How to avoid most common mistakes in Excel

Doing good work means accurate and on time. While most of the tips on this website is about doing things faster and smarter, this article is dedicated to how to catch mistakes in Exce:

  1. Sum check. Do the sum of the numbers on excel equal to sum of the tables you were entering? The check is easy. In 2007 and above, just highlight the numbers and you will see a sum on bottom right. In older versions, the sum must first be set in the status bar, and then highlighting the cells will work like a charm.
  2. Row and column sum check / multiple methods check. Sometimes there are multiple ways to get an answer that should be the same. Making sure the two is equal at all times would be key in avoiding errors. To make sure you are notified of an error, use conditional formatting to set a cell to bright red to flag that there is an error in case the two methods in each cell give you different answers.
  3. Checking the formula. Did the subtotal or sum formula add all the cells above it, or did it miss a cell that was added to the beginning or end of the column? Easy way to check is with F2. A rigorous method in checking your worksheet is to check every formula cell to ensure it is highlighting the correct input cells.
  4. Count check. While processing large amounts of data on excel, its easy to miss something at the end. Count how many rows you had in the beginning, and how many rows you have for output. If there’s any more or less, you are in trouble. If you have less, chances are, you missed a few rows at the bottom. If you have more, some old data in the template probably wasn’t cleared out before being used.

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