How to Highlight an Entire Row in Excel with Conditional Formatting

Whilst changing the colour of single cells in a spreadsheet using conditional formatting is straightforward, how do we highlight an entire row?

Well it’s actually quite straightforward, we just use a simple formula to achieve the desired effect. Here’s how to do it in 3 east steps!

In the following training example, we want to identify any invoices which have exceeded our 30 day payment terms. You can download the spreadsheet Highlighting Rows here.

STEP 1: First select the range of cells to be formatted, then click the Conditional Formatting button and choose New Rule.

STEP 2: Now select Use a formula to determine which cells to format and enter the following: =$F4>30

STEP 3: Next click the Format button and choose an appropriate fill colour, then click OK – that’s it!

So how does it work? Well, notice the $ in front of the reference to the column in $F4? This tells Excel that it should hunt down the whole of column F looking for values that are greater than (>) 30. However, the dollar effectively ‘locks’ the column, preventing Excel from looking to the left or right. Because we selected the whole table of data, Excel will apply the conditional formatting to the entire row.

I hope you’ve find this short Excel tutorial useful and if so, a share would be greatly appreciated. And do please leave your feedback!

Learn How to Password Protect Selected Cells in Excel in Under 5 Minutes!

Sharing spreadsheets with colleagues can sometimes lead to important formulas being accidentally overwritten. Locking the workbook is one solution, but this means that no one can work on any part of spreadsheet without the password.

A better solution might be to selectively lock your spreadsheet, leaving some cells open and editable without a password. Sounds complicated right? In fact, it’s one of the simplest things you can do in Excel!

Step 1: First we need to select the cell or range of cells which we DON’T want to be protected. In the example below we chose a range of cells which all contained formulas. This is perhaps counter-intuitive, but you’ll see why in a moment!

Step 2: Next we right-click the mouse and choose Format Cells, then select the Protection tab. You will see two tick boxes marked Locked & Hidden.

Step 3: Now untick the box marked Locked and then click Close.

Step 4: Next select the Review tab of the ribbon menu and click the Protect Sheet button.

Step 5: Enter a password, click OK and then confirm your password.

By default, all cells in Excel are marked as protected. This means that when we apply a password, the entire worksheet is locked. What we have done is tell Excel that there are some cells which we don’t want to protect – simple!

I hope this is might save you the hassle of repairing damaged formulas and data. If you find it useful, do please share with your colleagues!

How to Use Excel’s Handy SUBTOTAL Function

The SUBTOTAL function in Excel allows us to work easily with lists and databases which have been filtered, or perhaps contain hidden rows.

In the following example we’re using a spreadsheet called ‘Car Sales database – Subtotals’ which you can download here.

You can see that we have already totalled the number of sales in cell B1, which comes to 166. However, if we then filter the data to show only Claire’s sales, we still get a value of 166.

We need to be able to calculate the total for only the visible data. This is where the SUBTOTAL function comes in!

SUBTOTAL is actually a number of functions in one. For instance, we can sum, average, count and find minimum and maximum values, all with the same basic function.

The function itself contains two fields (or arguments): Function Num and Ref. The function number determines what you want the function to do and Ref is simply the range of cells you wish to apply it to.

Here is a list of the most popular uses for SUBTOTAL and the corresponding function numbers:

  • SUM: 109
  • AVERAGE: 101
  • MIN: 105
  • MAX: 104
  • COUNT: 102
  • COUNTA: 103

Let’s look at an example of how this works, using the SUM function:

Step 1: click in the cell where you want to place the formula (in this case cell B2), then click the Insert Function tool button (fx)

Step 2: Now choose the SUBTOTAL function (you might have to use the search box) and click the OK button

Step 3: We are totalling data in this example, so we need to type 109 in the Function Num field

Step 4: Next we select the full range of sales in the database (C5:C160) and click OK.

Initially our subtotal sales will be the same as the total sales (166). However, if we now filter for Claire’s sales, we can see that she sold 23 cars.

Using the various Function Number options allows us to analyse our data in different ways, however the above steps are exactly the same.

One final point: as we’ve seen, SUBTOTAL automatically omits data that has been filtered. However, we have a choice to omit or include data which has been manually hidden. Using the previous Function Number table, manually hidden data is excluded. If you wish to include manually hidden rows, just use the following Function Number table instead:

  • SUM: 9
  • AVERAGE: 1
  • MIN: 5
  • MAX: 4
  • COUNT: 2
  • COUNTA: 3

I hope you’ve found this short tutorial useful and if so, a share would be really appreciated!

Easy Excel Functions in 4 Steps!

Functions expand the scope of Excel and allow us to perform tasks which formulas alone cannot do.

There are two separate methods for entering functions. In one method we use an interface (the Insert Function tool) and in the other we simply type the function directly into a cell.

In the following example we’re using a spreadsheet called ‘Using Functions’ which you can download here.

Let’s take a look at the Insert Function tool first:

Step 1: click in the cell where you want the function to be placed, the click the Insert Function tool button (fx)

Step 2: Choose a function from the recent list (entitled Select a Function), or use the search box at the top of the window.

