Time Saving Data Entry Tips for Excel Users

A lot of people use Excel as a tool to maintain records. These could be companies maintaining financial records, stores maintaining sales records, teachers maintaining students scores, etc.


Excel has a lot of great features that makes data entry easy and fast.


In this article, I want to share some cool data entry tips that will help you get the work done faster.


Use Control + D to Fill the Cell Below


If you word involves entering data in a column, you can use this shortcut to copy the content from the cell above.


For example, if you are in cell A2, and you want to copy cell A1, instead of selecting A1, copying it, coming to A2 and pasting it, you can just use the shortcut Control + D.


This would copy the cells above the active cell and paste it in the active cell.


Use Drop Down Lists for Faster Data Entry


If you have to enter data from a fix set of entries, using drop down list in Excel can be a great time saver.


For example, if you have list of 5 items (let's say Item 1, Item 2, Item 3, Item 4, Item 5), and you have to fill a lot of cells with one of the items, instead of manually entering it, you can use the drop down list.

Once you have created the drop down list for the cells where you want this data entry, just click on the drop down icon and select the one you want to enter. This can save you a lot of time and it also makes sure that there are no manual entry errors.


Use Flash Fill


Flash Fill allows you to identify patterns and then complete the data entry for you.


This is an amazing tool when you want to quickly slice and dice your text data. For example, if you have a set of names (first name and last name) and you quickly want to get the First name for all these names, you can use Flash Fill and do this in a snap.


While this can be done manually or by using formulas, I find Flash Fill to be very fast and very accurate.


Autocomplete Using Tab


Excel assists you in data entry by identifying your activity so far and showing you the relevant options. For example, if you are entering data manually and you have to enter the name 'ABC limited' multiple times.


Once you have entered it in a cell, the next time you enter A, Excel will show you the full name 'ABC limited' and you can make that entry by hitting the tab key.


Excel tries to autocomplete the data entry for you based on the preexisting values in that column.


Enter Data in Multiple Cells Using Control + Enter


If you have to enter a value or a formula in many cells at once, you can use this technique.

For example, if you have to enter the same name in 10 cells:

  • Select all the 10 cells.
  • Enter the name in the active cell.
  • Press Control + Enter.

The name would be entered in all the cells.


You can also use this technique for entering formulas as well.


These are my top 5 data entry tips. There are many such tricks in Excel that can really help speed up the work and make you more productive.


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