Excel Tips, Tricks, Cheats & Hacks – Microsoft MVP Edition

I was recently asked, What is my most recommended Excel Tip?

My quick response was to regularly press Ctrl+S, Yes simply Save.

I have been caught out a number of times developing large excel systems where I haven’t saved data and after 2 or 3 hours of work I have lost that work when Excel or the Computer has crashed etc.

Close behind Ctrl+S is setting up the printer and page size as early in a project as you can.

But this got me thinking what would other Microsoft MVP’s Excel suggestions be ?

So I shot off an email to all the other Microsoft Excel MVP’s asking for their favorite Excel Tip, Trick, Cheat, VBA Code, Excel Formula or Function, Algorithm or Hack.

This post will now present these in the order they were received.


001. Assign Sequential Numbers – Bob Umlas

There are many ways to assign successive numbers using VBA, but I believe this one is the quickest.

If I know I have a range, referenced by the object variable Rg, for example, I could assign successive numbers parallel to that range by this statement:
Rg.Offset(, 1).Value = [row(1:10000)]
If Rg is 10 rows long, this will assign the values 1-10 (not 1-10000).

001 Sequential Numbers

Tip contributed by: Bob Umlas
Website: This isn’t Excel it’s Magic!


002. Format This Object – Jon Peltier

With any object selected, be it a Cell, Range, Worksheet, Chart, Chart Component, Text Box or other shape, Hyper Link, anything, Select the Object and press Ctrl+1. The Format Properties Dialog will be shown.


Tip contributed by: Jon Peltier
Website: http://peltiertech.com


003. Stop Cell Change by Color – Rick Rothstein

Rick has provided a piece of VBA Code that stops a user entering data into a Yellow colored cell.

It is event code, so all of it should be placed in a sheet module (right click the sheet’s name tab, select “View Code” and copy/paste it into the code window that opens up… remember to save the sheet as an “Excel Macro-Enabled Workbook” if using XL2007 or above).

What the code does is, without having to protect the sheet, prevent a user from selecting any cell that has been manually colored yellow (you can, of course, change the color as desired). If the user attempts to select such a cell, the previously active cell will become re-selected. While the code works with yellow-filled cells, the If condition can be changed to test for any cell property (for example, bold text) or set of cell properties (red, underlined text) and it will work just as well.

Here is the code…

003. Stop Cell Change by Color_Code_2

Tip contributed by: Rick Rothstein
Website: http://www.excelfox.com/forum/f22/

004. Double Click Copy – Bill Jelen

Double click the fill handle to quickly copy a formula to the bottom of the adjacent data set.

004 Douible click

This is the Mouse Version of Copy Down as presented in Point 013 below.

Tip contributed by: Bill Jelen
Website: MrExcel.com


005. VBA Code Check – Felipe Costa Gualberto

It is widely known that you should use Option Explicit in the declaration section of all components, and I agree with that.

The tip I give needs Option Explicit in the declaration section:

You should often compile your project. Use the Alt+D and press Enter to ensure your code is correct and you’ll have no surprises while running your macro. A VBA project that doesn’t compile is a bad project.

When you request to compile the code, VBE passes through all your code, checking if there aren’t undeclared variables, missing references, bad syntax, etc.

I’m heavily addicted compiling my code and I do it every minute when developing an Excel Application.

Take advantage the fact that compiling speed in VBA is blazing fast!

Tip contributed by: Felipe Costa Gualberto
Website: http://www.ambienteoffice.com.br


006. Name Manager – Henk Vlootman

For me the Name box and the Name manager prove to be of priceless value.

Since I only work with ranges. I use the Name functionality as the place where I control my ranges.

If I have a complex model I can use the name box to down-drill my output by my formulas until I arrive at the input. Without this functionality maintaining Excel models proofs to be very difficult.

Tip contributed by: Henk Vlootman
Website: Vlootman.nl


007. Show Pivot tables in Classical Form – Mynda Treacy

If you find yourself regularly editing the PivotTable options to get the Classic PivotTable Layout back, you know the useful layout where the row labels aren’t nested, then you might like to add the ‘Show in Tabular Form’ icon to your Quick Access Toolbar.

