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Microsoft Excel: 5 Things You Should Know How to Do 
by Keith Johnson June 22, 2005

Learning these simple tasks can save you time and increase your productivity.

1) How to Change the Number of Default Sheets

When you open a new workbook, it contains three spreadsheets by default. But did you know you can change this number? Here’s how:

  1. Go to Tools-->Options and click the General tab.
  2. Under Settings/Sheets in new workbook, click the arrows on the right of the list box to either increase or decrease the default number of sheets.
  3. Click OK.

2) How to Name a Range

A range like A12312:P17175 can be pretty awkward to use in a formula. You can simplify things by giving the range a name instead:

  1. Select your range.
  2. Go to Insert-->Name-->Define…
  3. In the Define Name dialog box, type the name of your range in the Names in workbook section. Also, make sure your selected range is properly reflected in the Refers to section.
  4. Click OK.

Just use the name in place of the range. For example, you can add the values in a range named Numbers like this:


3) How to Create a Constant

A constant is a value, often a measurement, that doesn’t change. A user typically places the constant in a cell, hide the row containing the cell, and then create formulas referencing the cell’s location. But this method is dangerous. What if someone accidentally deletes the hidden row? Any formula using the constant will get the #REF error. A safer way is to give the constant a name:

  1. Go to Insert-->Name-->Define…
  2. In the Define Name dialog box, enter the name of the constant in the Names in Workbook section.
  3. In the Refers to section, type an equal sign and then the value of the constant.
  4. Click OK.

Here’s an example of a formula that multiplies a constant named PI (with a value of 3.14) by five, and divides the result by three:

= (5 * PI)/3



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