Tech Tip Tuesday: Provide Context to Spreadsheets by Using Range Names

posted Jan 10, 2017, 7:35 AM by Tech Training   [ updated Jan 10, 2017, 7:51 AM ]

If you refer to the same data in an Excel sheet every day, sure, you may know just where to find the information you need. In a large workbook, however, you may lose track of exactly where you placed some crucial data. Start naming cell ranges to easily refer to information you need. 

Stop remembering random letters and numbers: Provide context to spreadsheets by using Range Names

To begin naming cell ranges, follow the steps below:

1. Select the range of cells you would like to name. Remember: a cell range is a block of one or more cells. In this example, I want to be able to quickly refer to my 2017 Feed Expenditure information no matter where I am within the Excel workbook.

Selection of Cell Range under Feed Expenditure, Winter through Fall.

2. Next, click on the Formulas tab in the Excel ribbon. 

3. With the desired range still selected, click the Define Name in the Defined Names portion of the Formulas tab.

Excel Ribbon with Formulas Tab Selected, Define Name Option Highlighted

4. When giving a range a name, you cannot use spaces or any special characters except an underscore. Also, be sure to double check your cell ranges. Press OK to continue. 

New Name window with field for entering name and which cells it will reference

5. A shortcut method for performing this action is to select the desired cell range, place your cursor in the Name Box, and simply type a name. 

Excel Ribbon with Name Box highlighted

6. Now, you can reference theses ranges in formulas and functions across the workbook rather than typing a traditional cell range. 

Highlighted cell with =sum formula that references the Feed Expenditure named range

7. Lastly, if you need to rename any of your ranges, just click the Formula tab again and select Name Manager. 

Name Manager button highlighted in Excel ribbon

Tech Tip Tuesday: #NULL!, #REF!, #DIV/0 – What does it all mean?!

posted Jan 3, 2017, 7:00 AM by Tech Training   [ updated Jan 3, 2017, 7:09 AM ]

Trying to figure out just what Excel is telling you when an error occurs in your spreadsheet? Here are some of the most common Excel errors and how to fix them.

Remember: Excel will display a small green triangle in the upper left corner of the cells containing error values. Clicking on that green triangle will prompt a yellow diamond to appear with options for correcting the error. 

#VALUE Excel Error Message

#VALUE is Excel's way of saying, "There's something wrong with the way your formula is typed. Or, there's something wrong with the cells you are referencing." There are a number of reasons this might occur, but it’s always good to check if you included spaces, characters, or text in a formula where Excel was expecting a number. 

When you see this error, don’t worry. All it means is that the column isn’t wide enough to display the information you’ve included.

Just like in regular ol’ math, you don’t divide by zero. When this message appears, make sure you’re not accidentally dividing by zero or—which is more likely the case—referencing a blank cell. 
The #REF! error shows when a formula refers to a cell that’s not valid. This happens most often when cells that were referenced by formulas get deleted, or pasted over.

Getting a #NULL! error all depends on your spacing in a formula. For example, maybe you forgot to include a mathematical operator such as the plus sign ( + ) and included a space instead, like =B2 B4+B6; Or maybe you forgot the colon ( : ) for selecting a range and accidentally wrote =SUM(A1 A10). Double check your formulas and functions for extra spaces!

Excel shows this error when a formula or function contains numeric values that aren’t valid. This often happens when you’ve entered a numeric value using a data type or a number format that’s not supported in the argument section of the formula. For example, you can’t enter a value like $1,000 in currency format, because dollar signs are used as absolute reference indicators and commas as argument separators in formulas. To avoid the #NUM! error, enter values as unformatted numbers, like 1000, instead.

Photo courtesy of Where Marketers Go to Grow.

Tech Tip Tuesday: Six Holiday Gifts Under $60

posted Dec 20, 2016, 6:55 AM by Tech Training

Looking to get something for the techie in your life without breaking your budget? Here are some of this season’s notable items:

Amazon Echo Dot - $39.99

Amazon Echo Dot
Amazon’s way of entering your household with Alexa. Tap into cloud services, activate connected home devices, play music, or ask questions like “What’s the score of the Cardinals game?” Alexa’s there to help.


