Computer Tips

When working (or playing) on your computer, you probably don’t think much about how you are going to clean up your files, backup your data, keep your system virus free, etc. However, these are tasks that need attention

Internet Tips

Spend much time surfing the web? If you do, you need to be wary of things that lurk on the dark side of the Internet. Not only are there viruses, hackers and spammers -- online predators and a bunch of evildoers are out there just waiting to pounce on teens in the digital world.

Computer Hardware Tips

Wipe the case and clear its ventilation ports of any obstructions. Compressed air is great for this, but don't blow dust into the PC or its optical and floppy drives. Keep all cables firmly attached to their connectors on the case.

Laptop Tips

Today's lithium batteries wear out no matter what you do, but you can postpone the inevitable. Avoid heat and use the battery as little as possible. If you're going to be running on AC power for awhile, shut down or hibernate the computer, remove the battery, and work without it.

Printing Tips

If you've tried your hand at printing your own photos and been disappointed in the results, you may be making some mistakes that are easy to correct.


Keyword Research - Effective For Domain Names

What is keyword research?

Keyword research is all about discovering exactly what it is that people are searching for, and then trying to rank highly (hopefully on the first page) for the search results of that term. This is really the foundation of your SEO strategy, so it's important to get keyword research right.

How To Find Your Best Keywords for SEO

Make a list of important, relevant topics based on what you know about your business. Think about the topics you want to rank for in terms of generic buckets. You'll come up with about 5-10 topic buckets you think are important to your business, and then you'll use those topic buckets to help come up with some specific keywords later in the process.

To do proper research, we need to be very clear on what our product is and we need to get quite specific so that we aren't trying to compete with too many other websites. It's generally better to rank highly for a search term that gets less searches than to rank on page 10 for a highly popular term - within reason, of course. There's no point ranking highly for something that only gets five searches a month.

How to Do Keyword Research

Google Keyword Planner

Google provides a free tool that will help us with much of our keyword research. Use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner to find new and related keywords, but ignore the search volume data! The search volume data in the planner is really only useful for keywords that you're actually spending money to advertise on. Otherwise, these volumes are not reliable. While not really helpful to decide which keyword is most used by your potential audience, Google AdWords Keyword Planner makes a useful tool in coming up with ideas for potential keywords!

How To Use Google Keyword Planner

When trying to access Google Keyword Planner, there is a very important step that needs to be taken. Keyword Planner is intended to help advertisers plan their Google AdWords campaigns by telling them exactly what people are searching for. you do now need to sign up for an AdWords account in order to get access to the Keyword Planner tool. Most people have a Google account already, so setting up an AdWords account takes just a few seconds, but this is where the crucial step lies.
1. Firstly you need to sign into your Google account.

2. Next, visit and click on the "Start Now" button.

3. IMPORTANT: On the next page, you'll be presented with a screen that asks for some basic information about your business. You MUST click the link that says "skip guided setup." If you do not click this link then you will be, for reasons only Google knows, forced into creating and paying for an ad before you get access to the Keyword Planner tool.

We don't want to do that. This small oddity caught my attention and led me to forums full of other frustrated people facing the same issue. There apparently is no way to go back once you have passed over this first page, so do not miss the link and do not explore the further pages expecting to be able to click back later.

Once you've input your initial keywords into Keyword Planner, you'll get a result that tells you, on average, how many times that phrase was searched for in your chosen region. Beneath this will be some further suggestions for similar keywords that you might want to consider as well.
After you've decided on the best keywords to target for your page, you want to make sure you use them in your content, your meta description and even the URL if possible. Google is pretty clever these days, though, so don't keyword spam with page titles

Keep the phrases genuine and your site will look all the more professional to your potential customers. And don't forget image file names as a place to use your keywords, as well as the image ALT text, which can be easily edited in the media insertion panel for WordPress posts and pages.

Other Keyword Research Tools

Keyword Planner isn't the only keyword research tool you can use. Here are a few other common tools:

1.) WordStream's Keyword Tool (free)

Of course I could never forget WordStream's keyword tool for both SEO and PPC keyword research.

