excel data entry tips to save time
Over the years, Excel has evolved to become one of the best data management and analysis tool. Every day, it is used by millions of people for various activities such as record keeping, data analysis, project tracking, reporting, etc.

While Excel has a lot of advanced features, it is most commonly used to as an application to store and manage data. For example, you can use it to keep employee records, sales transaction records, financial records, and project details.

In this article, I am sharing five amazing data entry tips that will help you get the work done faster and be more efficient while using Excel spreadsheets.

1Use Drop Down Lists to Make Data Entry Error Free

If you have a prespecified list of names/items that you need to enter often, you should create drop down lists to make the data entry faster.

A drop-down list in Excel shows you all the pre-specified options, and you can select to enter that data point in a cell. Apart from being more efficient, it also helps avoid spelling mistakes. Since you have already specified the options, there is no risk of the user entering the wring spelling.

Here are the steps you can use to create a drop-down list in Excel.

  • Select the cell or range of cells in which you want the drop-down.
  • Go to the Data tab.1 excel tips data tab
  • Click on Data Validation.2 excel tips data validation
  • In the Data Validation dialog box, within the setting tab, select ‘List’ from the drop down.3 excel tips select list from drop down
  • In the ‘Source’ field, select the cells that have the options that you want to show in the drop down.4 excel tips sepcify cell sources
  • Click OK.5 excel tips drop down created

This will create the drop-down list in the selected cells.

2Quickly Enter Current Date and Time Using Shortcuts

If you need to enter the date or time to keep track of activities, you can use the following shortcuts to do this quickly:

  • To enter current date: Control + ; (hold the control key and press semicolon key)
  • To enter current time: Control + Shift + ; (hold the control and shift key and press the semicolon key).

Note that these values are static and wouldn’t change with time.

3Use TRIM Function to Clean Data

When we get data from external sources or other people, there are often additional spaces in the data. For example, you can have leading, trailing, or double spaces in the dataset.

This can lead to issues if the data is further used in calculations.

You can use the TRIM function to quickly get rid of these extra spaces.

Suppose, you have a data point in cell A1, then in cell A2, you can use the formula =TRIM(A1)

4Use Control + D to Quickly Copy the Above Cell

If you want to copy the cell right above the active cell, simply use the keyboard shortcut Control + D (hold the control key and then press D).

This will copy the content, formatting, as well as formula (if there is any) from the cell above.

This trick also works for more than once cell.

For example, if your data is in A1:D1 and you want to copy it in A2:D2, just select A2:D2 and use the keyboard shortcut Control + D.

5Use Alt + Down Arrow to Make Data Entry Faster

If you’re entering data in a column and there are few terms that needs to be entered repetitively, then this Excel trick can help you.

For example, suppose you’re entering data in a column and the entries are Very Good, Good, Ok, Unsatisfactory. To speed up the data entry, you can manually enter the first few entries, and the use the keyboard shortcut Alt + Down Arrow.

6 excel tips alt down arrow

Using this shortcut will show you all the unique entries made in the column so far. You can then simply use the arrow keys to select the one you want to enter and hit Enter key.