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Doing Your Assignments in Excel How to Become a Better User of It

Nov 03, 2013 - Posted to  Writing in General
One of the most important software applications of all time, Excel can be found on most corporate computers. In addition to its near ubiquity, the program is also quite versatile. Experienced users are actually able to circumvent official software and write something that works for them. It is for this reason and many others that Excel is much more than a simple spreadsheet.
Yes, its primary purpose is to record and crunch massive amounts of data. This makes Excel a crucial tool for lining up numbers, for whatever reason. As you may have guessed, the program is indispensable in the business world. It is used for accounting, quantitative and statistical analysis, estimates and future forecasts. Because it has numerous, essential applications, Excel is one of the most important tools in the modern office.

Who needs it?

Although it a lot more complicated and sophisticated than it may seem, the software program is mostly used to organize and add up a lot of numbers in no time, which is extremely important in most major departments at the average company or corporation. Marking, sales, business development, and finance departments all rely on these activities to help them make major decisions on a daily basis.
Excel makes things easy on programmers, which is why it is often used for reporting and data interchange between businesses, customers, clients, and the public. These files can be delivered via email in the original format or in a PDF file for a more formal, reader-friendly version. Once again, simplicity and reliability is the key to the software's success. Just about anyone can learn to use Excel in a matter of hours, but few of them take advantage of its single greatest asset-it's tremendous versatility. With that in mind, let us take a moment to discuss a few simple tips that will help you do your job better and faster with Excel.

1. Create a PDF

Let's say your boss or professor wants you to create a report in PDF from an Excel file. There are several practical reasons that he/she might ask you to do this, including readability and the manipulation of information, which is possible with a standard Excel file but not with a PDF. Fortunately, the latest versions of the software give you the option of creating one during the regular printing process.
After you click file and print, click on the Microsoft Office Document Image Writer tab. This will allow you to create a PDF-like file that cannot be changed by the recipient, which is essential when dealing with contracts and other sensitive information that must remain unchanged for legal reasons. Now the document, assignment, or report can be sent without worry.

2. Import data from a webpage

If you are a student of economics, statistics, or even plain old business, there's a good chance you will be asked to write a paper that incorporates massive amounts of data for analysis. The quickest and easiest way to find this information is to go online. But once you've located the numbers you need, how do you copy them from a webpage and paste them into the body of your paper? And even if you can, will they make any sense?
The answer to the second question is no. If you simply cut and paste numbers from a webpage to a document on a word processing program, it will look a mess. What you must do is take these numbers and put them into a proper spreadsheet that will organize and calculate all inputs, making the data a breeze to read.
All you have to do to add data directly from a webpage onto a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet is to type in the web address where the numbers can be found, including the http://. Then simply click "open" and the entire webpage will be imported directly into the spreadsheet. You can then remove any superfluous information and copy and paste it into the original spreadsheet.

3. Filtering information

Subjects like statistics require that students examine huge amounts of information all at once. A generation or so ago, this was a task that might involve several sleepless nights. But with the help of Excel and the internet, it is now possible to locate the data you need in no time. Utilizing the previous tip, once the information has been imputed into your Excel spreadsheet, you can find exactly what you're looking for with the "auto filter" feature. This simple function gives you the ability to filer as many criteria as you choose from an active spreadsheet. In other words, it helps you find the proverbial needle in the haystack a whole lot faster.
How does it work? Begin by opening the file you want to gather data from, select a specific cell, and click on data, filter, AutoFilter. Drop down arrows will then appear for each column, which can then be used to determine specific criteria that comport with your query. You can utilize as many arrows as you like to narrow your search and locate the information you require in a trice.

4. Turning spreadsheets into webpages

We briefly discussed turning webpages into spreadsheets, but how do you go the other way? If you have information you would like to share with other students, teachers, or even with the general public, it's easy enough to post excel spreadsheets on your website or blog. This information can then be accessed by your readers, who can sort, filter, and calculate data directly on your website.
Begin by storing your Excel workbook on SkyDrive, an affordable file-hosting service. Once in the program, you can right-click on the workbook and click "embed" to save your data. Then you can decide how you would like your workbook to appear to others by clicking the "generate" button. The "what to show" box lets you present the entire workbook, or only a certain part of it, such as a graph or chart. Lastly, there is an interaction section that lets you determine how people will interact with your Excel workbook, including the filtering and sorting functions. If typing is permitted, these changes will not be saved in the original workbook, which makes for a fresh, new experience for each guest.
By Martha Buckly. Martha i a good writer with lots of information to share. She does not stop creating useful manuals for students of all levels.
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