To do this Right Click on the Quick Access Toolbar and select Customize Quick Access Toolbar

007 Show in Tabular Form














The Show in Tabular Form Icon in the QAT

007 Show in Tabular Form-2

And while you’re there you’ll probably want to add the ‘Do Not Show Subtotals’ icon too

Tip contributed by: Mynda Treacy
Web site: http://www.myonlinetraininghub.com/blog


008. Easily add a Table of Contents to a File – Jan Karel Pieterse

The lowest level of documentation I add to a spreadsheet model is a table of content.

With many sheets in a workbook, this can be a tedious chore however. Lets have some tips around this.

1. Getting the list of sheets.
– Open the VBA editor (alt+F11):
– open the immediate pane (control+g or View, Immediate pane)
– Paste this line of code and hit enter:

For Each s in Worksheets: Debug.Print s.Name: Next

– Hold down the shift key and press arrow up until you’ve selected all sheetnames:
– control+c
– Go to your Excel TOC worksheet and press control+v:

2. Create hyperlinks to the worksheets

Enter this formula in cell B2:
Note the hash, it ensures the link actually works! The single quote is there in case your worksheet
name has special characters like spaces.
– Drag the formula down (double-click the fill handle)
– Format the linked cells (hit control+1) like so:
o A fat black line along the right-hand side and the bottom:
o An equally fat grey line along the left-hand side and the top:
o A darker grey fill:
o Change the Font to black, increase the font size, make it Bold and white and remove the underline:
o Which makes your links look like this:

I have created a small utility that automates the process of updating the table of content: Download Link

Tip contributed by: Jan Karel Pieterse
Website: http://www.jkp-ads.com/


009. Jump to the last cell of a contiguous range – Mike Alexander

Did you know you can quickly jump to the last cell in a column or a row with a simple double-click of the mouse?





Caution: Be careful of blank cells. If you have a blank cell in the column or row, the cursor will jump to the last cell before the blank cell.

“There are two types of Excel users – Keyboard people and Mouse people. 
I’m a mouse person.  I hate taking my hand off the mouse.  If there is away I can doe something with the mouse, I’ll find it.
That why I love this tip so much. 
Hot Keys are for nerds.”
Mike Alexander


Tip contributed by: Mike Alexander
Website: http://www.datapigtechnologies.com/


010. Jump to a Filter’s search box – Jon Acampora

Alt+Down Arrow, E will jump the mouse cursor to the search box in the filter drop-down menus.


Tip contributed by: Jon Acampora


011. Use Ctrl+Enter – Tom Ogilvy

My favorite tip is to use Ctrl+Enter rather than Enter to fill any selection of contiguous or non-contiguous cells with whatever is in the active cell of the selection.

This can be a formula such as to generate random data to using in testing.

For example if I need integer data in  C2:C10; E2:G10 then I select that range, go to the formula bar and enter  =Trunc(rand()*100+1)  and complete with Ctrl+Enter. If I want to fix those numbers, I can then select the rectangular area doing a copy and then Paste Values.

A second tip using this technique is to build a pivot table to produce a subset of my data. Then do a copy and paste values to leave the values and removed the pivot table.  Select the area of row fields which will have many blank values. Do F5 (goto) and choose special, then blanks. This will select all the blank fields that need to be filled in.  Look at the active cell of the selection. Say it is B4. We can see that we want to fill each blank with the next value directly above it.  Go to the formula bar and type in =B3 which refers to the non-blank cell above B4, then use Ctrl+Enter. Your data base is completed but we need to remove the formulas.  Select all the row field area; do copy and then paste values to remove the formulas and replace them with the values they produce.

