Trim the fat

Creating documents isn't only about adding information; you also need to be able to quickly delete what you don't want. Annoyingly, Excel makes this more difficult than it needs to be.

When you select several cells at once, use the <Delete> key to remove the contents; if you hit <Backspace> it will delete only the contents of the first cell and leave the others.

If you want to remove the cells rather than just the contents, right-click and choose "Delete..." - you get the option of moving the other cells up or left to fill in the space.

If you've already removed cells from a worksheet, cleaning up the spaces that are left is very simple - assuming you've removed whole rows. Select your data (click the top-left corner of your worksheet to highlight the whole sheet) and choose Data-Sort. Pick a column to sort by, set it to Ascending and you'll get information at the top and blank rows banished to the empty section at the bottom.

You can achieve the same effect if you have headings for your columns by selecting them and choosing Data-Filter-Autofilter. This will provide you with a drop-down menu on each column in which you can select Ascending to sort straight away (see Figure 1).

You can also use the Autofilter menu to choose Blanks. That will show only the rows where the cell in that column is blank, even if there's data in the other columns.

Filter tips

Edit-Go To-Special-Blanks will select all the blank rows and blank cells in columns that have information in other rows. It's usually best to get rid of blank rows first because trying to delete blank rows and cells at the same time can give confusing results.

To delete quickly in Word, the trick is getting the selection you want. Double-click to select the current word; click three times to get the paragraph. Clicking at the side of the document selects a line; click twice for the paragraph and three times for the whole document (or the section if you've divided the document). <Ctrl>-<Delete> removes the whole word in front of the cursor (or the rest of the word if you're in the middle of it); <Ctrl>-<Backspace> takes the whole word before the cursor.

Deleting rows and cells from tables in Word is easy but slow if you use the Table-Delete menu. The <Delete> key clears the cells but leaves the table. The <Backspace> key deletes the contents and the selected cells; if you have a row or column selected it vanishes, while if you use <Backspace> with a cell selected you get the "Delete Cells" dialogue (see Figure 2). You can do it faster by selecting what you don't want and using <Ctrl>-X to cut it out.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mary Branscomb

PC Advisor (UK)
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

Bitdefender’s best-in-class security solutions have been awarded Product of the Year. Get cybersecurity that 500 MILLION users already have and trust!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?