The Best Spreadsheet Hacks For Microsoft Excel And Google Sheets

This week, the world celebrated Spreadsheet Day, AKA the most boring holiday devised by humankind. But wait! If you hate spreadsheets and everything they stand for, it probably means you don’t know how to use them properly. Here are our most useful spreadsheet hacks for Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets; suitable for novices and experts alike.

Spreadsheet Day commemorates the release of VisiCalc — the first spreadsheet program for personal computers — on October 17th, 1979. The day is both a celebration and a light-heated ribbing of everything the spreadsheet represents: from its exceptional strengths as an organisational tool to its enduring reputation as a tedious and fiddly pain in the arse.

Here at Lifehacker, we’re devoted to the former school of thought. With that in mind, we’ve collected our most useful and popular spreadsheet posts from the archives. Happy Spreadsheet Day!

Microsoft Excel

How To Master Microsoft Office Excel

Spreadsheets are a nerd’s data-driven dream. For most regular people, though, they’re a complicated mess. Fortunately, they don’t need to be. Here’s how to bend data to your will with Microsoft Excel 2016.

Learn Eight Helpful Microsoft Excel Tricks With This Handy Cheat Sheet

If you’re new to using Microsoft Excel, or you’re an experienced user looking for a good visual reference, this handy cheat sheet covers eight helpful tricks for becoming a spreadsheet pro. The infographic explains how to use absolute and relative references, how to use the ampersand and combine cells, organise your spreadsheets with cell colouring, how to use the VLOOKUP function and more.

Seven Advanced Excel Features You Should Be Using [Infographic]

Microsoft Excel is packed with useful data management features that don’t see a lot of use, like pivot tables, index and match, and conditional formatting. If you’re just using excel to sum and chart columns, this graphic can show you some other tools to help you become the spreadsheet ninja you always wanted to be.

How To Create A Dynamic Named Range In Excel

Creating a dynamic named range in Excel might sound like geek gibberish, but it’s a super powerful tool and really easy to use. This article explains why you need it and how to roll your own.

Delete Blank Rows And Columns In Excel With A Few Clicks

Spreadsheets can get messy. Cleaning a sheet of blank rows or columns sounds straightforward enough, but it can be time-consuming if you do it manually. This method gets the job done in just a few clicks, even on huge spreadsheets.

Eight Time-Saving Excel Shortcuts Worth Memorising

Many of us live and die by our spreadsheets, but every true spreadsheet ninja has to start somewhere. These helpful, Excel shortcuts can help you save time and get more done. From highlighting every cell at once to quickly copying formulas, they’re a refresher for experts and worth remembering for beginners.

Excel Masterclass: Four Skills Everyone Should Know

Spreadsheets can seem like one of the most mystifying pieces of software you’ll encounter in your adult life. However, as scary as they can be, you can do an awful lot with just four simple skills.

How To Sort A List Randomly In Excel

Have a list of names in a spreadsheet and want to sort them into a random order? There’s no native function to do that in Excel, but you can achieve it with a little random number generation. Here’s how I do it.

Five Useful Microsoft Excel Tricks You’re Probably Not Using [Infographic]

If you’ve mastered the basics of Microsoft Excel and you’re looking to boost your spreadsheet skills, this visual guide explains some useful tips and shortcuts you may not have tried.

Google Sheets

This Spreadsheet Will Help You Choose The Best Intel CPU To Buy

Shopping for an Intel processor is no joke. There are enough that it can be confusing to buy the right one for your needs, whether you’re gaming, working, doing video editing, need something you can overclock, and so on. Luckily this video and spreadsheet — from Linus of LinusTechTips fame — breaks it all down nicely.

Send Gmail Messages To Evernote With A Google Sheet

You have a lot of different options for saving your Gmail messages to Evernote, but most of them require that you give a third-party access to your Google account. That should be fine enough, but if you’d prefer not to do that, Digital Inspiration shows you how to roll your own forwarding service.

Use Google Sheets As A Multilingual Chat Translator

Communicating with someone who speaks and writes in another language isn’t the easiest task. This Google Sheet incorporates Google Translate so you can have a real-time chat conversation with anybody in the world.

Make Anonymous, Collaborative YouTube Playlists From A Google Spreadsheet

Sometimes, you might want to create a big collaborative playlist of YouTube videos without it being tied to your Google account. Digital Inspiration shows off how to do this using a Google Spreadsheet.

Schedule Outgoing Gmail Messages With This Google Sheets Script

We’ve featured tools like Boomerang that allow you to send scheduled emails from Gmail before. However, it’s possible to do the same thing without any additional apps. Amit Agarwal of Digital Inspiration shows us how to do this with a Google Sheets script.


Use This Spreadsheet To Ensure You Sell Your Car For The Most Money

When it comes time to sell your car, you want to make sure you get as much money as possible without pricing yourself out of a possible sale. Use this simple spreadsheet to make sure you’ve accurately assessed the value.

Organise And Share Your Holiday Plans With This Spreadsheet

Travelling is a complicated ordeal. To make things simpler and help you communicate with loved ones, we’ve made a comprehensive travel info sheet you can modify, print out and share to help you keep everyone in the loop.

Partner Rejecting Your Sexual Advances? An ‘Excuses Spreadsheet’ Is Unlikely To Help

Here’s a life hack for the suicidally brave. A husband fed up with his wife’s diminished libido recently decided to keep a spreadsheet of all of the excuses she gave for not having sex. He then emailed her the damning litany to highlight just how often she had knocked back his sexual advances. If your partner never seems to be in the mood lately, maybe you should follow his example.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.

At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.