The WordStream keyword tool allows you to target certain niches (groups of related keywords), gives you further suggestions, and also allows you to group them based off of a common theme for easy ad group launches.

2.) Moz Bar

Moz Bar is a free tool is a Firefox or Chrome browser extension that performs a ton of analysis on the pages you visit. It's a great tool for checking out competitors' websites in order to get a better idea of what you're up against when you try and outrank them in the SERP (search engine result page).

Moz Keyword Difficulty Analysis

Moz's paid Keyword Difficulty and SERP Analysis Tool uses all of the backlink and search data they have to provide you with a simple score that aims to define the difficulty of ranking for a particular keyword with your domain. It's probably the easiest and fastest way to do serious initial keyword research, but it does come at a price. If your time is valuable, though, this might be an option to look into.

3.) Soovle (free)

If you have multiple channels you wish to do keyword research for and want to sound like an idiot explaining the pronunciation of this tool to your watercooler buddies, then Soovle is a perfect fit.

Soovle allows you to explore the most typed in keywords on multiple search engines based on the keyword root you give it. It even includes Amazon and eBay.

Not only is it a great keyword research tool to use, but it's also a great brainstormer as you can slowly start typing in your ideas and allow it to auto-generate its own ideas.

4.) Ubersuggest (free)

Meet the keyword research tool on steroids, Ubersuggest.

Ubersuggest takes any keyword you give it and immediately gives you an almost unlimited list of alphabetized and numerical keyword variations of your original keyword.

5.) Competitor Source Code (free)

This might not be the best and most fruitful keyword research tool but it allows you to see what meta keywords your competitors could be using to try to rank organically.

Since I use Google Chrome as my browser, it's super simple to right-click on a site and select "View Page Source."


By understanding and applying the basics of keyword research, you can make a steady and realistic climb up the search rankings. This will enable you to drive traffic to your website and attract new customers even while you're not working.


5 Bad Computer Habits To Break

We’ve all come to recognize our computers as being valuable tools for business and pleasure.  Keeping your computer working well for you requires some awareness and responsibility.  Here are 5 bad habits that many computer users should be aware of and break.

Not Backing Up Your Data Regularly

This is just tempting fate.  Eventually, all computers will fail for some reason or another.  Whether it is a maintenance issue, longevity or your computer burns up in a fire, computers will not last forever.  However, anything you create on your computer can and should be saved.

Your data includes: pictures, videos, emails, documents, lists, spreadsheets, bookmarks, favorites, etc.

Though programs cannot be saved, they can be easily reinstalled if you have:

    The name of the program to re-download or the disk to re-install
    The software installation key

Use Belarc Advisor to help you automatically backup your software installation keys.

Common programs include:

    Operating Systems
    Antivirus and other Malware Protection software
    Microsoft Word, MS Office or other word processing program
    Individual programs you may use such as Accounting Programs, Graphic/Picture Editing software, etc.
    Upgrades and patches to software

If your data is valuable to you- family pictures, business reports, etc. – keep them close to you and backed up in 2 locations: locally on an external device or disk, and off-site (such as in cloud storage such as Dropbox or with an online service such as Carbonite).

Unorganized Files

Keeping your data organized will help prevent you from being frustrated and inefficient with your time.  The importance of knowing where your data is comes in handy when you need to find it as a reference or to share with someone else.  By default, pictures will be saved in your computer’s “Picture” folder and documents will be saved in your computer’s “Documents” folder.

If you would like to have more specialized places to keep your data, be sure to create new folders and sub-folders and name each of them appropriately.  A good idea to start is to keep one or a couple of Main Folders on your desktop for easy access.  Within the main folders, you can then create sub-folders to further organize your data.

Here are some examples of creating a hierarchy of Folders and Sub-folders for you to more easily navigate your data:

On your desktop:


Within each of these main folders, you may want to create sub-folders such as:

    Household –> pictures, videos, music, recipes, gardening tips, etc.
    Business –> records, invoices, emails, to-do lists, spreadsheets, etc.
    Personal –> pictures, bank and account information, journal/blog, etc.

