Practice No 6009

Keeping Control

As a bit of an aside, I intend to talk a little about Spreadsheets, be it Excel, LibreCalc etc. I’ll add to this in later blogs, but to start with some (hopefully) useful advice.

I’m often asked in my travels what is the most useful function in Excel (as most people use that one).


There are many useful functions, be they IF, VLOOKUP, INDEX/MATCH, things like conditional formatting, but whichever one (or two if you nest them), all have the advantage of being tried and amended if they don’t perform, as you still have your workings that you can amend if necessary. There is one function that is much more basic than any formula, but that can prove invaluable and save hours of (re) work; the function I find most valuable is Ctrl-S.


It takes a fraction of a second to hover your fingers over the Control and S keys and press them both at once to save yourself potential heart stopping moments and half a day of work, because Excel, or your machine has crashed obliterating hours of work.


I have made it a habit to just press the above key combination every time I’ve entered a particularly complex or long piece of code or formula; equally, if I’ve just spent some time formatting a document. Yes, of course you can click on the save icon, but if you’re typing your formulae in, your fingers are probably near the Ctrl and S keys.

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