Excel has a built-in feature to convert text to numbers, but it can be tricky to use when you are trying to select a long list of cells or multiple rows and columns. In the video below I describe how to use keyboard shortcuts to accomplish this very quickly.
Keyboard Shortcuts to Convert Text to Numbers
Here’s a quick guide for the keyboard shortcuts to select the range of cells you want to convert.
Select any cell that contains the Number Stored as Text error. You will see a small green triangle in the top left corner of the cell. _
Use the following keyboard shortcuts to select the range: _ Ctrl + A – selects the entire contiguous range Ctrl + A Twice – selects the entire sheet Ctrl + Space bar – selects the entire column Shift + Left/Right Arrow – selects multiple columns Shift + Space bar – selects the entire rowShift + Up/Down Arrow – selects multiple rows _
The error menu drop-down will now be at the top left or right corner of your selected range. You can then use the following keyboard shortcut to Convert to Numbers. _ Alt + Menu Key + C – Convert to Number
When you have a dashboard with small panel charts it is nice to be able to zoom in on the charts to see the trends better. The ‘Zoom_Chart’ macro included in the workbook allows you to add a zoom button (shape) over the top left corner of the chart to zoom in on the chart. It’s available for free download below. The macro actually resizes the chart to enlarge it, then returns it to it’s original size when the zoom button is pressed again. See the animated screen capture below.
Zoom on Excel Charts with VBA Macro
You can control the zoom amount by changing the percentage values for Zoom Width and Zoom Height in cells P5:P6 on the worksheet. These can also be hardcoded in the code if you don’t want the user to change the size of the zoom.
Video Overview & Basic Tutorial
The video above contains a detailed tutorial on how to add the zoom buttons to your own workbook. It’s really a matter of copying and pasting the macro (VBA code) and buttons into your workbook, and then assigning the macro to the buttons. You should still be able to implement this even if you aren’t familiar with VBA or macros. It is important to line up the buttons on the chart correctly and give each button a unique name. So it’s best to watch the video to make sure you don’t miss anything. The steps covered in the video are listed below.
The zoom feature works really well with dashboards and reports where your screen area is limited. If you would like to learn more about charting and dashboards I highly recommend the dashboard course from My Online Training Hub. Checkout my full video review of the course and learn how to become an Excel Superhero! 🙂
Open the Zoom on Charts workbook and your workbook.
Open the VBA Editor and drag & drop the code module into your workbook.
Save your file as a macro enabled workbook.
Copy the zoom button into your workbook.
Place the zoom button on the top left corner of a chart.
Assign the macro to the button.
Change the zoom references in the code.
Duplicate the zoom button.
Give the button a unique name.
The VBA can be further enhanced to add data labels, legends, axis labels, and any additional chart components when the zoom in button is pressed. Please leave a comment with some of the enhancements you made, or would like to see.
The “Bottom Right” file contains modified code that allows you to place the zoom button in the bottom-right corner of the chart. The chart zooms from the bottom-right and expands up and to the left. Zooming from the top-left or bottom-right are the only two options for button placement with this code.
The “Top Right” file contains code that allows you to place the zoom button in the top-right corner of the chart. This option can cause problems if the chart is too close to column A and tries to expand beyond the left side of the worksheet. The location of the chart will move and the chart will need to be manually resized and moved back to align with the zoom button.
Please leave a comment below with any questions or modifications you have made.
The Find All Form for Excel allows you to type a search query in a text box and have the results appear in a list box. The results are narrowed down as you type. This is similar functionality to Google’s auto fill or auto suggest feature when doing a Google search. See the animated screen capture below.
Find All results in a worksheet or workbook
This is a very basic application that mimics Excel’s built-in Find All feature. The code uses Chip Pearson’s FindAll Function in combination with the KeyUp Event in the text box to return results in the list box as you type. A sample workbook with all the code is available for free download below.
