It’s no big secret that modern businesses rely on data to gather unique insights into their operations and customers.
This makes organising data a growing priority across almost every industry out there, though the task of keeping data secure and ready to use at all times is often easier said than done. In fact, without a solid plan in place it’s almost impossible to get the most of the information available to us.
Data must be carefully managed and formatted consistently if businesses are able to report on their own performance with guaranteed accuracy. There are also massive gains in efficiency that stand to be achieved by getting to grips with automation, particularly when it comes to eliminating any chance of human error.
Here at Bespoke Excel, it’s fair to say we know a thing or two about data management, which is why we’ve put together this handy three step guide for those looking to get a better understanding of the factors involved.
Let’s dive straight in…
1. Use conditional formatting where possible
Conditional formatting is a useful feature in Excel that allows users to highlight particular cells in a selected colour or format, depending on the value of that cell. This makes it far easier to spot any variances in value at a quick glance.
While many of Excel’s presets work wonders for basic conditional formatting, it’s also possible to add your own formulas to create more sophisticated rules and criteria. Once up to speed with this function, users can quickly flag up data entry problems, identify duplicate data entries and highlight rows containing important dates or top customers.
2. Filter data in a way that suits you
It’s possible to create both simple and complex filters in an Excel spreadsheet, both of which enable you to sift through masses of data to pinpoint the information you need within just a second or two.
Excel’s in-built Filter tab (Data > Filter) is the easiest way to sort rows or columns by a chosen criteria from a simple dropdown menu. More advanced filters can be applied when the user needs to display information that meets complex criteria, such as cells containing predetermined formula.
3. Sort it out!
When we’re working with large datasets that contain a large number of rows and columns, it’s vital to be able to sort the information quickly to find what we’re looking for. Excel allows us to sort cell ranges in a number of ways: alphabetically, numerically, by date or even by a custom criteria of your choosing.
If you find that your spreadsheet data isn’t sorting correctly, try double clicking each cell value to ensure they have been inputted properly. The smallest error or typo can cause wide-ranging issues when working with a large spreadsheet, so absolute accuracy is essential when looking to produce quality reports and insights.
Want to take data organisation to the next level?
One of the most powerful functions that Excel offers is the ability to visualise data in way that is both clear and engaging. The program’s array of graphs, charts, models and visualisations gives users plenty of options to translate information in a way that suits their business.
Whether it’s a pie chart showing the percentages that compose a whole or a scatter graph showing the relationship between two variable sets, there really is a method of visualisation to suit every purpose.