Office 2007: Keep Excel Data Visible At All Times - Page 2

By Helen Bradley | Posted July 03, 2008

» Watch a Value

If you need to keep your eye on a particular figure in your worksheet, set up a watch window to monitor it. Choose Formulas > Watch Window from the Ribbon. This creates a watch window that can be moved so that it floats over the top of the worksheet or remains anchored at the top.

Click the Add Watch button, select the cell whose contents you want to watch, and click Add. The cell details will appear in the watch window including its location, contents and formula.

Regardless of where you are in the workbook, the watch window sits on the screen displaying the cell details.

» DIY Watch Window

You can also create your own version of the watch window using a textbox. From the Insert tab on the Ribbon click the TextBox icon and draw a textbox on the screen. Click in the text box, and on the formula bar type the cell reference of the cell to monitor — e.g. type =A1 to monitor cell A1.

You must type the value in the formula bar, not directly into the textbox for this to work. Now you'll see the value from cell A1 in the textbox.

If the cell is on another sheet — for example, if you want to see A1 in sheet1 — type ='sheet1'!A1 in the formula bar with the textbox selected. The display is live so it will always show the most current value in that cell.

» Take a Picture

To see more than one cell, use the Excel Camera tool and take a photo of the cells to watch. The camera is not on Excel's new ribbon so you must add it to your Quick Access Toolbar by selecting the Office button, clicking Excel Options > Customize and from the Choose commands from: dropdown list choose Commands Not In The Ribbon.

Locate and select the Camera icon and click Add to add it to your Quick Access Toolbar. Click OK when you are done.

To take your picture, display the sheet containing the data to monitor, select the data with your mouse, and click the Camera icon. Immediately scroll to the sheet where you want to see this data and click somewhere on it. This pastes a snapshot of the cells you had selected as a picture floating over the worksheet.

You can move this snapshot around and right click and format it, for example, applying a fill to it so you can see it easily. You can also drag its sizing handles to adjust its size if desired. The data in the snapshot is linked to the original data so if the original data changes, the picture version will change too.

You can take a snapshot of a chart too. However, this won't work if you select the chart, so you have to select the cells around the edges and underneath the chart and take a snapshot of them. You can delete a snapshot at any time when you've finished with it, and deleting it will have no effect on the original data in the worksheet.

As you can see, with a little imagination and skill you can have your cake and eat it, too — you can work on one worksheet and see data on another sheet at the same time.

Helen Bradley is a respected international journalist writing regularly for small business and computer publications in the USA, Canada, South Africa, UK and Australia. She blogs at http://www.projectwoman.com/blogger.html.

Adapted from winplanet.com.

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