Publication Date: February 17, 2010
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Vancouver isn't the only place having unprecedented weather this winter. Just ask the people living around Washington DC. Even here in eastern Newfoundland, for the most part, we have had very little snow this winter compared to other years. However that may be about to change. For the third Friday in a row, we are facing a major snow storm. A 'snow day' on a Friday is a gift, but three Fridays in a row? What did we do to deserve this? (I'm only half joking.)
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This week's tips..
1) Formula Troubleshooting Trick (XL2000-XL2007)
2) Insert Line Breaks To Make Complex Formulas Easier To Read (XL2000-XL2007)
3) Group Or Ungroup Your Taskbar Buttons? (WinXP)
If you're having trouble displaying graphics in this email, I have posted an online HTML version of this week's newsletter here.
Last week's tips were...
1) Print Pages In Any Order You Want - Part 2 (XL2003/XL2007)
2) Inserting A New Sheet Should Be This Simple (XL2000-XL2007)
3) Getting Better Google Results
You can still find last week's newsletter here.
You can access even more tips on my website by going to my members' page.
Make sure you save a copy of your spreadsheet before trying these tips, just in
case you make an error or the procedure doesn't produce the results you want.
Formula Troubleshooting Trick (XL2000-XL2007)
How many times have you had long, complex formulas that didn't give you the answer you were looking for? Sometimes it can be difficult to determine where the problem is. Here's a neat trick that will help you determine which part of your formula is causing the problem.
2) In the Formula Bar, click and drag the 'I-beam' cursor to select part of the formula;
3) Press the F9 key. When you do this, only the selected portion of the formula is evaluated.
IMPORTANT! When you're done, remember to press the ESC key to get your original formula back. If you accidentally press Enter, your formula will now include the evaluated portion as a fixed value. If that happens Undo (CTRL+Z) it to get back your original formula.
Insert Line Breaks To Make Complex Formulas Easier To Read (XL2000-XL2007)
As you know, in Excel, you can get very creative with formulas and do things most users would never have thought possible. One of the drawbacks of complex formulas is that they are often difficult to understand - especially when you go back and look at them long after they were originally created.
Did you know you can make your complex formulas easier to read by breaking each section onto a separate line? Yes, you CAN insert line breaks in your formulas - just like you can insert line breaks in text in a cell.
Simply press ALT + ENTER as you are editing your formula to break the next section of the formula to the next line.
Not only does this make your formulas easier to read when you look back at them later but it also makes the process of creating your multi-step formulas much easier.
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When you have multiple windows open in the same application, by default, Windows XP will try to save space on the Taskbar by grouping these buttons. To switch to another window in the same application, you have to click the grouped button and choose from the list that pops up.
Some people find this grouping feature useful. Others, me included, prefer to work with separate buttons for each window.
If your buttons are currently grouped, try ungrouping them and see if you like it.
1) Right-click an empty area of the Taskbar and click Properties;
2) From the Taskbar tab clear the 'Group similar taskbar buttons' option;
3) Click OK.
At a glance you can see which windows you have open and also, when you are working between two windows (i.e. two Excel workbooks), you can quickly toggle back and forth using the familiar ALT+TAB keyboard shortcut.
If you work with many files open at the same time and find that the buttons on the Taskbar are too small to read the descriptions, you can adjust your Taskbar to show the buttons on two rows.
To do this, right-click a blank area of your Taskbar and, from the pop-up menu, make sure the 'Lock the Taskbar' option is not checked. Then, move your cursor to the top edge of the Taskbar until it changes to a two-headed vertical arrow. Now, slowly drag it up until the taskbar takes up two rows.
Let me know if you like Grouped or Ungrouped Taskbar buttons.
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