The features and capabilities can be greatly expanded to meet your needs. I’ve used this in an add-in that runs searches on general ledger (GL) account codes. The user can quickly search for account codes from the GL or database, and quickly insert them into the worksheet. In my application, the tables containing the account codes are stored in the add-in workbook. I’ve also developed additional processes to automatically update the GL tables as they are updated in the system. This makes the searches extremely fast since the underlying source data is stored in the add-in.
What could you use this tool for? Leave a comment below.
The “All Sheets” file above searches all the sheets in the file. The sheet name is included in column 2 of the results along with the cell address. When an item is clicked in the results, the resulting sheet and cell are selected.
The “Copy Paste” file above pastes the clicked item in a list on a Results Sheet. This allows you to track which items the user clicks on in the results list on the form.
In the following video I explain the difference between the color palettes and a solution for making your new workbooks look the same when opened in Excel 2003 or earlier.
Excel 2007 workbooks are Ugly in previous versions
The new theme based color palettes in Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013 are great for designing spreadsheets and charts that are visually appealing. But did you know that those colors are being converted to the old 56 color palette when opened in a previous version of Excel? This means your new spreadsheets could look like the following when opened by clients or colleagues using Excel 2003 or earlier versions.
Click to Zoom
The Previous Version Palette
Excel 2007 workbooks contain a 56 color palette that will be used when the file is opened by previous versions of Excel. You can see this palette by opening an Excel workbook and going to: Office Button > Excel Options > Save (option in left sidebar) > Colors… button (after: Choose what colors will be seen in previous versions).
This is the default color palette in older versions of Excel, and Excel automatically converts your new theme colors to these colors.
For users of previous versions to see the same colors you do, this previous version palette must be updated with the colors you’ve used in your workbook.
Does this sound confusing, time consuming, and frustrating? Well don’t worry…
Here is your simple and free solution!
The Color Palette Conversion Tool is a simple utility that retrieves the colors you’ve used in your workbook and updates the previous version palette automatically. With the click of a few buttons you will ensure that all Excel users see the same colors you do in your fonts, borders, and background fills. This is critical for presentation purposes, and general sanity if you have Excel 2007 at work and a previous version at home.
The tool has a few advanced features that allow you to control your previous version palette colors, plan for future designs, make updates in multiple workbooks, and easily view or restore default palette colors. The tool is just a single worksheet in a workbook that contains macros to run this process. You can use it as a stand alone, or add in to your workbooks if you want to make frequent updates.
Here is what your spreadsheets will look like in previous versions after using the Color Palette Conversion tool.
Click to Zoom
Save time and eliminate color confusion
If you’re currently going into your previous version palette and modifying colors, you know how time consuming it can be to change the colors. You have to manually type in the RGB codes for each color you use from the new theme palette. It’s a painful process, but must be done if you want your spreadsheet colors to be universal with all Excel versions. This tool eliminates all that work. I explain the color palettes in more detail on the download page. I hope you find this tool useful and please post questions or suggestions below.
Do you spend too much time formatting the same reports in Excel?
You probably find yourself formatting the same spreadsheets in the same way daily, weekly, or monthly. This can be a very time consuming and redundant task. And even if it only takes you five to ten minutes to apply page layouts or format header rows; those minutes add up and you may lose some consistency if you forget something.
The Format Copier is your Solution! (and it’s FREE!)
The Format Copier tool automates the process of applying page layout and formatting options to multiple sheets in multiple workbooks. And you can store your formatted sheets, which we will call templates, to use when you have to format the same unformatted reports in the future.
How it works
The Format Copier is a workbook that contains:
The formatting tool
And your formatted worksheets (templates) that you will use to copy formatting to unformatted worksheets in other workbooks.
With the press of a few buttons you will be able to apply your template formatting to multiple worksheets and workbooks.
Formatting Options include:
Page Layout Options for Printing
Page Breaks for Printing
Cell Formatting & Conditional Formatting
Outlines or Row & Column Groups
Hidden Rows & Columns
The Benefit: It’s Easy to Use and Saves You Time
You’ve probably already figured this out, but the Format Copier will save you lots of time. Especially if you’re formatting the same reports over and over again. The tool is very easy to use and even stores your formatting preferences so you don’t have to remember which formatting options you use for each template.