Step 3: Now click the OK button – the Insert Function window will close and the Function Arguments window will open

Step 4: Select the range of cells you want to apply the function too and then press OK – and that’s it!

These are the correct results if you want to check your work:

SUM: adds cell ranges

MIN: returns the smallest value in a range

MAX: returns the largest value

AVERAGE: average value across the range

COUNT: returns the number of values in the range (numbers)

COUNTA: counts both values and text (if present)

If you have multiple ranges of cells, you can make use of the additional argument fields (Number 2, Number 3 etc). Simply click in the Number 2 field and select an additional cell range. You will now be presented with the Number 3 field in case you have further data to add. This will happen automatically and actually allows us to add up to 255 separate cell ranges!

Now let’s take a look at the second method:

Step 1: Click in the cell where you want to place the function, then press the = key.

Step 2: Now start typing the name of the function – you will be presented with a menu which provides a simple shortcut to save typing the whole name (note you can ignore this and just manually type the whole function)

Step 3: Next select the range of cells you wish to apply the function to – press Enter and you will see the result! Note that you don’t need to type the closing bracket, Excel will do this automatically with a single function.

To add additional arguments using the method, just type a comma to separate each. Again, we can add up to 255 additional cell ranges.

And that’s all there is to it! I hope this short tutorial has shown you how easy functions can be in Excel. There are around 400 different functions available and they all follow these same basic principles.

If you’ve found this useful, please share with your colleagues and visit us again soon for more easy Excel tutorials!

Master Excel Formulas in Under 5 Minutes!

If you’ve never set up a formula in Excel before, you might think that it would be difficult. Well think again! In this quick tutorial I’ll show you how to master Excel formulas in 4 simple steps in under 5 minutes.

Microsoft Excel works in a similar way to a calculator. If I asked you if you could add 2+2 on a calculator, you would say “of course, that’s easy!”

The difference with Excel however is that we don’t add numbers, we add cell references instead.

In the following example we’re using a spreadsheet called ‘Simple Formulas’ which you can download here.

Step 1: click in the cell where you want to place the formula (in this case C1) and press =

Step 2: next click in the first cell that you want to add (A1)

Step 3: now type + and click in the next cell (B1)

Step 4: press the Enter key and the values in both cells will be added together. The result of course will be 4 – simple!

Subtracting, multiplying and dividing all work the same way. In the next example, we’ll subtract cell B1 from A1:

Our result this time should be 0!

Multiplication works in the same way, however the symbol that we use is *. You can use the number pad on your keyboard, or simply press shift+8:

Now our result will be 4.

Finally, division uses the / symbol and so our formula looks like this:

2 divided by 2 will give you 1.

And that’s it, I did say formulas in Excel are easy! Of course some formulas will be longer and more complex, but the same basic principles always apply. As a reminder, the arithmetic symbols that we use are:

Addition: +

Subtraction: –

Multiplication: *

Division: /

I hope this short tutorial has been useful and if so, please share with your colleagues who might also find it beneficial.

This is the first in a series of a new Microsoft Office tutorials, so check back weekly for more tips and tricks!

Microsoft Office Essentials Training Course

Microsoft Office Essentials brings together all of the most practical features of Outlook, Excel & Word into a single 1 day course. Aimed at individuals who haven’t previously received training on office computer tasks, this will give them all the skills they need to become proficient in just one day.

Microsoft Office Essentials is the ideal course for new staff members and anyone who needs upskilling to fulfill their role within the organisation.

  • Introduction to Microsoft Windows:
    • Desktop icons, opening & closing applications
    • Multi-tasking in Windows, minimising, moving & resizing applications
    • Opening and closing files, creating a folder structure
    • Navigating around the keyboard and using shortcuts
  • Introduction to Microsoft Word:
    • Formatting text, paragraphs and spell checking
    • Creating bulleted lists
    • Setting up Tabs, Headers & Footers
  • Introduction to Microsoft Excel:
    • Entering & editing data, formatting worksheets
    • How to set up simple formulas: add, subtract, multiply, divide & percentages
    • Working with basic Excel functions: SUM, MIN, MAX, AVERAGE, COUNT & COUNTA
  • Introduction to Microsoft Outlook:
    • Sending & receiving email
    • Email security, sending & receiving attachments
    • Creating meetings in the calendar and inviting attendees

Please visit the Onsite Training page for an overview of our course prices and information on how to book your training.

Introducing the Microsoft Excel Intermediate+ Training Course

The question we are probably asked most frequently when delivering training is: “do we have another course which follows on from Intermediate Excel, but isn’t too advanced?” Intermediate Microsoft Excel has always been our most popular course, perhaps largely down to the fact that it teaches practical and relevant skills which can be immediately applied in any office environment. Our clients see an immediate and measurable increase in employees’ effectiveness on spreadsheet tasks. So, to further enhance these skills, we’ve created a new course called Intermediate+.

