Microsoft Excel: 3 quick tips

By J. Carlton Collins, CPA

1. Apply percentage formatting. To quickly format a number as a percentage in Excel, highlight a cell (or cells), and press Ctrl+Shift+5.

2. Beginner tutorial. For any novice Excel user you might encounter at your firm or your client's offices, Microsoft provides a website to help Excel 2016 users at support.office.com.

3. Make Excel read to you. You can highlight text and then click the Speak Cells icon to have Excel read to you. (You must first add the Speak Cells tool to your Quick Access Toolbar by right-clicking the toolbar and selecting ­Customize Quick Access Toolbar. Next, select All Commands from the Choose commands from drop-down menu, scroll down and select the Speak Cells tool, click the Add button (indicated by the red arrow below), and then click OK.

The Speak Cells tool is especially useful when it comes to having Excel read back to you a list of text or numbers you've just entered so you can double-check your work.

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About the author

J. Carlton Collins (carlton@asaresearch.com) is a technology consultant, a CPE instructor, and a JofA contributing editor.

Note: Instructions for Microsoft Office in “Technology Q&A” refer to the 2007 through 2016 versions, unless otherwise specified.

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