7 Easy Excel Speed Tips That You Can Use Immediately
Try these Excel speed tips if you don’t already. They can make a huge difference in your speed in Excel — as much as 50% or more with #1 and #2 when you are working on multiple Excel files.
- Use multiple monitors. At least two 20”+ monitors, and ideally a third (which can be smaller). The first screen should be Excel, the third (smaller one) should be for monitoring email, and the second one should be for whatever other program you need (Excel, Word, PowerPoint, etc.). If your boss won’t buy one for you, consider buying your own (or bringing in an old one from home).
- Put each spreadsheet on a separate monitor when you’re working on multiple spreadsheets. This will save you a tremendous amount of time since you can just look/cut/copy/paste/edit back and forth between the files — without having to “unbury” them. This approach is easy with Excel 2013 and 2016 because each file automatically has its own window that you can drag onto its own monitor. (However with Excel 2010, the only way to do this is to have two different instances of Excel open simultaneously and put each instance on a different monitor. Unfortunately, I’ve found this tends to crash Excel, so I no longer do it. You could also manually resize/oversize the overall Excel window so it spans both monitors — then resize each Excel document window so it fits on its own monitor (e.g, go to View > Arrange All > Vertical after stretching Excel across two monitors). But when you’re moving between many files and numerous programs all day, this becomes inefficient as well).
- Increase the speed settings for your mouse so you can cover ground more quickly. This is a tradeoff because you will make other things more difficult (e.g., it will be harder to stop your pointer with precision when you are moving it fast). So you may or may not like this tip.
- Write/record macros for shortcuts and either use the keystroke shortcut for them or add an icon for them to your Quick Access Toolbar (note that one drawback of macros is that after running one you can’t use the Undo command). Read the first in a 3-part series on how to record and edit basic macros.
- Buy Excel add-ins that speed up certain tasks – e.g., RibbonX, Paste Buddy and other ExcelCampus add-ins, and others (note: some of these use VBA, which means you’ll lose the ability to Undo).
- Get a new keyboard that is better suited to your needs. See my Excel keyboard review for some advice.
- Use tactile bumps on your keyboard to help you find critical keys faster (without looking at the keyboard). These can be found on Amazon – e.g., Bump Dots. Just cut one out and stick it to the key.
Implement just one of these and you’ll get faster instantly.
What are your favorites — whether they are on here or not?