables should be in your formulas. This tip provides an example to illustrate how to use goal seeking.

   Hiding Outline Symbols
Outline symbols are automatically displayed by Excel when you add subtotals or organize your data using an outline. If you don't want those symbols to appear, you can configure Excel as described in this tip.

   Inserting a Sound File in Your Worksheet
Some worksheets are better understood through the spoken word or with musical accompaniment. Sound files can be easily inserted into a worksheet, providing a multimedia experience for all who use it.

   Inserting a Voice Annotation in Your Worksheet
Excel can, once in a while, try to be a "multimedia program." Here's how you can add short sound files to your worksheet that can act as annotations.

   Making Revisions
You've turned on Highlight Changes, but how do you know what has been changed? This tip explains how Excel displays those changes.

   Resolving Revisions
You've reviewed the changes that were made to your workbook using the Highlight Changes tool. Now you need to remove the revision marks. Here's how to do this.

   Searching a Workbook by Default
When you display the Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box, you'll notice that any search, by default, will be on the current worksheet. If you want Excel to default to searching the entire workbook, you'll need to resort to a macro to accomplish the task.

   Searching a Workbook by Default, Take Two
How to create a macro that will display the correct Find and Replace box to set searching parameters.

   Speaking the Contents of Cells
Excel 2003 includes speech synthesis abilities that can "speak" your data to you as you enter it. This tip describes how to turn this feature on and off.

   Turning Off Speech Capabilities
Excel can talk to you, reading back whatever you enter into a cell. If you want to turn this capability off, you'll want to note the ideas in this tip.

   Turning Off Track Changes without Unsharing
The Track Changes tool in Excel can be helpful, but it can also be aggravating because it doesn't allow you to use it on a shared workbook. This tip examines the precise interaction between Track Changes and workbook sharing.

   Understanding Outlining
Outlining, a feature built into Excel, can be a great way to help organize large amounts of data. This tip provides an overview to the feature, focusing on different ways you can create your outline.

   Understanding Views
Need to display your worksheet in different ways? A quick way to do this is to create views, as described in this tip.

   Undoing Smart Tag Exclusions
Depending on who you ask, Smart Tags can be really cool or really distracting. If you fall on the "cool" side, you may make a mistake and exclude a Smart Tag that you later want to reinstate. Here's how to do it.

   Using Check Boxes
Check boxes, just like those used in Windows dialog boxes, can be a great addition to a worksheet. Here's how to add them and configure them for your use.

   Using Data Forms
Lots of people prefer to enter information directly into Excel, but there is another way that may be helpful: Using data forms. This tip introduces data forms, explains how to display them, and shows how easy it is to use them for editing your data.

   Using List Box Controls
List boxes can be a great tool for getting input from users of your worksheets. This tip describes what list boxes are and how you go about using them.

   Using Revision Tracking
Want to keep track of the changes other people make to your workbook or even your own changes? Excel makes gathering this information easy. Here's how to use the handy Revision Tracking feature.

   Using Stored Views
After creating different views of your worksheet data, you can display those views by simply selecting which one you want to see. This tip explains how this works.

   Watching Cell Values
Want to know what is happening in certain cells in your worksheet? Using the Watch Window is a great way to keep an eye on specific targets.

This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.


FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.

Links and Sharing