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

Keeping client information safe in an age of scams and security threats

A look at the Dirty Dozen tax scams and ways to protect taxpayer information.

TECHNOLOGY Q&A

How to create maps in Excel 2016

Microsoft Excel 2016 has two new mapping capabilities. J. Carlton Collins, CPA, demonstrates how to make masterful 2D and 3D maps in Excel 2016.

QUIZ

News quiz: IRS enforcement, a hot job, and audit value

The IRS’s 2016 Data Book, a “hot job” of particular interest at this time of year, and insight into how executive and audit committees view the insights from financial statement audits received attention recently. See how much you know with this short quiz.