Running or working at a digital agency often means you get to work on fun and varied projects that keep your working day interesting, but, like many other jobs, there are some administration elements that need to be taken care of.
One job that most agency staff can’t avoid is producing client reports, usually in Microsoft Excel. Whether it’s a link-building report, backlink analysis, outreach statement or ranking update, digital specialists will almost always need to produce spreadsheets for their paying clients.
So how you can make your client reports easier to produce? Rather than spending hours every week manually inputting data, there are a raft of time-saving tips and tricks you can use to make your regular reports much easier to produce. If you want more of these time-saving Excel features, check out this Excel infographic from STL, or hop on over to Microsoft’s Excel Tips and Tricks page.
- Using Cell Handles
Have you ever spotted that small square in the corner of selected cells? That’s called the cell handle, and it’s incredibly useful and time-saving. If you need to fill scores of cells in a column and they all need the same input (for example ‘URL’ in a client link report), instead of typing ‘URL’ into each one, or copying and pasting, just type it once, grab the cell handle and drag down across all the cells you want to populate. You’ve just filled every cell in the column without having to type more than once. Cell handles can also be used to extend formulas to different cells (great for balance sheets and profit and loss calculations).
- Flash Fill
One of my favourite Excel features, the Flash Fill allows you to fill a column with information, with Excel figuring out what you need based on a clever internal logic. Let’s say you have a column filled with site names without the .com address, and you want another with www. And .com before and after their names. Type it out the first one or two, and then hit CTRL + E to Flash Fill. Excel will figure out what you want in the other cells based on what you’ve already done! The more you do, the better it gets at predicting what you want, so if it doesn’t get it right the first time, hit Undo and then fill out a couple more cells and try again.
If you’ve put information in a row and you decide you want it in a column, use the Transpose feature instead of retyping everything. Select the row you want to move, right click and select Copy. Now highlight a new cell, right click and select Paste Special to get an options box. Check Transpose and hit OK and the data will be moved into a column for you.
There are scores of other incredibly useful and powerful features in Excel for you to take advantage of, so be sure to check out the links above to learn more.