Excelling at Excel – Save time with the multi-functional status bar

If you're not using the Excel status bar, you're missing out on a number of time-saving tricks. The status bar runs along the bottom of the program, displaying contextual information and offering some handy shortcuts.

Want to create a macro like the hyperlink removal trick we recently shared? Just click the icon at left next to the Excel status message (it usually says Ready but may say Edit or Enter depending on whether you're interacting with a cell).


Excel mode status and macro record icon

If you want to count a range of cells or see their sum or average, simply select them. These values will be displayed right of center on the status bar unless you adjust your status bar settings (more on this in a minute). I use this one daily, often control-clicking to pick cells from disparate sections to quickly add them up. This area will be blank until you select two or more cells with numerical contents.


Average, count, and sum for all selected cells

If you'll be printing your spreadsheet, the next set of icons will help you switch quickly between the Normal view, a Page Layout that simulates how the sheet will look on a printed page, and Page Break Preview, which offers more of a high-level view and lets you quickly adjust page breaks.


View buttons

Finally, at the far right there is a zoom slider. Or, if you want to select a specific percentage, click the current percentage displayed to access a dialog box that lets you choose a preset or enter a specific number:


Current percentage button and zoom slider

These are just the defaults. You can add Numerical Count, Minimum, and Maximum to the calculation section of the status bar. And you can add indicators that let you know when Caps Lock, Num Lock, and Overtype Mode are on. (Overtype is toggled with the Insert key to change cell editing behavior so that you overwrite characters instead of pushing them over.)

Customize the Status Bar by right-clicking it:


Play around in here and see which status bar features work best for you. If there's some that you never use, you can always turn them off.


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