Tip contributed by: Tom Ogilvy
Website: http://www.allexperts.com/ep/1059-2697/Excel/Tom-Ogilvy.htm


012. Keep Dummy Data nearby – Oz du Soleil

Because my work involves testing and building examples, I use lots of random data.
1.  In Dropbox, I keep a pinned workbook called “Random Names and Cities”
Having it pinned and stored in Dropbox allows me to access that file wherever I’m at.
pinned items


2.  The workbook has thousands of bits of data including cocktail names, colors, fish names, professional designations, cities, etc.
One sheet has a name-randomizing section where I can hit F9 and get more names.
Thus, if I need a few rows of random data, or thousands, I can create them myself.
pinned names workbook

Tip contributed by: Oz du Soleil
Website: DataScopic.net


013. Copy Down / Copy Right – Zack Barresse

You can Copy Down or Copy Right using CTRL+D, CTRL+R (Fill Down, Right)

Copy Down

014 Ctrl+D

Copy Right

014 Ctrl+R

This is the Keyboard Version of Double Click Copy as presented in Point 004 above.

Tip contributed by: Zack Barresse
Website: http://exceltables.com/


014. Learn to use Google Search – Ian Huitson

I have answered nearly 10,000 posts at the http://forum.chandoo.org/ and one thing I have found is that it is very rare to get asked questions that haven’t been answered before, very rare.

Learn to use Google Search and some common websites like http://chandoo.org/wp/ and the other websites shown by the authors above. These websites all have search boxes which search the local website.

These websites have a wealth of Excel history, with worked and solved examples in posts and forums

Sometime the example might be of a mine feasibility study where you are after data on DNA Sequencing, but the solution to the data manipulation maybe very similar, so learn to think laterally about your problem and you’ll be amazed at the solutions that can be found

Tip contributed by: Ian Huitson “Hui”
Website: http://chandoo.org/wp/about-hui/


015. Trim with any delimiter – Rick Rothstein

Excel’s TRIM function is neat in that it collapses all multiple internal contiguous space characters down to a single space…

Did you ever wish there was a simple way to do that for any delimiter other than a space?

Here is a function that will do it for you…


This function must be saved in a Code Module, not a Worksheet Module

The first argument is the text you want to parse. The second argument is the delimiter (which can be one or more characters long). The third argument, which is optional, let’s you specify whether you want to keep or delete any leading or trailing delimiters which may end up in the result (Excel’s TRIM function automatically deletes leading and trailing spaces, but I decided to let it be an option). The default is False which means leading and trailing delimiters will be deleted. So, let’s say you had a concatenation function of some sort which produced the following output…

If in Cell A1 you had: one, , , two, three, , , , , , , four, , ,_

Note there is a trailing space at the end of the above text string. Passing this text into the Reduce function, and specifying “, ” (comma space) as the delimiter, would result in the following text being returned from the function…

Using the function: =Reduce(A1, “, ” ) or =Reduce(A1, “, “, False )

Excel will return: one, two, three, four

Note: For those of you who may be wondering about those numbers in the Array function call, here is a link to the thread where they originally came from…

https://groups.google.com/ forum/#!topic/microsoft. public.vb.general.discussion/ TqZHK9cPnpU

Tip contributed by: Rick Rothstein
Website: http://www.excelfox.com/forum/f22/


016. The Bad Find Example – Stephen Gersuk

Dating back to as early as 2002, VBA Help has contained an awful example of how to use the Find method. It continued until as recently as Excel 2010.


On the merely bad side, you should explicitly set LookIn, LookAt, SearchOrder (if you care), and MatchByte arguments in the initial invocation of the Find method, as all persist each time Find is invoked via VBA or Find is invoked from the user interface. (MatchCase and SearchFormat persist from invocation to invocation in the UI, but not in VBA; both default to False).

But this line,


… should NEVER be used, because

  1. If c Is Nothing, then c.Address will give a run-time error; and
  2. If c.Address doesn’t error, then c Is Nothing must be False.

You might think that VBA would stop evaluating the expression if “c Is Nothing“, but it doesn’t; VBA always evaluates all arguments to a logical expression.
What to do instead?

That depends on what else the loop does.

If it causes the values to eventually not be found (e.g., because you are changing the values, or hiding the rows in which they appear), then the c is Nothing test is what you need. If the same values will be found forever (e.g., because you are changing some other cell in the same row where the value is found), then c.Address <> firstAddress is golden.

The one-size-fits-all solution is to just do both:


Tip contributed by: Stephen Gersuk
Website: http://www.stephensexcel.info/



Many many thanks to the Microsoft Excel MVPs who contributed above.

