Excel is a simple and handy way to keep data in an order so that it’s easy to find the information you need to make decisions. If you missed the first 3 basic tips, you can find them here.
Now we’ll take you through 2 more related tips to get more out of your Excel program.
Often, we’ll want to maintain our data in more than one order. For example, we want the original list to be sorted by last name but maintain a copy of the list in another order (eg. joining date, contribution amounts, RSVP status, etc.). In this case, I suggest copying the original spreadsheet into a new tab and then re-sorting the copy. In this way the original tab contains the list in alpha order, while the copy contains the same data sorted by contribution (or joining date in our example.
Copying the entire spreadsheet is a doddle. Go to your spreadsheet and select all by clicking the first grey cell. See below, circled in red. Now right click on your mouse or trackpad and select “Copy”.
On the bottom of your tab or spreadsheet, find the small “+” symbol and click on it (see below, circled in red at bottom). This will open a second tab or blank spreadsheet. Any new tabs you create will belong to the same file as the original, so will have the same file name. Later you can re-name each of the tabs so you can keep track of what makes them unique.
Re-naming your spreadsheets couldn’t be easier. Simply place your cursor on the tab you want to name (eg Sheet 1) and double click. Hit delete to erase the holding name (“Sheet 1”) and simply type the description of this version of the list. I recommend always keeping the first tab as the Master List. In that way, if you (or let’s face it, someone else. It’s always someone else…) makes a costly mistake erasing or irrevocably messing up the data, you’ll always have the master.
There are ways to protect the data so no one can change it, but that’s for a more advanced lesson. For now, let’s concentrate on choosing names that at a glance (ie without opening up each tab) will quickly show you what you need to know. Think of these as the spine of a book or what you’d put on the index tab in a paper filing system.
So if you need an updated version each month, I’d name the tabs by the month and year. Remember the filename itself will contain the overall subject matter (eg Club Z Members) so there’s no need to repeat that on each tab. Below is what our simple file now looks like with 2 sheets each named accordingly.
We’ll cover more time- and frustration-saving tips for using Excel in future posts, so be sure to subscribe below to not miss out. We always keep your data just between us.