Photo Courtesy of

Nintendo NES Classic - $59.99

Nintendo NES Classic

This tiny, retro console comes preloaded 30 great games from the NES era. Relive games like Super Mario Brothers, Megaman 2, and Punch Out. The only problem? With so much hype, finding this hot-ticket item on any shelf will be a challenge.

Photo Courtesy of Nintendo.

Tile Mate - $24.98

Tile Mate

Always misplacing your stuff? Less than 5 millimeters wide, this tracking device syncs with your phone to map the last location of your lost valuable, chirps and sings when you’re looking for said item, and gives you directions to it.

Forgot where you put your phone? You can also use Tile to locate your synced mobile device. 

Photo Courtesy of

Google Chromecast - $25.00

Google Chromecast

Yes, Smart TVs are here. But the functionality of a set top box device is way better. Whether you’re looking to cut the cable cord or you just want a way to stream your favorite entertainment, Chromecast turns your mobile device into a powerful television remote for some of the best TV shows you can find.

Photo courtesy of Google.

Samsung Gear VR (2015) - $59.99

Samsung Gear VR

Although not the latest virtual reality headset, you can experience new worlds for almost half the price of the VR 2016. Lightweight and cordless, this headset has ushered in the world of VR gaming. The only downside? It only works with some recent Samsung phones

Photo Courtesy of Samsung.

D-Link Day & Night Wi-Fi Camera - $39.99

D-Link Day and Night Camera

Need to do some surveillance around your home? Great for parenting or recording wildlife from your house, this small wireless camera transmits video (and audio) to its D-Link App. What does that mean for you? You can view the video stream from your computer, phone, or any device with web interfacing.  With quick set up and features like infrared vision and motion alerts, this cheap gadget provides security on a budget.

Photo Courtesy of D-Link.

Tech Tip Tuesday: Using Google Docs Offline

posted Dec 6, 2016, 8:19 AM by Tech Training

Picture of laptop at the beach

Although it has become increasingly easier to find WiFi or stay connected to a mobile network, there may be a time when you need to work on a Google Doc, Sheet, Slide, or Drawing and don’t have access to the internet. Let’s say you have a long flight during the holiday season. You board the plane and realize there's no WiFi. There goes an opportunity to get some work done. To avoid this, follow the directions below and get ready to go off the grid!

Just remember to keep sensitive files off of Google Drive and on a Columbia College backed location, such as your personal I:Drive, department drive, etc.

Here’s what you need to do before your trip:

For a Windows Laptop:

    1.Open Google Chrome. 

    2.Make sure you are signed into your Google Account.

    3.Go to

    4.Look for the “Offline Sync” and click “Turn On”.

Google Drive Settings Window

For an iPad:

    1.Open Google Docs.

    2.If you are using an iPad to work on Docs offline, click the Settings icon at the top left of the screen.

    3.Press the Offline Icon.

Docs Setting Panel for iPad

Other Tips before Going off the Grid:

Before you leave for your trip, make sure you’re signed into Google on Chrome. Another tip to avoid any hiccups is having the documents opened on Chrome before you leave. If you plan on using a mobile device to access your work, check that you have all necessary apps downloaded. 

Safe Travels!

Photo courtesy of PC Magazine.

Tech Tip Tuesday: Printing Excel Spreadsheets

posted Nov 29, 2016, 9:29 AM by Tech Training   [ updated Nov 29, 2016, 9:53 AM ]

Having trouble printing an Excel spreadsheet to one page? Is your printer cutting off valuable information? Luckily, there’s a quick solution. What it comes down to is setting your Page Size and Print Scale:

Setting Page Size

    1. Select Page Layout in the Excel ribbon.
Page Layout Button
    2. Select the Size button.
Page Size Button
    3. Next, choose your desired page size. For this scenario, I’m choosing a Standard Letter Size.
Letter Size Option

Setting Print Scale:

    1. Staying on the Page Layout ribbon, click the Scale to Fit Launcher.
Scale to Fit Launcher
    2. Choose your scaling option from this section of the Page Setup Dialogue window. To make the spreadsheet fit to one page, click Fit To and then press Okay.
Fit To Option

Your Excel spreadsheet should now fit to one page. If you choose, you may also fit the spreadsheet to more pages by simply increasing the amount in the Fit To field.

