Spreadsheets are the go-to work tool for anyone who needs to track data, analyze information and manage workflow. However, not all spreadsheets are created equal. Some are more useful than others, and some are just downright terrible. You probably have a few cringe-worthy examples tucked away in a folder on your computer. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to make your spreadsheets much more user-friendly and helpful. The best way to optimize your spreadsheet is by following these great spreadsheet tips to improve your work efficiency.
Make your spreadsheet responsive
If you work with a team, it’s likely you’ll need to share your spreadsheets. If the spreadsheet isn’t responsive, it can be pretty annoying for whoever has to try and open it. In some cases, it might not even be possible to open your spreadsheet if it’s not responsive. There are two ways you can make your spreadsheet more responsive. Firstly, you can use Google Sheets. This is Google’s version of a spreadsheet and is accessible on both desktop and mobile. If you use Microsoft Excel, you can also make your spreadsheets responsive. You can do this by converting the spreadsheet to a web page.
Use the correct data type
By choosing the correct data type, you can save yourself a lot of time down the road. For example, if you’re working with a long list of numbers, don’t use a text type. If you’re not sure what data type to use, there are a few ways you can figure it out. First, look at how your data is being used. If you aren’t sure, ask someone who has experience with your spreadsheet what data type to use. When you’re working with a large amount of data, such as a sales report, choosing the correct data type can save you hours at the end of the month when you’re doing your taxes. It can also save you from a lot of frustration.
Don't forget to add a column for date tracking
If you’re using your spreadsheet for a business, one of the most important columns to add is a date column. Alongside that, you’ll also need to include a column that tracks the date, date format, or date type. If you’re tracking sales data or finances, you’ll need to include these columns. For example, if you have a column dedicated to sales, you’ll want to include a column for the date the sale was made. This way, you can track sales over a period of time and see how your sales are trending.
Add a shortcut button for frequent functions
If you’re using a spreadsheet that requires lots of calculation, adding a shortcut button for your most-used functions can save you a lot of time and headaches. There are two ways you can add a shortcut function to your spreadsheet. Firstly, you can go to the function menu and click New Shortcut. Alternatively, you can click the keyboard shortcut for the function you want to turn into a shortcut (eg. Alt+F3 for SUM function.) Once you’ve clicked one of the options, a box will pop up asking you what you want to call the shortcut. Once you’ve given it a name, you’re done!
Only show relevant information
If you’re working on a budget spreadsheet, you probably don’t want to see the sales report from last month. The same goes for a business forecast spreadsheet. You probably don’t want to see a breakdown of your expenses and income for last year. Only show the information that is relevant to the spreadsheets you are working on. You can do this a few ways. Firstly, you can highlight the entire row by clicking on the row numbers. You can then click the drop-down menu where you see the “cut” option. You can also delete the row entirely if you don’t want it there at all.
Only use light colours and light backgrounds
You might have a spreadsheet that has important information, but you accidentally make the font colour red, yellow, or green. This is super helpful if you’re colour blind. In fact, approximately 3-4% of the population is colour blind and can’t distinguish between certain colours. If you’re working on a spreadsheet that isn’t crucial, you can use a light blue or light green for the font colour. For a spreadsheet that requires more attention, use a light red or light yellow. Even if you’re not colour blind, it’s still helpful to use light colours and light backgrounds. Darker colours are more intense, which can be distracting and make it more difficult to focus.
Only show rows that have data
When you first start working on a spreadsheet, you might have rows for each item in your budget or each income and expense in your forecast. It’s likely you’ve forgotten what some of those items are, and they’re just taking up space. If you want to clean up your spreadsheet, highlight all the rows without data. Then, right-click and select “Hide.” Once you’ve done this, those rows will disappear, but you can still access them if you need to.
Track your habits and add ease-of-use features over time
If you’re working on a budget spreadsheet, adding in columns for your habits can be extremely helpful. For example, if you’re trying to save money on your grocery bill, add a column for how much you spend each week on groceries. This way, you can track how much you’ve been spending and make sure you don’t go over budget. If you want to track your habits over time, you can add a column for the date and another for the amount spent. You could also add a column for how you were feeling that day. This way, you can see how your spending habits change over time. You can also track how your feelings impact your spending habits.
That concludes our list of great spreadsheet tips to improve your work efficiency. We hope these tips make your spreadsheet better and easier to use.