Data entry – the heart of Excel – is one of the most monotonous and tedious business processes. Every business has to deal with some kind of data entry work such as product catalogues, order entry, invoice entry, customer database and so on which takes up significant time and effort. So, to save the effort and time taken and to maintain a decent quality of data, most organizations outsource their bulk data entry to experienced data entry companies. These companies make sure that the entered data is accurate because inaccurate entry of data can lead to serious problems like poor decision-making, additional errors, inefficiency, and costs.

For any business, information quality is of utmost importance because this same information may form the basis for many important management decisions. Moreover, when dealing with data – especially those made available to the public – businesses cannot compromise on the quality as it would adversely affect their reputation too. Therefore, while handling data entry, ensure you are entering data into your worksheets quickly and accurately.

As MS Excel Spreadsheet is an amazing tool for organizing data, most of the data entries are done on this platform. With certain smart excel tips, shortcuts and tricks we can make data entry more streamlined and productive. They are:

  • Customize the Movement of the Cell Cursor: Data entry operators can get distracted when the cursor takes position in the cell down the last one when they press the enter key. They may need to make an entry in the next column rather than the row, and then this could be rather frustrating. To avoid such distractions, follow these tips:
    • Click on the ‘File’ menu, choose ‘File Options’ and Select ‘Advanced’ from the left-side list.
    • Under the Editing Option header, click on the check box ‘After pressing cursor, move selection’.
    • Select ‘Down’ from its drop-down list.

    Now, the disabled check box will let the user move the cursor as per their needs.

  • customize movement cursor

  • Create a Drop-Down List: For consistent data, maintain your data in drop-down list, which is very simple and quick to do. The steps include:
    • Create a spreadsheet with the item that you want to pick in your drop-down list.
    • Select a cell in the current sheet where you want the drop-down list.
    • Now go to the menu, and open toolbar.
    • Go to the ‘Data’ option, select ‘Data Tools’ option and then, ‘Data Validation’.
    • drop down list

    • Click on settings in the given dialog box.
    • Click on ‘Allow’ for creating the list.
    • create list

    • Now, go to the source box for mentioning the range which you want to be in list.
    • Examine if the ‘In-Cell Drop Down’ is checked.
    • Then, click OK.

    in cell drop down

  • Use Shortcut Keys: To complete the data entry task quickly, make use of shortcut keys. Some common and important shortcut keys are:
    • TAB: Move the cursor to the next cell.
    • Shift+TAB: Return to the previous input cell.
    • Ctrl+A: For selecting the entire page.
    • Ctrl+B: Bold the data in the cell.
    • Ctrl+C: Copies the selected data.
    • Ctrl+V: Paste copied data to the cell.
    • Ctrl+Z: Undo the last action.
    • Ctrl+; (semicolon): Insert current day’s date into the cell.
    • Ctrl+Shift+; (semicolon): Insert current time into the cell
    • Ctrl+Shift+Z: Reverse the last undo action.
    • Alt+TAB: Switch between all opened windows.
    • ESC: Cancels the current cell entry.
  • Store Data in ‘Data Table’: If you want to enhance the speed and accuracy of your data entry, make use of ‘Data Table’ for storing data. Data table will also enable data entry operators to have a quick glance of the elements once they are done.
  • Format and Export Data at Single Click: It is possible to format and export data at a single click in table tools. For that, you have to:
    • Click on the ‘Table’ option in the standard toolbar
    • Format the table by adding filters
    • Sort options or add more than one table in a sheet.

    In place of cell references, the user can put some desirable and meaningful data in the formula bar and it will perform the same function as in the case of cell references.

  • Quickly Shift through Multiple Pages in Spreadsheet with a Keyboard: If you have multiple pages in spreadsheets in excel, simply use Shift+Page Up/Down key to move quickly.
  • Create a Series: If you want to mention a series of data -such as 1 to 100 numbers or total dates in a month – there is no need to go to every cell and enter it individually. Instead, there is a time-saving trick that will help you fill the data in a blink. Follow a few steps:
    • Type the starting value in a cell
    • Select the cell and choose Home tab Fill > Series

      fill series

    • From the Series in the area, select to fill into Rows or Columns.
    • Select Linear, Growth, Date, or Auto Fill.
    • Next set the Step Value – the value between sequential numbers
    • Specify the stop value in the Stop Value box.

      stop value box

    • Press OK when you are done

      values parameters

    Now Excel will enter as many values to complete the series according to the parameters given.

Though there are many key elements that determine the quality of your business data – such as relevance, accuracy, legibility, accessibility, completeness and timeliness – accuracy is the most important element that determines the quality of data. Follow these data entry shortcuts which are effective in making the data entry jobs faster and more accurate. Or, simply rely on an experienced data entry company and outsource your bulk data entry tasks to ensure accurate and timely completion.

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