Photos courtesy of

Tech Tip Tuesday: 5 Underutilized Keyboard Shortcuts

posted Nov 22, 2016, 8:59 AM by Tech Training   [ updated Nov 22, 2016, 9:22 AM ]

Time is precious. If you’re not using the following Windows keyboard shortcuts, you should definitely start.


Tech Tip Tuesday: 5 Underutilized Keyboard Shortcuts

*Note: "WIN" refers to the  The Windows "WIN" Key key and “+” means to press the designated key simultaneously with the following key.

1. CNTRL+L - Find the Address Bar

Once you’re ready to go to a new website, simply press CNTRL+L to automatically return to the address bar rather than using your mouse.

2. WIN+D – Minimize & Open All Windows

Working with sensitive information? Instead of going through each window and selecting the minimize button, pressing WIN+D will quickly hide every program open on your desktop. Ready to view them again? Just press WIN+D a second time.

3. CNTRL+F – Go to Find Bar

With access to a number of different web-browsers, it can become easy to forget where the Find Bar is located. The Find Bar is used to look up specific text within a webpage. Just press CNTRL+F and begin searching.

4. WIN+L – Lock your Computer

Need to get up from your desk quickly while making sure your computer isn’t vulnerable? Press WIN+L and your account will be locked until you’re ready to log on.

5. CNTRL+1-9

If you’re like me, you keep a number of tabs open on your web-browser while surfing the Internet. By pressing CNTRL and any number 1 through 9, the browser will rapidly switch between tabs, making it easier to get the information you need as quickly as possible.

Photo courtesy of

Tech Tip Tuesday: Google Drive for Desktop

posted Nov 15, 2016, 8:23 AM by Tech Training   [ updated Nov 15, 2016, 10:48 AM ]

Do you use Google Drive? Instead of accessing Google Drive from a web-browser, install Google Drive to your computer and save files directly to the cloud! This will save you the hassle of opening a website and transferring files every time you back up documents. Just remember to keep sensitive files on a Columbia College backed location, such as your personal I:Drive, department drive, etc. See below for installation instructions:

Installing Google Drive to Your Computer
  1. Go to
  2. Click Download for PC.

    Download for PC Window

  3. Accept and Install the program.

    Accept and Install Terms Window
    If installation doesn’t begin immediately, click the downloaded googledrivesync.exe file, and click Run.

  4. Next, Google Drive will prompt you to sign into your account.
  5. After completing initial prompt that describes aspects of Google Drive, you should now see the following icons on your desktop:

    Google Drive Desktop Icons

Saving Files to Your Google Drive
  1. When going to save this item, select Computer.
  2. Next, select Desktop.

    Save As Window

  3. Select Google Drive from your desktop and then save the item.

    Save to Google Drive Window

That’s it! You can now save directly to Google Drive rather than pulling up the Google Drive or Docs on a web-browser.

Tech Tip Tuesday: Scanning Handwritten Notes in Evernote

posted Nov 8, 2016, 6:30 AM by Tech Training   [ updated Nov 15, 2016, 8:44 AM ]

Feeling trapped by the scraps of handwritten notes enveloping your work space? Evernote may be the solution for a cluttered desk. This free, cross-platform app is a great way to type out notes as well as sorting and storing documents. In fact, it can scan your handwritten notes (even whiteboards!) and convert them to text-searchable images. Here’s how:

1.    Open the Evernote app in your mobile device. 

Clicking Evernote Icon on iPad

2.       Select the elephant-shaped Home icon in the top left corner.


Clicking Evernote Home Icon

3.       Click Photos and your mobile device should automatically turn on its camera.


Selecting the Camera Icon


4.       Take a picture of the note you wish to store, and then press Save.


Saving Image

5.       To keep your documents organized, press the Title Bar and change the name of your note.

Adding a Title to an Image

Your note is now saved and is ready to be searched!