To further organize your information, you can continue to create sub-folders within folders ad infinitum.  This is especially handy for organizing pictures, archiving records and categorizing music.

Organizing your data also helps you know where your important information is for when you regularly back it up.
Un-Managed and Under-Rated Passwords

Passwords are the keys to your private information on the computer.  If you leave your keys laying around or make simply-crafted keys that are easy to replicate, you are baiting fate.   Compromising your password security will cost you undue frustration, time and sometimes even money.
Tips for managing passwords:

    Have different passwords for different sites you use
    Keep a hand-written book of your passwords  and websites associated with them in your home
    Choose difficult combinations of letters, numbers, symbols and cases
    Change your passwords every 3-6 months and write down the new passwords in your book
    For more computer password tips, read our article, “Most Popular Passwords for 2012: Don’t Use These!”

Ignoring Error Messages, Dialogue Boxes And Postponing Updates

It is important to read the information in dialogue boxes before clicking OK, Cancel, Run, Save, Continue or any other options.  Sometimes this results in installing or enabling unwanted programs and add-ons such as malware, ad-ware, toolbars and other junk.

If your computer is giving you an error message that you do not understand, either copy and paste it and put the phrase into a Google Search, or write it down and call Christopher’s Computers at 828-670-9800.  We will help you figure out what is going on with your computer.

When your computer asks you to update a program, be sure that you know these things before agreeing:

    Do I recognize and use this program?
    Are there any other programs or applications that are attaching itself to this update that I do not want?

Wonder what to update?  Read our article on “Where Did That Program Come From” for more information on the top 3 programs that you should keep updated regularly.
Misuse of Computer’s Purpose

Your computer is a very delicate, complex and incredible tool.  We often take for granted the value that our computers give us until something goes wrong.  Here are some reminders that sometimes we forget:

    Do not use your laptop as a food tray.
    Keep your pets and sticky fingers away from bumping and touching your computer.
    Do not have liquids near your computer.

Respect your computer’s fragility.  Do not stack things on top of your laptop.  Make sure to free paper clips, pens and other things before you close the lid to your laptop.  Ensure your computer has enough ventilation.  Keep desktops from being sandwiched too close to walls, furniture and tightly enclosed areas; laptops to be used on a hard surface away from bunched up clothes and blankets.  Keep your computer’s area free of dust and pet hair.
Noticing bad habits are the first step in breaking them.

If you catch yourself in one of these bad habits, use the opportunity as a tool to help you break it.  By being aware and being pro-active, you can protect your computer and save yourself much frustration, time and energy in the future.

9 Useful Keyboard Shortcuts

Whether it is writing a paper for class, a document for colleagues or an article for your blog, there are a few useful keyboard shortcuts that will help save you time and frustration when you are composing on your computer.  Using computer keyboard shortcuts is also especially helpful when you do not have a working mouse, or if your computer seems to be otherwise frozen.

Ctrl-S will Save your document

SAVE OFTEN: This is rule number one when you are creating a document.  Whether you are composing while typing or re-typing a paper document onto the computer to digitize it, saving often while you work will keep ensure your hard work is safely kept in the memory of your computer.  This is especially useful if the power blinks out while you are working, or if your cat decides to walk across your keyboard and suddenly everything you were typing is just completely gone.

Ctrl-X will Cut the highlighted section of text

When you have either a single word, a phrase or paragraphs of information, you can easily cut out one section at a time using Ctrl-X.  Cutting the text will take the selected text out of your document and will keep it on your clipboard until you have copied or cut another piece of information.

Ctrl-C will Copy the highlighted section of text

Highlight a single word, phrase, paragraphs or pages of information and then hold down Ctrl-C to copy it onto your virtual clipboard.  “Copying” your selected text will keep the original document intact and unchanged, unlike “Cutting,” which removes the selected text from the original document.

Ctrl-V will Paste the previously cut or copied section

Wherever the cursor is placed within the document, the most recent “copy” will appear within the document.  Use the Paste option regularly when completing multiple repetitious documents such as address label templates.

