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Posts Tagged ‘Excel’

File ManagementOoops! A spreadsheet was left in the office copier! Whose is it? If a page falls out of a 100 page spreadsheet report, can we tell where to refile it?

5 Second Excel Rule: a total stranger can see your spreadsheet and know where it goes within 5 seconds.  With a printed spreadsheet in hand, you should be able to open the computer file in 5 seconds.  In 5 seconds of opening the computer file, you should know the latest status of that project.

  1. Title. Make sure you title tells the who, when, and what of the spreadsheet’s purpose. If the title only appears front center of page 1, then have it mentioned in the header of subsequent pages.
  2. Readability. Print columns and row headers on multiple page reports.
  3. File Name. Include the file name in your headers or footers.  List a file path or a department name if needed.
  4. Date and Time. Include the date and time in your footer to print the date and time when a page is printed. Sometimes I print 5 final copies in 10 minutes and tweak each. This helps me quickly find the final, final version for distribution. It’s easier than distributing the wrong final version and having to fix mistakes after the fact.
  5. A1 Comment. On complex collaboration projects, insert a comment in cell A1, a virtual sticky note of the spreadsheet’s status. If a copy is sent to a client,  note the date, time, and delivery method. When a revised version is distributed, I edit the comment to include that. Some spreadsheet projects take weeks or months to complete. By using the A1 Comment to keep updates, we can quickly see project status, finding it on the computer before we could retrieve a hard copy file folder and find a printed spreadsheet with a real stickly note on it.

Anyone can make a convoluted spreadsheet. It takes a savvy number cruncher to build one that is easy to read. These steps will help that and also make sure your spreadsheet is only 5 seconds away.

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My tweeting has changed my teaching style.  I have taught continuing education computer classes for a community college for 14 years – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access classes. Every time I teach, I leave classes happy because I have found some way to empower my students to better use computers to make their lives easier.

When I started teaching companies to use social media, a key point was telling them to listen.  If they listen and engage on those levels, good things will happen.

That has migrated into my classroom.  First, I started broadening each class to begin with a question/answer session.  That’s riskier than following a book.  As I answer questions, I demonstrate live, in front of the room.  Sometimes the demonstrations don’t go as planned.  Those become better teachable moments than if I merely followed a cookbook textbook approach to lesson plans.

Something funny happened on the way to the spreadsheet in a recent Excel class.  As I reviewed options on the ribbon, I pointed out the translate button.

Suddenly, the entire room began to buzz.  The employees in this class began to talk to one another. 

I listened.

They are working with a plant in Mexico, and every student in the room had a daily need to find better ways to communicate with non-English speakers.

Pause the spreadsheet formula. 

For the next 20-30 minutes, I showed how to do a simple translation in Word and how to set up translation tips.  That morphed into googling for translator helps; none of the students ever thought of googling for a translator.  Then we discussed Google chat and its translate feature.

We eventually got back to the spreadsheet.  Class ran a little late as I raced to meet all the goals set for the day’s class.  Had I bulldozed over their conversation, we would have finished on time.

However, my listening gave the class an unexpected lesson in something they needed right here, right now, to decrease their stress and better focus on their jobs.  They saw new ways to leverage technology to work FOR them, not against them.

I saw something new too. In 14 years of teaching, I have grown too comfortable teaching the same old same old.  Listening and keeping up with tech advances makes every class a game changer.

Tweeting is make me practice what I teach.

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