Target a Spreadsheet Cell

BY STANLEY ZAROWIN

Q. Each week I need to pass along several Excel worksheets to others in my company, asking them to fill in information. But since some of them are not very savvy in using electronic spreadsheets, they sometimes accidentally enter the data in the wrong cells. Do you have a simple, low-tech way of addressing this problem?

A. Here’s an easy, low-tech solution that uses a visual approach and is easy to set up. Assume you want your coworkers to put the data into cell B3; format the area this way:


As you can see, I’ve surrounded the target cell with cells that contain crosshatching and I’ve colored the intended cell a bright yellow. That should direct them right to the cell in which data should be added.

A fast way to perform this formatting arrangement is to hold down the Ctrl key and highlight the three cells you want to add the crosshatching to, select Format cells and click on the Patterns tab. Select the pattern you like and click on OK . Then highlight the target cell and follow the same steps, except choose a bright color instead.

SPONSORED REPORT

Revenue recognition: A complex effort

Implementing the new standard requires careful judgment. Learn how to make significant accounting judgments and document them and collaborate with peers for consistent application.

VIDEO

How to Excel pivot a general ledger

The general ledger is a vast historical data archive of your company's financial activities, including revenue, expenses, adjustments, and account balances. J. Carlton Collins, CPA, shows how to prepare data for, and mine data with, PivotTables.

QUIZ

News quiz: Taking an economic snapshot and looking to the future

Recent news included IRS actions that affect individuals and partnerships and a possibly influential move by a Big Four accounting firm.Take this short quiz to see how much you know about the news.