Tag Archives for " Microsoft Excel "

4 Reader Question: Calculate difference between two dates in Microsoft Excel

A reader contacted me recently with a deceptively simple Microsoft Excel question: “How do I calculate the difference between two dates?”

I say “deceptively simple” because the answer depends upon the context, namely, whether the two dates being compared are actually embedded in cells within the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.

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1 Summarizing Excel data with Pivot Tables

If you've ever been presented with an Excel spreadsheet with a gosh-awful number of rows and/or columns in it and assigned the task of making sense of all those numbers (grouping, summarizing, or making other calculations), you need to learn about Pivot Tables.

Okay, people, I hear yawning out there! Seriously, this is a good skill to have in your back pocket, even if you only work with Excel occasionally, because it saves so much time. So to motivate you properly, here's a fun little YouTube introduction to the whys behind Pivot Tables:

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27 Printing those monster Excel sheets

My friend Karen has issues.  No, I'm not talking about those kinds of issues.  She's got issues with Microsoft Excel.

Every time her boss gives her one of those monster Microsoft Excel spreadsheets (the kind that span 10 pages across and have 20,000 rows of data) and says, "Print this," she panics.  And then she comes to my desk and begs me to print it for her.

I can't say I blame her.  Unless you've worked with Microsoft Excel a fair bit, the prospect of formatting something that large for printing is pretty daunting.  (I always felt the same way about Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS back in its heyday.  Yes, I am that old.)

I promised her I'd break this process down for her so, in case I'm on vacation one day when she really, really needs something printed now, she'll know how to do it herself.

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7 Creating a custom timeline in Excel

Recently, a fellow reader, Jessica from Miami, asked if I would help her figure out a way to create an event timeline in a format her boss is partial to:

Example of a timeline created in Microsoft Excel

She tried to find templates online, but nothing really seemed geared to a legal context.

I tried solving this problem in Word, but no real luck.  So, since Jessica was pretty comfortable with Excel, I developed a template for her there.

Changing the orientation of text within cells (vertical, horizontal, or diagonal, as in the example above) is actually pretty easy. Here, I'll show you:

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58 How to put multiple lines into cells in Microsoft Excel

If you use Microsoft Excel to organize data (say, a timeline or a list of documents being produced), you may have run into the problem of having more text than will fit into a normal cell.  You need to either wrap text like a paragraph or insert line breaks in the middle of the Excel cell, because otherwise the text just breaks out of the borders of the cell and keeps on going:

Text in an Excel cell not wrapped

And if that's not annoying enough, if you have to type something into the cell to the right, then you've just cut off the last part of that other cell:

Text in an Excel cell that's not wrapped and is cut off

What you want to be able to do is either (a) have the information in the first cell wrap text in Excel like a paragraph so it appears on multiple lines within that cell or (b) insert a line break like you would in a word processor.  

Right?

Here's how you do each:

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