Ctrl-P will Print your document to the assigned printer

Be sure that you have your printer already assigned to your computer when you use this shortcut. This shortcut will not work if you do not have your printer networked with your computer.  If you are having trouble getting your printer installed, contact us for help.

Ctrl-Z will Undo your last bit of typing

“Undo” is an especially helpful feature if you’ve highlighted and then deleted a large selection of text by accident.  Often, clicking Ctrl-Z with the Alt tab will allow you to go back and undo more than one step.

Ctrl-Y will Repeat your previously bit of typing

“Repeat” will re-do your undo.  The program will re-type whatever was last input as many times as you re-click “Y” while you are holding down the Control key.
Alt-Tab will Minimize the document

Utilizing a shortcut to minimize your document makes it easier to navigate through multiple windows and multiple documents that you may be using for a project.
Alt-F4 will Close the program

If your computer freezes up, the mouse will not work and there is no other way to close your program, hold down the Alt key and press the F4 key in the upper row of the keyboard.  This shortcut will not save any recent work that you’ve been doing prior to closing, so be sure you click Ctrl-S prior to Alt-F4!

Practice using these shortcuts for greater efficiency when creating documents on your computer.   In time, these keyboard shortcuts will become a familiar habit and then you will be ready to learn even more:

Ctrl-B = toggle for Bold

Ctrl-I = toggle for Italics

Ctrl-U = toggle for Underline


How to Stay Safe When Using Public Wi-Fi

How to Stay Safe When Using Public Wi-Fi

Whilst Wi-Fi is undoubtedly incredibly useful for modern businesses and web users seeking to access the Internet when out and about, many people don’t realize that it can also pose quite a substantial security risk. That’s why we’ve written this piece focusing on the different ways in which you can keep your device secure whilst using a public WIFI spot, whether you’re using a new HP or a new Lenovo laptop tablet combo or a standard smartphone.
 Turn off the sharing features
It’s important to edit your sharing settings before you log onto any public Wi-Fi. Not doing so may allow anyone else using it to potentially access your computer or mobile device.Things that should be turned off include remote logins and the sharing of any music, printers or files. These can all be stopped by accessing the advanced sharing settings within the Network and Internet Settings in the control panel. On Macs, it’s a matter of simply going to system preferences, then to the Sharing tab and un-checking all of the options.

Use a VPN

A Virtual Private Network routes the traffic through a secure connection even when the actual web is powered by a public Wi-Fi, making it perfect for helping to increase the security of a the computer. Preferably, a paid Wi-Fi is a good idea for anyone that wants to absolutely guarantee security but there are also some free half-decent ones out there.

Don’t connect automatically

Many modern smartphones actually connect automatically to the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot without asking, which should be avoided. Double check the Wi-Fi settings of your handset to make sure that any options to disable auto-connection are turned off. Not doing so could theoretically mean that your device automatically connects to a malicious network without you realising.

Try and use HTTPS

HTTPS is a form of encryption that many websites use in order to keep the connection secure. (For instance, it’s used by banks and online retailers, who have to be safe if they’re to maintain the trust of their customers). Fortunately, there is an actual browser plugin that enables users to use an HTTPS connection every single time they visit a website. It’s called HTTPS Everywhere and it’s highly recommended for those that use public Wi-Fi frequently.

Use two-factor identification where possible

Two-factor identification has become more and more frequent in recent months, with companies keen to enhance their security processes. Two factor simply involves requiring two passwords to log-in, with a standard password usually matched with a code being sent to the user’s phone, which is then entered in. Without the user’s phone, a hacker will be unable to log into a two factor account, upping the security of it considerably.

Make sure you double check the network name

Anyone who regularly checks into free Wi-Fi will know that there are usually a number of different networks ready to go. It’s important to make sure that you don’t log into a fake one. Someone trying to catch people out in McDonalds (to use a hypothetical example) might set up a network called ‘MacD Wi-Fi’ in the vicinity of one of the restaurants. Those that think they’re using a legitimate hotspot would then log-in to a malicious network without realizing. Always double check that you’re connecting to the right network.
I know these tips are just few among many that you can use, but I have to leave the decision to you now! So, what are other effective security technique you’ve used in the past that worth sharing?


