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Tech Tip: Troubleshooting Excel Templates

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Posted on 05/12/2016

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Excel LogoToday, a couple of quick troubleshooting tips for Excel templates.

Problem One: My template is taking way too long to output.

If your template is taking longer to generate than you anticipate, the cause may be that the size of the workbook is much larger than it needs to be in order to present your data.  From the Microsoft support site:

“When you save a workbook, Microsoft Office Excel stores only the part of each worksheet that contains data or formatting. Empty cells may contain formatting that causes the last cell in a row or column to fall outside of the range of cells that contains data. This causes the file size of the workbook to be larger than necessary and may result in more printed pages when you print the worksheet or workbook.”

Solution: Delete unused cells in a template.

In your template, hit Ctrl-End to locate the final cell in your report.  If the last cell is much past the actual cells used in the template, remove the unused cells and re-try.

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Problem Two: When using a Word template, numbers are incorrect in the Excel output.

If your template is a Word document with a table, and your output is an Excel report, beware of this common error.

Solution: For Excel output, create the template in Excel.

Windward generally discourages crossing document types upon output. Here’s an example of why.

Suppose your data is currency — e.g., one data point might be $12,345.67 — and you want each cell to be populated with currency amounts. Your output is a row of numbers you can perform calculations on, right?

No! It looks right, but actually what you have is a bunch of cells containing text, and Excel does not see them as numbers. For Excel to treat the value as a number,  the cell needs to have a value of 12345.67 and a format of “$#,###.00”

The only way to do this is to design the template in Excel because Word has no concept of cell number formatting.

For More Excel Tips and Information

See the full tech tip and related information in our wiki article Troubleshooting for Excel Templates.

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Author: Beth Billington

Beth enjoys using her writing and graphic design background for writing easy-to-follow help content. She loves learning – whether at work or at home – and spends her free time hiking, doing landscape photography, playing music, baking and pursuing all kinds of hand crafts.

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