My Top 5 Time Savers in Excel

Jan 20, 2022 | Excel Hints and Tips

It’s often the little things that save the most time particularly if you are doing these things on a regular basis.  These may not be the most flashy of features but they are the biggest time savers for the things that I do all the time. 

Best Fit Columns 

Often when I enter data into Excel the columns are not the right width for the data I am using.  I could manually adjust each one separately but by selecting the whole spreadsheet I can best fit them all in one go. 

  1. Select the whole spreadsheet by clicking on the triangle at the top left of the sheet 
  2. Hover between any 2 column headings until the cursor becomes and double ended arrow and double click. 

All the columns will now be fitted to the data in one go. This method can also be used on the rows by hovering between the row numbers instead. 

Absolute Referencing 

When you are autofilling or copying a calculation you may need to fix a cell so it doesn’t move.  This is called absolute referencing.  It can save a lot of time by avoiding lots of manual intervention. 

  1. Click in the cell containing the calculation 
  2. Click in the part of the calculation that you need to fix 
  3. Hit the Function key F4.  This will put $’s in the cell reference e.g. $A$1 which fixes the cell 

Quick Sort 

As long as the data is stored in a table with no blank rows or columns and headings in the top row then quick sort is a cracker. 

  1. Click in the column you want to sort by 
  2. Click on the Data tab and the Sort ascending or Sort descending icons depending on which order you require 
Quick sort icons

NOTE: These work with text, numbers or dates. 

Format Painter 

If you have set up a format in a cell or range of cells then realise that you need to reuse that format elsewhere then the format painter is great. 

  1. Select the cell that has already been formatted 
  2. Click on the Format Painter icon 
Format Painter icon

3. Select the cell(s) you want to apply the format to 

NOTE:  If the format painter icon is double clicked it can be used repeatedly and when you are finished you click on the icon once to turn it off.

Copy and Paste 

Copy and paste avoids information having to be retyped but my real time saver here is using the keyboard shortcuts to perform the task. 

  1. Select the cell(s) to be copied 
  2. Press CTRL + C to copy 
  3. Select the cell(s) where you want the information to be repeated 
  4. Press CTRL + V to paste 

I hope that these favourites of mine are useful to you too.  

Further Reading

If you’ve enjoyed reading about my top 5 time savers in Microsoft Excel, there’s some other blogs below that you might find useful:

Want to learn more about Microsoft Excel? Then email to discuss how I can help or have a look at the Microsoft Excel Courses I run.