Target a Spreadsheet Cell


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.


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