Frequently Asked Questions

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Every day Pamela receives numerous questions from troubled computer and iPad/iPhone users, by email and at various seminars and workshops. Her answers provide advice on a variety of subjects related to computer hardware and software and Apple iPad and iPhones. Listed below are the questions that Pamela feels will be helpful to most users, from beginners to the more advanced.

If you cannot find the answer to your question listed below, ask Pamela your questions here or click on the ‘Ask Pamela’ link on the sidebar menu below the category list. You can also leave Pamela a Message by clicking on the Blue Button at the bottom of the right hand sidebar. Pamela always answers promptly.

Microsoft Excel

How do I sort or separate email addresses in Excel?

To Separate email addresses in Excel:

Excel Create TablePrecaution: Make a copy of your list and work on the copy in case of errors.

1. Highlight your list and click on ‘Insert’
2. With the highlight still active click on ‘Table’
3. The ‘Create Table’ box will appear with the data rows already inserted. If your columns have headers click the small box next to ‘My table has headers’

NOTE: Make sure you highlight all the columns that contain information and not just the email column otherwise your list will be out of order.

Sort Excel Table4. Click on the down arrow on the heading of your email address column and click into the ‘Search’ box.
5. Type .edu, .com etc. if you wish to sort by extension.
6. Click ‘OK’ and the .edu addresses will appear on a separate list.
7. Click the ‘Undo icon’ to bring the list back to the original or save your changes. (You cannot use the ‘Undo’ feature if you have saved the changes)

To Sort email addresses Using Conditional Formatting:

Precaution: Make a copy of your list and work on the copy in case of errors.

1. Highlight your list.Excel Conditional Formatting
2. Click on ‘Conditional Formatting’
3. Click on ‘Highlight Cells Rules’
4. Click on ‘Text that Contains’
5. Type .edu in the box supplied.

Excel Highlighted TextAll the .edu email addresses will be colored red and you  can sort your list accordingly.
Conditional Formatting has many features in order to sort all your lists.

If you would like more help with this and other features please visit this page.

I have created twelve worksheets and a general ledger to do my monthly banking in EXCEL. How can I jump back and forth from the General Ledger worksheet to any given month without scrolling through all the worksheets at the bottom of the workbook?

  • From one of the monthly worksheets type GL for General ledger.
  • Highlight and right click on GL then choose ‘Hyperlink’ from the drop down menu.
  • Click on ‘Bookmark’ and then choose the ‘General Ledger’ from the drop-down list that appears.
  • Click OK and the hyperlink to your General Ledger will be active from your worksheet.

Repeat these steps throughout your workbook.

One of my Excel files takes a great deal of time to open. The file does not contain very much information and I am wondering why I need to wait so long for it to open. Can you let me know if there is something I can do to make it open as fast as my other files?

You may be surprised to know that the file is larger than you think. At some point you may have hit a key that took you to the very last page that is available in your worksheet or at least half way.

Depending on the version of Excel you are using, the worksheet could contain 65,536 rows and 256 columns. If your cursor jumped to the bottom of the worksheet and you tapped one of the keys, Excel thinks that this point is the end of your worksheet even if most of the rows and columns are empty. This action has caused the file to open very slowly because it needs to load all the rows and columns contained in your worksheet.

To correct this: Hold down the CTRL key on your keyboard and click the END key. This will bring you to the last page and last line of your document. Now delete all the empty lines by highlighting them from the left side of your Excel sheet. (Click into the one of the line numbers on the left of your worksheet, hold down your left mouse and pull upward; each line will highlight as you pull) Finally hit the DELETE key and SAVE your document.

If you would like more help with this and other features please visit this page.

Is there a shortcut to add the current date in an Excel Worksheet?

When using Microsoft Excel there are many shortcuts you can use to speed up your work. One of the most used is the shortcut for inserting the current date.
Hold down the CTRL key and click the ‘colon key’ The current date will be inserted.
If you would like more help with this and other features please visit this page.
Insert today's date in Excel

How often should I save my work when working on a document?

It’s always a good idea to save your work every ten minutes when working on a document especially if it is a lengthy document.

There is a quick way to do this using a ‘shortcut.’

Hold down the CTRL key and click on the ‘S’ key.

Save your work

I have created a Word document with 35 pages. Is there a way to jump to the last page quickly without scrolling down manually?

To jump to the last page or the end of any document quickly just hold down the CTRL key and click the ‘End’ key.