15 Keyboard Shortcuts

15 Keyboard Shortcuts You Probably Don't Know 

 Navigate your computer more easily with the push of a few buttons.

Most expert computer users know the basic keyboard shortcuts, like pressing Control (Ctrl) + P on a PC to print a document. But did you know there are plenty of other useful—not to mention pretty darn cool—key combinations out there? From instantly zooming in to a larger view to quickly closing your browser window, these shortcuts will put the World Wide Web and more at your fingertips—because every second counts.

1. Add a Bookmark

Tab your new favorite website for easy access by bookmarking the page with the following quick trick.
PC: Ctrl + D
Mac: Apple key (see right) + D

2. Delete Forever

When you know you want to nix a file forever—instead of sending it to clog up the recycling bin first––tap the keys below.
PC: Shift + Delete

3. Close Browser

Whether your boss walks up while you're reading gossip blogs or your husband comes in the room while you're buying him a gift, close your browser, stat, with this shortcut.
PC: Alt + F4
Mac: Ctrl + Q

4. Show Desktop

If you have lots of windows open on your computer and you want quick access to your desktop—or a super-quick way to hide your work—hit the following keys.
PC: Window key (see right) + D
Mac: F11

5. Find Files or Folders

Forget painstakingly searching all of your folders to find one file. The shortcut below will do the searching for you.
PC: Window key + F
Mac: Apple key (see right) + F

6. Change Zoom Level

Whether you're working on the Web or in a word processing program, zoom in or out with this command.
PC: Ctrl + scroll mouse wheel
Mac: Apple key + plus sign; Apple key + minus sign

7. Reopen Previous Tab in Browser

Have you ever accidentally closed the browser tab you were looking at and had to spend time backtracking to find it again? The shortcut below will restore that page to you almost instantly.
PC: Ctrl + Shift + T
Mac: Apple key + Z

8. Switch Between Open Programs

Navigating between open screens can get confusing. Make it easy to move among all your programs with this quick trick.
PC: Alt + Tab
Mac: Apple key + Tab

9. Take a Screen Shot

Capture an image of what you're working on instantly with a screen grab—it's particularly useful for Web pages you can't copy and paste.
PC: Print Screen (then paste [Ctrl + V] into a Word document)
Mac: Apple key + Shift + 3

10. Refresh a Webpage

Whether you're waiting for a new email to arrive or the latest news story to pop up, easily refresh your screen using the keys below.
PC: F5, or Ctrl + R
Mac: Apple key + R

11. Go to a Previous Location in Browser

Time travel with the neat shortcut below, which lets you quickly go back to the webpage you were looking at before your current one.
PC: Alt + ←
Mac: Apple key + [

12. Spelling/Grammar Check

No more excuses: Perfect spelling and grammar is just one keystroke away.
PC or Mac: F7

13. Add "http://www" to Your Browser's Address Bar

The quickest route to your online destination? Just type in the name of the webpage you'd like to go to (for example, type "Google"), then press the following keys to add the "http://www." to the beginning and ".com" to the end.
PC: Ctrl + Enter
Mac: Apple key + Enter

14. Select the Address Bar

When you want to quickly type a new URL into your browser, the shortcut below will easily select the address bar for you, so you can start typing without moving your mouse.
PC: Ctrl + L, or F6
Mac: Apple key + L

15. Launch the Windows Start Menu

Just tap the keys below for an easy way to view your Start Menu options.
PC: Window key, or Ctrl + Esc



How to Use Excel

How to Use Excel: 14 Simple Excel Shortcuts, Tips & Tricks

Sometimes, Excel seems too good to be true. All I have to do is enter a formula, and pretty much anything I'd ever need to do manually can be done automatically. Need to merge two sheets with similar data? Excel can do it. Need to do simple math? Excel can do it. Need to combine information in multiple cells? Excel can do it.

