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Excel 2010: The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonald

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Handy Timesavers

Some of Excel's frills can make your life easier when you're entering data in a worksheet. This section covers four such timesaving features: AutoComplete, AutoCorrect, AutoFill, and AutoFit.

Note

Excel really has two types of automatic features. First off, there are features that do things to your spreadsheets automatically, namely AutoComplete and AutoCorrect. Sometimes that's cool and convenient, but other times it can send you running for the old manual typewriter. Fortunately, you can turn off both. Excel also has "auto" features that really aren't that automatic. These include AutoFill and AutoFit, which never run on their own.

Tweaking the regional settings on your computer gives you complete control over how Excel recognizes dates. Use the drop-down lists to specify the date separator, order of month, day, and year components in a date, and how Excel should interpret two-digit years. You can mix and match these settings freely, although you could wind up with a computer that's completely counterintuitive to other people.

Figure 2-7. Tweaking the regional settings on your computer gives you complete control over how Excel recognizes dates. Use the drop-down lists to specify the date separator, order of month, day, and year components in a date, and how Excel should interpret two-digit years. You can mix and match these settings freely, although you could wind up with a computer that's completely counterintuitive to other people.

AutoComplete

Some worksheets require that you type in the same information row after row. For example, if you're creating a table to track the value of all your Sesame Street collectibles, you can type in Kermit only so many times before you start turning green. Excel tries to help you out with its AutoComplete feature, which examines ...

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