Tame your computer - workbook wizardry

In her regular series for Cambridge Network members - now in its 15th year - software training expert Karen Roem offers handy tips to help you 'Tame your computer'. This week she explains how to create and insert reusable pieces of content in a Microsoft Excel workbook - similar to Quick Parts in Word and Outlook.

Roem tip time logo

This week's tip has been inspired by one of my delegates last week, who liked the idea of Quick Parts in Word and Outlook and asked whether it was also available in Excel. (Thanks for the inspiration, Sonal.)

Well, I’m afraid not, although you can vote for the feature to be added in future releases using the official Office 365 feedback and suggestions site here.

In the meantime, there are two alternatives you might want to check out …

Set up automatic text replacement using AutoCorrect – ideal for short pieces of text

Here’s how:

1.       On the File tab, click on Options.

2.       Click on Proofing or type the letter p.

3.       Click on the AutoCorrect Options button.

4.       In the Replace box, type a word or abbreviation you want to use as the “shortcut”. For example, KR.

5.       In the With box, type or paste your preferred text. For example, Karen Roem.

6.       Click Add.

7.       Click OK twice.

In Microsoft 365 the entries in the AutoCorrect list are available across all Office programs that support the AutoCorrect feature. So next time you type KR followed by a space or tab or carriage return, it will change KR to Karen Roem in Excel, Word, Outlook and PowerPoint.


Record a macro – ideal for pictures and longer text (It’s easier done than said and you only have to do this once!)

Here’s how:

1.       If necessary, add the Developer tab to the ribbon by right-clicking anywhere on the Quick Access Toolbar and selecting Customize the Ribbon.

[[{"fid":"290615","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","alignment":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"screen shot","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"screen shot"},"link_text":false,"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","alignment":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"screen shot","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"screen shot"}},"attributes":{"alt":"screen shot","title":"screen shot","class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]]

2.       On the Developer tab, in the Code group, click Record Macro.

3.       Type a name for the macro, such as autocorrect.

4.       Press TAB and hold down, say, the SHIFT key and type the letter A to assign CTRL + SHIFT + A as a keyboard shortcut to run the macro.

5.       Press TAB and select Personal Macro Workbook to make the macro available whenever you use Excel. (Make sure to click Save when you close down Excel and see a prompt to save the changes you made to the Personal Macro Workbook.)

6.       Press ENTER or click OK.

7.       Type the text and/or insert the picture you want to be able to insert as a reusable piece of content.

8.       On the Developer tab, in the Code group, click Stop Recording.

In future, you can use the shortcut key you assigned in step 4 to insert the text and/or picture. But why not check out tip 619 and add the macro as a button on your Quick Access Toolbar.

Related tips


Read Karen's guest blog on this site: An unexpected outcome


11 January 2021

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


Looking for something specific?