Jump to last page

Is it possible to change the grid color on an Excel worksheet?

Yes, you can make your grid any color that appears on the ‘color box’ in Excel. Follow the instructions below or click here for advanced users.

1. With an Excel Worksheet open (version 2010) click on the ‘File’ tab and then click ‘Options’ found in the left column.
2. On the left column click on ‘Advanced.’
3. Scroll down the features on the right column until you reach’Display Options.’
4. Put a check mark next to ‘Show Gridline’ and click on the ‘color box’ to choose your grid line color. Screenshot – Excel Display Options
5. You can select any worksheet in the ‘Display Option Box drop down’ that you wish.
6. Click OK

How do I open two Excel worksheets side by side?

With the first spreadsheet open click on the Excel icon to open an unused spreadsheet and then click ‘open within this spreadsheet’ to find the other file. Then you can move each Excel window by pointing to the title bar and holding it down with your left mouse. Drag the windows side by side, resizing if necessary.

Alternatively you can elect view the two windows side by side by right clicking on the taskbar at the bottom of your screen and selecting  ‘Show Windows Side by Side.’


How do I combine the information from two columns in Excel into one column?

Excel-PasteIf you have first names in column “A2” and last names in column “B2” you can combine them into one column with a simple formula.
Just type the following formula in cell C2: =A2&” “&B2 and use the fill option to copy all the names into the “C” column.
Now you will need to delete the first two columns: Highlight and copy column “C” and then click on “Paste Options” and choose the first option under “Paste Values.” This removes the formula from column “C” and you are able to delete the first two columns.

What do you suggest that I back up on an external drive and what type of medium should I use?

I think that the most important files to back up are your “Documents” and “Pictures.” If you have stored them in the above folders they will be easy to transfer to your external medium.

The new WD (Western Digital) external drives have installed software that will allow you to back up just the files you want and they will also perform incremental back ups when you create new files. You can add a password to protect your data should you lose your external drive. The drive will only “unlock” if the correct password is entered so make sure that you use upper and lower case letters and numbers or symbols to make the password more secure.

The WD Passport Portable External drives are small in physical size and convenient to carry; they also come in several colours. The recent units have 500GB – 750GB and 1TB of storage space. Some are sold with a matching case.

Keeping a back up of your important files will be a safeguard if your computer malfunctions and it is also handy for transporting your files when you travel or wish to move them to another computer.

Why can’t I print my Excel document when I can print from other documents?

There are several reasons why a document does not print but if you check the “Print Preview” and it shows a blank page then it is probably because you have saved the document as a “Read Only” document.

To verify this check the “Title Bar” and see if it states that the document is “Read Only” as shown below.


If it shows “Read Only” make a copy of the document or recreate it and save it under another name.

How can I print part of an Excel Spreadsheet?

1. Highlight the cells that you wish to print.

Highlight Selection









2. Use the shortcut CTRL + P  to bring up the printer box.


3. Click on the “down arrow” next to “Print Active Sheets.”


print selections





















4. On the “Drop Down” select “Print Selection.”   Then Click PRINT.



How can I copy an Excel Formula into a column that has more than 200,000 lines without dragging it manually?

There are quite a few options for performing this procedure. I have chosen two that are listed below beginning with the easiest:


  • Add a formula to the first cell in the column.
  • Click into the cell and locate the “fill handle” which is the small cross that appears on the bottom right corner of a cell when you point to it.
  •  “Double click” the “fill handle with your left mouse.
  • The formula in the first cell will be copied into all the cells in the column ending on the line that has the last entry in your worksheet.

Another Option:

1. Click into the cell that contains the formula.
2. Click the F5 key and type a range. Example: G2:G227
3. Click into the “formula bar” 

4. Click the CTRL key plus the “Down Arrow” key and hit the ENTER key.

The formula will fill all the cells in the range automatically.

How do I Show or Hide a Toolbar?

Show a Toolbar:

1. Right-click the menu bar or any toolbar.
2. Click the name of the toolbar that you want to show on the shortcut menu.
NOTE: If you don’t see the toolbar that you are looking for on the shortcut menu, click “Customize” and then click the “Toolbars” tab. In the Toolbars list, select the check box next to the name of the Toolbar that you want.

Show a Toolbar – Keyboard Method:

  • On the “Tools” menu, click “Customize.”
  • Click the “Toolbars” tab.
  • Select the check box next to the name of the Toolbar that you want to display.