I hope you get to to revue all the tips and pass comments and appreciation back to the authors as appropriate.

Next week the Excel Tips, Tricks, Cheats & Hacks theme will continue with the Excel Tips, Tricks, Cheats & Hacks – Chandoo.org Excel Ninja Edition, so keep an eye out for that.

If you have any Excel Tips, Tricks, Cheats & Hacks that you would like to share with the community, please leave  a tip in the comments below.



Hello Awesome...

My name is Chandoo. Thanks for dropping by. My mission is to make you awesome in Excel & your work. I live in Wellington, New Zealand. When I am not F9ing my formulas, I cycle, cook or play lego with my kids. Know more about me.

I hope you enjoyed this article. Visit Excel for Beginner or Advanced Excel pages to learn more or join my online video class to master Excel.

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18 Responses to “Excel Tips, Tricks, Cheats & Hacks – Microsoft MVP Edition”

  1. milang says:

    002 should be "Ctrl+1"?

    • Bart Vyvey says:

      I actually tried it and it turns out to be Ctrl+Shift+1.
      Big remark here is the fact that I work with an Azerty keyboard.
      I have a feeling this has something to do with it.

    • Hui... says:

      Thanx Milang

      I don't know how that got past my Proof reader
      I have updated the post


  2. Desk Lamp says:

    Instead of typing in dollar signs ($) to freeze cell references - which is fiddly, slow and annoying - click on the cell reference in the formula bar and press F4 to toggle through the various combinations. e.g. A1, $A$1, $A1, A$1

    It's a very simple trick but it's saved me countless hours of time.

  3. Brigitte says:

    #003. I get a compile error on the Private Sub Worksheet_SelectionChange(ByVal Target As Range) line. I copied and pasted right to the sheet code (not the module code). What am I doing wrong?

  4. Peter Carr says:

    My favourite tip is the CurrentRegion of a range.
    CurrentRegion is the contiguous range of cells starting from a cell, and moving out in all directions until an entire blank row or column is reached.
    From the keyboard you can do this by pressing Ctrl-*, which is a shortcut for GoTo, Special, Current Region.
    In VBA you can use CurrentRegion to identify the number of rows in a contiguous region.
    intNumberOfRows = Range"FirstCell").CurrentRegion.Rows.Count

  5. Cathy says:

    Thanks for the tips.
    My favorite is #14 - trick is knowing the right search term. Often I know what I want, but not what it's called.

  6. MF says:

    If you wish to stay on the active cell after pressing Enter..., Ctrl+Enter does the trick.

  7. Khalid NGO says:

    Great Stuff from Great People,

    Specially liked the trick 009 (Mike Alexander).

  8. Jonathan Cooper says:

    Ctrl+w to close a file.

    btw, kudos to Jon Acampora on #010. I've been doing alt+downarrow and then hitting the downarrow until I got to the search box.......almost wore out the down arrow key

  9. Susan M says:

    Tips 2 and 9 are new and useful for me - thanks very much!

  10. John Lake says:

    While testing out #009, I found that if you double-click the fill handle on the lower right corner of a cell it will copy that cell's data down (as long as there are cells with data to the left). Great list!

  11. Sherwood Lemoine says:

    DATE 12/07/18
    REF: Pivot Table drill down hyperlinks do not work.

    1. Would you please send me your recommended solution to the above referenced drill down hyperlink problem. I read numerous fixes on google but you appear to be the expert on this problem, so I wanted to get your recommendation. I would prefer a non macro or VBS fix first such as a formula.

    2. I used this formula to fix the hyperlink problem on the data table, but it does not fix the drill down hyperlink problem. THE CELL H2 FORMULA IS: =HYPERLINK(G2,"PICTURE") WHERE G2 IS THE LINK TO THE PICTURE C:\SJL-APPS\FIMS\PRG\LIVING-ROOM-CLOCK.JPG

    3. I am using excel 2016, sheet=DATA, to list my home inventory. Rows are as follows: CAT(A),LOC(B),PICNO(C),ITEM(D),COST(E),LIFE(F),LINK(G),PICTURE(H)

    Thank you, Sherwood Lemoine
    Text messages at 225-937-8623

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