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A Tool in Excel That’s Not Mentioned Much

Excel Camera ToolThere’s a tool in Excel called Watch Window (in Formulas ribbon) that I don’t use. For some reason, that particular tool has never gelled with me. Maybe I have to remember which cell goes with what value or I have to name the cells. Whatever the reason may be, I have never really gravitated toward that tool.

But there is another really cool tool which suits me better because it provides a visual snapshot of the spreadsheet rather than a list of cell addresses or cell names. Since I’m more familiar with the visual look of the spreadsheet, the approach of this tool works better with me. You can add the tool to your ribbon, or you can add it as a Quick Tool in the Quick Access Toolbar.

All you have to do is choose File – Options – Customize Ribbon (or Quick Toolbar). When you get to the screen listing all of the various tools, in the “Choose Commands From” section, change “Popular Commands” to “All Commands”. Then look for the camera icon to add.

If you chose the Quick Access Toolbar option, your screen will look similar to the following:

Screenshot of Camera Tool The red arrow is pointing to the new camera tool I added.

Now, when I work on a file that has multiple tabs (what file doesn’t have multiple tabs?) and the summarization of results is in the first tab but I’m working in the 10th tab, I can use the camera tool to take a picture of the section of the summary tab that I want to look at while on the 10th tab, without having to go back and forth between the first and tenth tabs. It’s a real time saver. All I have to do is highlight the section of the first tab that I want to look at, click on the camera tool in the Quick Access Toolbar, and then go to the 10th tab and pick a spot. The picture of the highlighted section of tab 1 will plop in place. As I go about changing numbers in the 10th tab, the summary section in the 1st tab will update as usual AND the picture in the 10th tab will show those updates too! I can move or resize that picture. If I change the format in tab 1 – like remove the grid lines, for instance – the picture in the 10th tab will show the new format.

This nifty camera feature has been really helpful as I go about creating this new automated report that I’m working on at work. The new report has about 7 tabs and I don’t want to go back and forth between the first and seventh tab to check on my numbers. The camera feature is saving me from that aggravation.

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