Your Most Common Excel Questions, Answered
Even if you’ve been using Excel for a while, you may find yourself Googling how to use or access certain features. For example, if you rarely need to convert units of measurement, you might forget the function that does that for you.
We’ve put together a list of very common Excel questions that you can reference if you ever find yourself stuck on a specific task.
- How to Use the Excel Strikethrough Shortcut
- How to Delete Empty Rows in Excel
- How to Type the Degree Symbol in Excel
- How to Insert the Delta Alt Code
- How to Insert a Tick Mark / Check Symbol in Excel
- How to Convert Numbers to Roman Numerals in Excel
- How to Perform a MM to CM or Other Measurement Conversion
- How to Format Text Values As Superscript or Subscript in Excel
- How to Use Excel’s Summation Shortcut
- How to Add a Hyperlink in Excel
- How to Recover an Unsaved Excel File
How to Use the Excel Strikethrough Shortcut
Strikethrough text formatting inserts a line through the cell or the selected text when it’s applied to text or values in a cell (and looks like
There are a couple of easy ways to format a cell or text with a strikethrough:
- Use the built-in keyboard shortcut by highlighting the cell and pressing Ctrl + 5
- Select the cell and open the Format Cells dialog (Ctrl + 1 or right-click), select the Font tab, and click Strikethrough in the Effects list.
How to Delete Empty Rows in Excel
Sure, you can highlight and delete all of the empty rows in a spreadsheet, but that can be time-consuming when you have a lot of rows.
There are much faster ways to accomplish the same thing!
If you need to delete blank rows that are nestled between data, click Find & Select on the Home Ribbon item, then Go to Special. Select Blanks from the selection options and hit OK. Then, on the Home tab, click Delete.
Alternatively, if you only have a few blank rows to delete, you can select them and use the Excel keyboard shortcut Ctrl + – (Control and the minus symbol) to delete the selected rows.
How to Type the Degree Symbol in Excel
To insert a degree symbol (°), you can navigate over to the Insert Ribbon item and select Symbols, then Symbol. Click the degree symbol from the available list.
By the way, you can insert tons of different symbols from a variety of different fonts as well as special characters. For example, you may need to insert the copyright symbol, or registered trademark symbol. You can locate these in the dialog as well on the Special Characters tab:
How to Insert the Delta Symbol
Unfortunately, there isn’t a built-in shortcut for the delta symbol (Δ).
Navigate back to the Symbols menu item, click Symbol, and find the correct, unfilled delta symbol in the list.
Bonus for Mac users: you can use the search field in the resulting Character Viewer dialog to search for many symbols by name:
How to Insert a Tick Mark / Check Symbol in Excel
One option is the enter a capital letter P into a cell, and then change the font to Wingdings 2.
Or, if you’d like to see the various types of checks you can insert, select Insert and then Symbols. When the Font selection box appears, pick Wingdings. Either scroll down until you see the check or enter the number 252 in the Character Code box.
Click Insert and then Close.
You can also browse Wingdings 2 and Wingdings 3 fonts for other options.
Need to create a box that you can check and uncheck as needed? Here’s how to do it:
- First, make sure the Developer tab is available. If it’s not, select the Customize Ribbon option and check the Developer box under the Main Tabs section.
- Go to Controls, then Insert, Form Controls, and Check Box.
- Click anywhere in the worksheet you want the check box added.
Note that in some versions of Excel, you’ll have a Check Box option available right on the Developer tab.
How to Convert Numbers to Roman Numerals in Excel
Excel has a handy function just for this purpose!
Just type the number you’d like to convert in the parentheses, or use a cell reference. For example, if the number was in A1, you could enter the following formula into B1 and fill it down:
How to Perform a MM to CM or Other Measurement Conversion
Like Roman numeral conversion, converting measurements from one unit to another in Excel is easy with the built-in CONVERT function.
The CONVERT function uses three arguments: =CONVERT(number, “from_unit”, “to_unit”) to make the calculation.
For example, let’s say you want to convert a unit from 1780 millimeters to inches. Your formula will look like this:
or if the value was stored in A1:
As you are typing the formula, Excel will provide a list of choices for the units.
And speaking of conversions, one Excel University student shared how to convert foreign currencies to USD, which is wonderfully useful for anyone who needs to do that daily!
How to Format Text Values As Superscript or Subscript in Excel
Superscript is a type of formatting that places some text slightly above the rest (like this), while subscript is a type of formatting that places it slightly below (like this).
Although they’re frequently seen in formulas, mathematical expressions, and related subjects, subscripts and superscripts can be handy depending on what you are working on.
First, choose the characters you want to format in a cell or cell range. Then, navigate to the Home tab, and click the Format Cells box (or use the shortcut Ctrl + 1).
In the Effects options, select either Superscript or Subscript and click OK.
How to Use Excel’s Summation Shortcut
Excel’s summation shortcut is AutoSum, and it can really save you some time!
The feature makes adding up several items quick and simple. The Alt + = (Alt & equal sign) keyboard shortcut makes using the AutoSum command really easy, but it can also be found on the Home or Formulas tabs.
Mac users: Option Command = (⌥ ⌘ =)
How to Add a Hyperlink in Excel
You can insert hyperlinks in Excel to link to other pages, spreadsheets, documents, and more!
First, select the cell where you’d like to add the hyperlink. On the Insert tab, click Link, and then the Insert Hyperlink box will appear.
- To link to an existing file, choose Select on the Web Page or File tab and pick the document you want to be linked.
- To link to a web page, simply insert the link in the Address section.
- To link to another place in the document, select the This Document tab and type the cell reference or select a location from the document section below.
- To link to an email address, select the Email Address tab and insert the address and subject (optional). This will launch the user’s default mail program and create a new draft message to the designated email address so that the user can complete the email and click send.
PS: There’s also a way to extract the URL from a hyperlink using an Excel formula!
How to Recover an Unsaved Excel File
In many cases, recovering an unsaved file is pretty easy! There are actually several ways to do it – see how to recover an Excel file that was not saved.
Did you have any other common Excel questions or features you often forget about? Let us know in the comments!
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Thanks Jeff, like the symbols – didn’t realise they were in Excel.
I have one thing I cannot do and it is driving me nuts – perhaps you can help.
I have an Excel Workbook with 5 worksheets – it is a set of accounts for a business – I need to insert these five sheets into a Word document for a Training handout with other “stuff” – is there any shortcut for inserting the Excel Workbook into word apart from copying and pasting which is onerous. I have tried Insert Object but it only seems to insert the first worksheet.
I have Office 365 if it makes any difference.
Thanks in anticipation – it would make my day!!
I forgot about some of these. Thank you for the reminders.
Even easier superscript CTL-SHIFT +/= key, subscript CTL +/= key. Key actions are an on/off toggle. Also ALT-0176 for the degree symbol (I use this a lot)
Nice … thanks Terry!
Love the check box!
Is it possible to create one overarching excel document that would help us track relationships, changing stakeholders, and ongoing agreements involving various subject matter which lapse after a specified period of time and also at fiscal year-end when the still valid agreements are moved forward? We currently have 5 or 6 worksheets covering this material which require manual updating and moving between them when an agreement lapses. It is a lot of administrative work for the person doing the updating. There has to be a better, more efficient use of our time.