1) Pivot Tables

Pivot Tables are used to reorganize data in a spreadsheet. They won't change the data that you have, but they can sum up values and compare different information in your spreadsheet, depending on what you'd like them to do.
Let's take a look at an example. Let's say I want to take a look at how many people are in each house at Hogwarts. You may be thinking that I don't have too much data, but for longer data sets, this will come in handy.
To create the Pivot Table, I go to Data > Pivot Table. Excel will automatically populate your Pivot Table, but you can always change around the order of the data. Then, you have four options to choose from.
  1. Report Filter: This allows you to only look at certain rows in your dataset. For example, if I wanted to create a filter by house, I could choose to only include students in Gryffindor instead of all students.
  2. Column Labels: These could be your headers in the dataset.
  3. Row Labels: These could be your rows in the dataset. Both Row and Clumn labels can contain data from your columns (e.g. First Name can be dragged to either the Row or Column label -- it just depends on how you want to see the data.)
  4. Value: This section allows you to look at your data differently. Instead of just pulling in any numeric value, you can sum, count, average, max, min, count numbers, or do a few other manipulations with your data. In fact, by default, when you drag a field to Value, it always does a count.
Since I want to count the number of students in each house, I'll go to the Pivot Table and drag the House column to both the Row Labels and the Values. This will sum up the number of students associated with each house.




2) Add More Than One New Row or Column

As you play around with your data, you might find you're constantly needing to add more rows and columns. Sometimes, you may even need to add hundreds of rows. Doing this one-by-one would be super tedious. Luckily, there's always an easier way.
To add multiple rows or columns in a spreadsheet, highlight the same number of preexisting rows or columns that you want to add. Then, right-click and select "Insert."
In the example below, I want to add an additional three rows. By highlighting three rows and then clicking insert, I'm able to add an additional three blank rows into my spreadsheet quickly and easily.

3) Filters

When you're looking at very large data sets, you don't usually need to be looking at every single row at the same time. Sometimes, you only want to look at data that fit into certain criteria. That's where filters come in.
Filters allow you to pare down your data to only look at certain rows at one time. In Excel, a filter can be added to each column in your data -- and from there, you can then choose which cells you want to view at once.
Let's take a look at the example below. Add a filter by clicking the Data tab and selecting "Filter." Clicking the arrow next to the column headers and you'll be able to choose whether you want your data to be organizing in ascending or descending order, as well as which specific rows you want to show.
In my Harry Potter example, let's say I only want to see the students in Gryffindor. By selecting the Gryffindor filter, the other rows disappear.

4) Remove Duplicates

Larger data sets tend to have duplicate content. You may have a list of multiple contacts in a company and only want to see the number of companies you have. In situations like this, removing the duplicates comes in quite handy.
To remove your duplicates, highlight the row or column that you want to remove duplicates of. Then, go to the Data tab, and select "Remove Duplicates" (under Tools). A pop-up will appear to confirm which data you want to work with. Select "Remove Duplicates," and you're good to go.You can also use this feature to remove an entire row based on a duplicate column value. So if you have three rows with Harry Potter's information and you only need to see one, then you can select the whole dataset and then remove duplicates based on email. Your resulting list will have only unique names without any duplicates.

5) Transpose

When you have low rows of data in your spreadsheet, you might decide you actually want to transform the items in one of those rows into columns (or vice versa). It would take a lot of time to copy and paste each individual header -- but what the transpose feature allows you to do is simply move your row data into columns, or the other way around.
Start by highlighting the column that you want to transpose into rows. Right-click it, and then select "Copy." Next, select the cells on your spreadsheet where you want your first row or column to begin. Right-click on the cell, and then select "Paste Special." A module will appear -- at the bottom, you'll see an option to transpose. Check that box and select OK. Your column will now be transferred to a row or vise versa.