Bridging the gap between Intermediate and Advanced levels, Intermediate+ teaches further, highly practical spreadsheet techniques designed to move your staff’s efficiency to the next level. In keeping with our other Microsoft Office training courses, Intermediate+ is 1 day in duration and can be delivered at your offices anywhere in the UK. Here is a brief overview of the course syllabus:

  • Working with Excel Tables to make filtering and analysing data easier
  • Developing PivotTable skills with more columns and bigger spreadsheets
  • How to achieve more by ‘nesting’ functions such as IF, AND and OR
  • More conditional formatting skills, including the use of icon sets
  • Further methods of sorting data by values, cell colours, font colours and icons
  • How to consolidate and total data across multiple worksheets and workbooks
  • Visualising data trends using graphs and charts, including PivotCharts
  • How to manipulate and rearrange text data in Microsoft Excel
  • Rearranging spreadsheet data using the handy Transpose function
  • Searching databases more effectively using Index and Match functions

The Intermediate+ Excel course is particularly suitable for staff who have already completed our Intermediate level training. However, anyone at an appropriate level of experience would benefit from the course. We provide a free Training Needs Analysis service to help you determine the correct level of Microsoft Excel training for all of your employees. Just contact us and we will email you our TNA tick-box form to complete and return. It only takes a couple of minutes and is completely without obligation.

Microsoft Office Training for MAC Users

In response to a number of clients’ requests, we are now delivering Microsoft Office on the MAC. This includes the full Office 365 suite of Apps, including Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and Word.

An increasing number of organisations are moving the MAC for business purposes and there are certainly some advantages.  MACs are seen by some as offering a more intuitive operating system and they do currently suffer less from issues with viruses and malware.

The differences between Office Apps on the PC and MAC are subtle in most cases, however dedicated training is desirable to get the most out of the software. Please note that however that we are unable to supply MacBooks to facilitate onsite training but our spreadsheet exercises will work fine on your own machines.

For more information about Microsoft Office training courses for the MAC, please call 0800 2922842 or email us through the Contact page.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) Training Courses

Amazon Web Services (or AWS) is the cloud computing platform from retail giants Amazon. More than just another cloud storage facility, AWS is a complete business system providing infrastructure services such as computing power, networking and databases – all delivered as one integrated utility.  Pricing is on a ‘pay as you go’ basis and there are no up front costs.

Through our trusted partners at QA, we can offer training on AWS for both professional administrators and end users. Here’s a brief overview of one of the courses currently available:

AWS Business Essentials (1 day). Code AMWSBE

The course is intended for IT decision makers and those new to working with AWS

Topics covered include:

  • Advantages of the AWS Cloud platform
  • How AWS can be used in you organisation
  • Data security and the controls in place to secure you network
  • How to grow your organisation in the Cloud whilst minimising working costs.

Further courses include:

  • AWS Accelerated Architecting Associate and Professional – 5 days
  • AWS Technical Essentials – 1 day
  • Advanced Architecting on AWS – 3 days
  • Big Data on AWS – 3 days
  • Data Warehousing on AWS – 3 days
  • Developing on AWS – 3 days
  • Migrating to AWS – 2 days
  • Security Operations on AWS – 3 days
  • Systems Operations on AWS – 3 days

Ransomware Attacks – Guidance for Businesses & Home Users

National Cyber Security Centre Advice

The NCSC has issued a set of guidelines for businesses and individuals who are concerned about ransomware attacks on their computer systems. These comprise:

  1. Updating all Windows operating systems
  2. Running and updating antivirus software
  3. Maintaining a safe backup of data

1. Updating Windows

If you use Windows 7, 8, 8.1 or 10, you should run Windows Update and apply all patches. If you are running older versions such as Windows XP or Vista, you should ideally upgrade to the latest, more secure operating system. Alternatively, you can download the free Microsoft WannaCry security update here.

2. Running Antivirus

Make sure your antivirus software is fully up to date and run a full scan of your system. The NSCS advise using the built in Windows malware protection tool Windows Defender in the absence of any third party antivirus programs. Please note that this will not work if you have already been infected by the WannaCry ransomware (please see below).

3. Backing Up Data

If you have a secure backup of all your data, you cannot be blackmailed with ransomware. You should however back up regularly and ensure that the copy is stored separately from your computer. Never leave backup devices permanently connected to the network as they may become infected themselves. You might want to consider using a Cloud storage service such as Microsoft Office 365 for small business or personal use. There are also free cloud and low priced options available for personal use such as Google Drive and Dropbox

What to do if your computer has been infected

  1. Immediately disconnect your computer from the network / Internet
  2. Whilst disconnected, run a full disk format or replace the drive
  3. Directly connect this computer to the Internet to install and run the latest version of Windows and software. Do not connect to the network whilst doing this.
  4. Install professional grade antivirus software, such Malwarebytes. Download all current updates and run.
  5. Reconnect to the network and continue to run and monitor your antivirus software on a daily basis.

Full details of all these procedures and further guidance can be obtained directly from the National Cyber Security Centre website.

We also offer a range of Cyber Security Awareness courses for employees through our partners at QA. You can read full details on their website. Please contact us for discounted prices on any of these courses.