Tame your computer: Reducing the strain


In a new weekly series for Cambridge Network members, software training expert Karen Roem offers handy tips to help you 'Tame your computer'.

This week she explains how to work faster and smarter in Microsoft Excel ...

I'm sure we all agree that we benefit immensely from computer technology, especially once we have discovered what our software can do to keep us on top of the mountain of information we need to do our daily work.

One of the downsides of this computer age, though, is Repetitive Strain Injury, a problem that occurs when a person makes too many of the same motions over a long period of time, common among those of us who use a computer mouse extensively. The Repetitive Strain Injury Association in London recommends experimenting with reducing the number of clicks and avoiding using the mouse as much as possible.

My tips are therefore packed with ways to help you work faster and smarter by using keyboard shortcuts. Once you have learned them, you will be much faster, but more importantly, they place much less strain on your arms than mouse use.

One of my favourite keyboard shortcuts is one I use in Microsoft Excel to create a chart quickly without using the Chart Wizard.

Using Excel you can easily make graphic representations of your worksheet data, which is often a good way to visualise information. To create a chart, you must first enter the data for the chart on the worksheet. Then select that data and use the Chart Wizard to step through the process of choosing the chart type and the various chart options. However,

Did you know ...

You can create a chart quickly without using the Chart Wizard.

Here's how:

1. Select the range containing the data that is to appear in the chart

2. Press F11

This creates a separate chart sheet, using the default chart type, which you can modify as normal.

Try it out and you'll be surprised to see the time you save. You probably know it takes about 21 days to break a habit and replace it with a new one (Why 21 days? Who knows, but it works!) - so stick at it!

* Unless stated otherwise, these tips were written for Microsoft Office 2000. Most of what is covered however will also apply to earlier and later versions.

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20 January 2005

Karen Roem offers software training and support through her company Roem Ltd.

Contact her by email Karen@roem.co.uk or visit her website at www.roem.co.uk.


Karen Roem
Microsoft Office-ionado

Roem Ltd – software training and support