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8 of the most useful Excel functions your business should know

If you regularly use Microsoft Excel within your small to medium sized business, it’s always helpful to know if there are certain functions or shortcuts to know/learn that will help to increase your overall productivity and make you more efficient.

Don’t worry if you don’t know how to do everything in Excel as in our latest tips and tricks article, we will take you through 8 of the most useful Excel functions that will make your life much easier.

Ctrl Z/Ctrl Y

This is one of the most helpful functions in Excel! If you aren’t using Ctrl Z to undo your mistakes in Excel then you really should be. What most people are blissfully unaware of is that Ctrl Y serves the opposite purpose – redo. These two functions work well together and make it easier for you to cycle through iterations of your work until you have found what you are looking for.


Sound familiar? For most users this would have been one of the first functions that you learnt to use which would have helped you to sum a row or column. However, not many users would have known that you can select the cell at the end of a row or column and press Alt + to complete this function in seconds.

Add Multiple Rows

A common task within Excel is to be able to add new rows in between existing rows. The easy way of doing this (Ctrl, shift, +) is particularly useful as you can toggle the + so you can add multiple rows. An even quicker way of doing this is to highlight the number of rows you wish to add (say 10) and then right click, insert which will save you bags of time when you are looking to add rows in bulk.

CTRL + Arrows

If you are regularly finding yourself scrolling through a dataset in Excel to get to the bottom, you need to change this approach and start using the Ctrl + the arrow keys! By using this shortcut, you are able to get to the end of your dataset in a column or row much quicker.


There are two helpful ways that you can use the F4 button within Microsoft Excel. The first way is when you create an absolute reference: F4 toggles you through all the options available. The second way which not many users will know but will certainly help you to improve your efficiency when using Excel. F4 repeats your last action, when it can. An example of this is if you have added a border to a cell, you can then press F4 to apply it to the rest of them too.

Paste Special

The old favourite within Excel is the copy and paste function. Most of the time we carry over a format we don’t require or we copy a formula, when instead all we need is just a value.

This is where Paste Special can help as it allows you to choose which elements of the copied cell you bring over. When you have copied your cell (CTRL+C) press Ctrl+Alt+V (or go to the Clipboard section of your home ribbon in Excel) to bring up Paste Special and make your decision. Alt+E+S+V is the most efficient way of just pasting values.

Removing Duplicates

This is so easy and very quick to use. Removing duplicates does exactly what it says on the tin, it removes the duplicates contained within any given set of data in Excel. We would recommend that you remove the values that you would like to dedupe and put them into another sheet. In order to do this, go to the Data tab in the Data Tools section in the ribbon bar.

From here, if you just want to highlight duplicates, you are able to do this through the use of the Conditional Formatting function. To get here quickly, press Alt+H+L.

Freeze Panes

Have you ever been in the situation where you are scrolling through a huge dataset and are confused as to which columns are which? This is where Freeze Panes can help! You are able to freeze just the top row, first column or any number of either. Pick the columns and rows of the area you would like to freeze. After this, choose the cell immediately to the right of those columns and under those rows. Next, you will need to go to the View tab and Freeze Panes in the Window section. If you want to get here even quicker, you can use ALT+W+F.

If you would like to find out more about how Excel within Office 365 can help improve the productivity in your business then get in touch with Advantage today.

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