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Weekly Computer Tip # 146
11 March 2006

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new shortcut to filter out unwanted data (Microsoft Excel 2003)

Although I don't like filling the weekly tips with PR, I want to draw your attention to the popular Excel seminar, to be held at Møller Centre in Cambridge on 11 May. Are you looking to excel with Excel, but the very thought of spending a day in front of a computer in a classroom puts you off? Perhaps you don't want to spend time entering data, correcting mistakes and feel as if you are slowing everyone else down? Or perhaps you are happy to experiment on your own and don't want to wait for slower delegates to catch up? Join me for a lively mix of demonstrations and business examples and go back with a seminar handout and CD packed with exercise files to practice what you've learnt at your own pace in your own time. (And if you've been ... don't keep me a secret and pass this information on to colleagues or friends.) You can reserve your seat for the seminar right now for GBP187. (After 31 March your investment will be GBP247.) For more information see http://www.roem.co.uk/handsoff_excel110506.html.

Now on with the tip, a sneak preview of one of the 15 tricks of the trade I will demystify on 11 May ... use Excel's database features to quickly retrieve data and manipulate lists.

A list, sometimes called a database, serves as an electronic filing system. The information can be sorted, filtered, and otherwise manipulated according to your specific needs. An example of a list might be a detailed listing of company employees, including their names, addresses, titles, salaries, and so on or a sales database, listing the sales people and the products and prices of the products they sell.

Excel's AutoFilter feature makes it extremely easy to filter out unwanted data in a list. For example, from your sales database, filter out those records for one of your sales staff only.

Here's how:

  1. Select any cell in the data list.
  2. Press CTRL + L. (Alternatively choose the Data, Filter, AutoFilter command if you are still using Excel 2000 or prefer using the menus.)

The selected range of data is highlighted and "AutoFilter" arrows appear beside the column headers. Simply click on the appropriate arrow(s) and select the filter condition(s).

To remove the filter, choose the AutoFilter arrow(s) and choose All. Choose the Data, Filter, AutoFilter command to switch filtering off completely.

Until next week.

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PS I’m committed to sharing the best of what I know with others so please don’t keep me a secret. If you enjoyed today’s tip, please forward it to anyone you feel may benefit. Alternatively, feel free to reprint it (with full copyright and subscription information) in your newsletters and message boards.

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March 2006