TechTalk by Rekah
In case you haven’t heard, spreadsheets aren’t only for accountants anymore. Nowadays, you can save time and energy by using them for just about anything—from organizing your to-do list to scheduling travel to filling out expense reports to planning events. If Google Sheets is your go-to application over Excel (which it probably is if you aren’t doing anything too fancy), these tips will supercharge your skills to make getting your work done even faster and easier, no matter what role you’re in.
Make Your Sheets Neater and Easier to Read
Some of the latest updates to Google Sheets allow you to make your data look cleaner and neater. For example, they let you split text—like a name and address that’s all together in one cell—into separate cells, remove duplicate cells so you aren’t counting data twice, or trim white space to get rid of unneeded spaces between words. I’ve already taken advantage of these new menu options to clean up longer text from people’s replies to some customer surveys I’ve sent out so that the info is easier to read and compare.
Add Images to Get Your Company Branding on There (Branding Is Everything)
If you’re creating spreadsheets to share with clients or customers (and want them to look extra nice), Google Sheets recently made adding an image—like your company logo—more straightforward. And you can have the image fit within one cell or cover several so the pic will fit perfectly and look fabulous, too.
Visually Show Data With Charts
For data-heavy spreadsheets, you can make your results simpler to read and understand with charts. Google Sheets has you covered with almost 20 types of charts to choose from. So, for instance, you can create a line graph to show off this month’s sales results or put together a timeline to lay out the schedule for a project you’re working on with a team.
Sync Up Your Docs for Easy Updating
Let’s say you want to create a Google Slides presentation or Google Docs one-sheeter summarizing some of the data in your spreadsheet. If you link a chart or table in those places to your Google spreadsheet, when you change anything in Sheets, it will immediately be updated in Slides or Docs, saving you from having to copy and paste new data or create an entirely new graph. So convenient, right?!
Display Numbers in the Way That Makes Sense for You
I’m a big fan of the Google Sheets feature for adding custom formatting to numbers, dates, and currencies. It’s super simple, but it basically allows you to choose what format numbers are displayed in. For example, you could have a date be displayed as 7/22/2019 or July 22, 2019 or 7/22—whichever option you prefer. To access this, all you have to do is select the cell or row or column of cells you want to change and click the “123” icon at the top of your document (or choose Format > Number).
Use Conditional Formatting to Mark Key Data Points
Conditional formatting should be your go-to tool for highlighting certain trends and patterns in your data. This function automatically changes the text size, text color, or background color of a cell when it matches a condition you set. For example, you can have increases in user traffic to your site automatically highlighted in green and decreases in red so everyone can quickly see what’s going on without having to think about the numbers themselves.
Limit a User’s Access
You’ve probably shared a Google Sheet before, but did you know that you can stop or limit sharing with certain individuals, even giving them a time frame as to when they have access to the spreadsheet? This is perfect for when you’re collaborating on a project with someone outside your organization or when you’re sharing sensitive information that you don’t want the person to be able to look at indefinitely.
Use a Filter to Get Through Long Sheets of Data
One of my favorite ways to manage a spreadsheet with loads of data is to use the filter view, which lets you see only the data you need for any specific purpose. This can be super helpful when, for example, you’re looking at the company budget and want to see only the numbers for your own team. It’s so much simpler than combing through all those rows and columns, and lets you focus on the information you need without actually changing the shared spreadsheet (which could annoy your colleagues in other departments).
Thanks As Always, Rekah.
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