Hide a Toolbar:

Right-click the toolbar, and then clear the check box next to the name of the toolbar that you want to hide.

Hide a Toolbar – Keyboard Method:

  • On the “Tools” menu, click “Customize.”
  • Click the “Toolbars” tab.
  • Clear the check box next to the name of the toolbar that you want to hide.

How do I fill a long Excel column with a formula without dragging it manually?

Filling an Excel column manually with a formula in each cell can be daunting if your column is longer than 100 lines but Microsoft has equipped us with several automatic procedures to make it easy. Below is one solution that I believe is the easiest. Let me know what you think when you have tried it.

Best Solution:

Tutorial - Excel column with Formulas After you have filled all the information in the other columns in your worksheet, type the formula in the first cell of the column in which you need the information generated.

Double click the “fill handle” that you would normally “drag” down and the formula in that cell will be copied into the last cell of that column adjacent to the last cell of the corresponding columns.

For more help with Microsoft Excel sign up for a Remote Assistance Session and I will be on hand to help you when you need it.

How do I Create a New Distribution or Group List in Excel?

Create a New Distribution List in Microsoft Outlook 2010

1. Open Microsoft Outlook and click on the Address Book icon to open your Address Book.
2. Click the list below Address Book, and then select Contacts.
3. On the File menu, click New Entry.
4. Under Select the entry type, click New Contact Group.
5. In the bottom box under Put this Entry in, click In The Contacts. This selection determines where your new distribution list is saved. This is the default location.
6. Click OK. Your new distribution list is now set to be saved in the Contacts folder, and an untitled distribution list form opens. At this point, you can begin adding contacts to your new distribution list, as outlined in the following section.

Add Contacts to Your New Distribution List

1. In the Name box, type the name of your new contact group.
2. Click the Add Members icon to add members and a Drop Down box will appear giving you choices from any of your Address Book entries or Contacts. If you choose Outlook Contacts your list of entered contacts will appear.
3. Double click on each contact that you wish to be added to your Distribution List and it will appear there.
4. Once you have added all the contacts you need Click Save and Close to save the new distribution list.

The name of the distribution list appears bold as compared to the other entries in the contact folder.

TIP: Always use the remove member option to delete an entry from the contact list. If you use the delete option you will lose the entire list.

How do I link information from one Excel Worksheet to another and have it update automatically?

In order to have Excel data update automatically from one Excel worksheet to another follow the steps below. We will call the Excel worksheet that contains the data you wish to copy Sheet A and Sheet B will be the worksheet where you wish your data to appear:

  1. Open the Excel worksheet (Sheet A) that contains the data that you want to copy to the new worksheet.
  2. Open the Excel worksheet (Sheet B) where you want the data to appear.
  3. Click into the cell that you want to copy in Sheet A.
  4. Press CTRL+C.
  5. Click where you want the information to appear in Sheet B.
  6. On the Home tab, in the Clipboard group, click the arrow under Paste, and then click Paste Special.
    Excel - Paste Special 7. Then Click on “Paste Link” as shown  Excel - Paste Link











8. Click OK. Your data will update automatically on Sheet B every time you update data on Sheet A.

If you need help with any Excel problem just click on the blue button on the sidebar to the right of this page and ask your question. I will respond promptly.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Can you suggest a formula to deduct an amount from an original sum and continue it down the column?

Excel Column Formula

How do I remove the Hyperlink from the email addresses in an Excel list?

Email hyperlinks in a list in Excel can cause a new email to open if you accidentally click on them so it’s a good idea to remove the hyperlink so that changes can be made to the email address without causing a new email to open.

Right click on the email address and choose “Remove Hyperlink” which is the last option on the list if you are using Excel 2007.

My eyesight is failing and I find it very difficult to enlarge the font in order to read my email online. Is there another way?

Yes, you can easily ENLARGE the font in an online email as follows: Hold down the CTRL key and scroll with the mouse wheel. This works on most websites and other software as well.

If I cannot close my computer using the Start Button or my computer freezes, is it OK to pull the plug?

No, it is not advisable to “pull the plug” if your computer freezes. The “shock” of pulling the plug on a working computer could cause the hard drive to crash or malfunction.

The safe way to close down the computer is to hold down the CTRL, ALT and DELETE keys simultaneously, which will bring up the Windows Task Manager. This “tool” allows you to close the troublesome program or programs and then continue working on your computer without closing down your system. It also has an option to ‘Disconnect’ or ‘Logoff’ under the ‘Users’ tab.