6) Text to Columns

What if you want to split out information that's in one cell into two different cells? For example, maybe you want to pull out someone's company name through their email address. Or perhaps you want to separate someone's full name into a first and last name for your email marketing templates.
Thanks to Excel, both are possible. First, highlight the column that you want to split up. Next, go to the Data tab and select "Text to Columns." A module will appear with additional information.
First, you need to select either "Delimited" or "Fixed Width."
  • "Delimited" means you want to break up the column based on characters such as commas, spaces, or tabs.
  • "Fixed Width" means you want to select the exact location on all the columns that you want the split to occur.
In the example case below, let's select "Delimited" so we can separate the full name into first name and last name.
Then, it's time to choose the Delimiters. This could be a tab, semi-colon, comma, space, or something else. ("Something else" could be the "@" sign used in an email address, for example.) In our example, let's choose the space. Excel will then show you a preview of what your new columns will look like.
When you're happy with the preview, press "Next." This page will allow you to select Advanced Formats if you choose to. When you're done, click "Finish."

Excel Formulas

7) Simple Calculations

In addition to doing pretty complex calculations, Excel can help you do simple arithmetic like adding, subtracting, multiplying, or dividing any of your data.
  • To add, use the + sign.
  • To subtract, use the - sign.
  • To multiply, use the * sign.
  • To divide, use the / sign.
You can also use parenthesis to ensure certain calculations are done first. In the example below (10+10*10), the second and third 10 were multipled together before adding the additional 10. However, if we made it (10+10)*10, the first and second 10 would be added together first.
Bonus: If you want the average of a set of numbers, you can use the formula =AVERAGE(Cell Range). If you want to sum up a column of numbers, you can use the formula =SUM(Cell Range).

8) Conditional Formatting Formula

Conditional formatting allows you to change a cell's color based on the information within the cell. For example, if you want to flag certain numbers that are above average or in the top 10% of the data in your spreadsheet, you can do that. If you want to color code commonalities between different rows in Excel, you can do that. This will help you quickly see information the is important to you.
To get started, highlight the group of cells you want to use conditional formatting on. Then, choose "Conditional Formatting" from the Home menu and select your logic from the dropdown. (You can also create your own rule if you want something different.) A window will pop up that prompts you to provide more information about your formatting rule. Select "OK" when you're done, and you should see your results automatically appear.

9) IF Statement

Sometimes, we don't want to count the number of times a value appears. Instead, we want to input different information into a cell if there is a corresponding cell with that information.
For example, in the situation below, I want to award ten points to everyone who belongs in the Gryffindor house. Instead of manually typing in 10's next to each Gryffindor student's name, I can use the IF THEN Excel formula to say that if the student is in Gryffindor, then they should get ten points.
The formula: IF(logical_test, value_if_true, value of false)
Example Shown Below: =IF(D2="Gryffindor","10","0")
In general terms, the formula would be IF(Logical Test, value of true, value of false). Let's dig into each of these variables.
  • Logical_Test: The logical test is the "IF" part of the statement. In this case, the logic is D2="Gryffindor" because we want to make sure that the cell corresponding with the student says "Gryffindor." Make sure to put Gryffindor in quotation marks here.
  • Value_if_True: This is what we want the cell to show if the value is true. In this case, we want the cell to show "10" to indicate that the student was awarded the 10 points. Only use quotation marks if you want the result to be text instead of a number.
  • Value_if_False: This is what we want the cell to show if the value is false. In this case, for any student not in Gryffindor, we want the cell to show "0" to show 0 points. Only use quotation marks if you want the result to be text instead of a number.

10) Dollar Signs

Have you ever seen a dollar sign in an Excel formula? When used in a formula, it isn't representing an American dollar; instead, it makes sure that the exact column and row are held the same even if you copy the same formula in adjacent rows.
You see, a cell reference -- when you refer to cell A5 from cell C5, for example -- is relative by default. In that case, you're actually referring to a cell that's five columns to the left (C minus A) and in the same row (5). This is called a relative formula. When you copy a relative formula from one cell to another, it'll adjust the values in the formula based on where it's moved. But sometimes, we want those values to stay the same no matter whether they're moved around or not -- and we can do that by making the formula in the cell into what's called an absolute formula.
To change the relative formula (=A5+C5) into an absolute formula, we'd precede the row and column values by dollar signs, like this: (=$A$5+$C$5). (Learn more on Microsoft Office's support page here.)