This tool will help if you spend time doing any of the following in Excel:
Insert header picture, image, or logo on all or select worksheets
Apply the same header logo formatting on all worksheets
Format multiple Excel worksheets
Apply page setup and print settings to multiple worksheets.
Never screw up your TPS Reports again!
Ok, that’s an Office Space reference… And with this tool you won’t ever have to worry about messing up your reports and angering your boss. You might have a general ledger reporting software that exports reports in an plain looking format, or doesn’t format them at all. The Format Copier will transform these reports to your specification, making them easy to read and print. And you will produce reports that are formatted consistently, without having to dig up reports from previous months to compare.
The Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) in Excel 2007 is extremely useful for creating keyboard shortcuts for items that don’t have a defined keyboard shortcut. For example, there is no defined keyboard shortcut to Paste Values but you can easily set it up on the QAT.
The QAT is accessed through the keyboard by pressing the Alt key. Press and release the Alt key and you will see numbers appear next to each icon on the QAT.
So Alt + [the icon number] is the keyboard shortcut for each item. In this example, the keyboard shortcut for paste values is Alt+1. The keyboard shortcut for the format painter is Alt+2.
There are two ways to use the keyboard shortcut.
Press and release Alt to view the shortcut numbers next to each icon. Then press the number of the QAT item you want to use.
Better Option: Press and hold Alt then press the number of the QAT item. This is much faster once you have your QAT shortcut numbers memorized. You will notice that the numbers don’t appear when you press and hold Alt, so you have to memorize them.
I tend to move the icons around based on the task I’m working on in Excel. If I’m going to be using the format painter a lot, I will move it to the “1” position (farthest left) while I’m using it. This is mainly because it is easier to Press Alt+1, Alt+2, and Alt+3 on the keyboard by placing your right thumb on Alt and right index finger on the number. The other numbers can be a bit of a stretch, depending on your keyboard.
The Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) in Excel 2007 is a great option for shortcuts to your most used commands. It’s faster to click on an icon in the QAT (one click) versus clicking on the ribbon tab and then the command (two clicks + mouse navigation). And you can use keyboard shortcuts for the QAT to make things even easier.
Setting up the QAT is simple and consists of two steps: Adding commands and arranging the icons.
The easiest way to add commands to the toolbar is to:
Navigate to the command you want to add in the ribbon.
Right click on the icon and select Add to Quick Access Toolbar from the drop down menu.
The command icon will be added to the end of the QAT.
To arrange the icons:
Right click anywhere on the QAT and select Customize the Quick Access Toolbar… from the drop down menu.
The Excel Options menu opens and you can move your icons to the left or right by selecting the icon in the right box and pressing the up or down arrows.
Click Image to Zoom
The order of the icons becomes important when you are using keyboard shortcuts to access the commands. And I highly recommend this as a much faster way to execute commands in Excel, versus using the mouse. You can also use the Options window (above) to add and remove commands from the toolbar.
So what icons should I add to the Quick Access Toolbar?
This will depend on what you use Excel for and which commands you use most often. If you are doing lots of data entry and manipulation you might want to have the “Paste Values” and “Format Painter” commands at the top of your list. Reporting and analyzing, you may want some charting and page layout commands. The key is to have the commands you use most often located closest to the left because the keyboard shortcuts are easier to press with your thumb and index finger.
Move the QAT
The toolbar can be place above or below the ribbon by clicking the down arrow to the right of the QAT and selecting Show Below the Ribbon or Show Above the Ribbon.
I prefer to have it above because it reduces the total vertical height of the top toolbars, which gives you more spreadsheet real estate. But you may find that you have so many icons that it fits better below the ribbon. If you are a heavy mouse user (vs. keyboard shortcuts) then it is also easier to navigate to the QAT if it is below the ribbon.
Checkout my recommendations on commonly used commands for the Quick Access Toolbar.