1.       Press Search Notes in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

Searching for a Note

2.       Type a phrase you are looking for. If your handwriting is clear enough, Evernote should be able to find both handwritten and typed letter. See below:

Search Result: CustomSearch Result: Columbia

It should be mentioned that without an Evernote Premium membership, it may take some time (even a full day) before the images are converted to searchable text. Despite the lag time, this Evernote feature should be one of your tools in the classroom. Visit the Google Play store or iTunes App Store to download this app. 

Tech Tip Tuesday: Document Check Out in SharePoint

posted Jun 28, 2016, 8:12 AM by Whitney Greenwell

Tech Tip Tuesday: Document Check Out in SharePoint
Document check out allows you to check out a document while you edit it, making sure no one else can edit. When you have the file checked out, you can edit it online or offline, and save it multiple times. When you finish editing and check the file back into the library, other people can see your changes and edit the file, if they have permission. And, if you decide not to make or keep any changes in the file, you can simply discard your checkout so you don’t affect version history.



Should I enable document check out?

This depends on the style of collaboration you are using. If you are the sole person editing the files then it wouldn’t be necessary, but if you want to make sure multiple people aren’t making changes at once it’s a good idea.

Do I have to check out a document every time I view it?

No. You can open a document and select Read only to view the document without checking out or editing.

Can I check out multiple documents at once?


Can I add comments to an edit after I check it in so others know what I changed?

Yes, there is a box to add comments each time you go to check in a document.

Is check out/check in automatic after an edit?

No, you can edit a document multiple times and save while having it checked out. To check back in you have to do this manually.

Can you see who has the document checked out?


Someone left, is on vacation, etc. and have documents checked out…what can I do?

The site administrator or owner can override a check out. You will need to contact them to override the document check out.

Can you view past versions after documents have been checked in?

Yes. You can find out more about versioning and how to enable it in last week’s tech tip here

For more about checking out documents, visit the Microsoft Help Center here

Tech Tip Tuesday: Enable and configure versioning for a SharePoint list or library

posted Jun 20, 2016, 10:24 AM by Whitney Greenwell   [ updated Jun 20, 2016, 10:28 AM ]

Enable and configure versioning for a SharePoint list or library

About Versioning 
When versioning is enabled in site lists, you can track and manage information as it evolves. You can look at earlier versions and recover them, if necessary. That is very handy, for example, when people realize that earlier versions of an item might be more accurate than later ones. Some organizations retain multiple versions of items in their lists for legal reasons or audit purposes.

When you enable and configure versioning, you can retain versions each time an item it is edited. You need to decide how many versions you allow, and whether you want all site users to see all draft versions, or only be visible only to the originator and specific people in your organization. By default, versioning is turned off. To turn it on and implement your versioning decisions, you must either have Full Control or Design permissions. 

Enable and Configure Versioning
1. In a list or library, in the list or library tab, select Settings 

2. Select Versioning Settings 

Versioning Options
  • Content Approval: Use this section to decide whether or not to require content approval for items submitted to the list. 
  • Item (or Document) Version History: Use this section to select the various versioning options that are available to you. The following table lists each option and the impact of choosing it. NOTE: The Versioning Settings dialog box options differs slightly depending on whether you are working with lists or libraries. The table below reflects options available for both lists and library versioning settings. 
  • Draft Item Security section: Use this section to determine who should see drafts of items that are not yet approved. IMPORTANT: The set of options in this section are only available when the Content Approval section is set to Yes. You can allow any user who has Read permissions to the list to view the drafts, or you can restrict the view to only those users who can edit items or to only the author of the item and the people who can approve items. 
  • Require Check Out (for library versioning only): Select this option if you want to protect documents in this library from being modified by multiple users at the same time. Users will have to check out documents before editing them, and then check them back in when done.

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