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Excel 2013: The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonald

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Chapter 16. Templates

Spreadsheets are rarely one-of-a-kind creations. After you build the perfect sales forecast, expense report, or personal budget, you’ll probably want to reuse your hard work instead of starting from scratch. One approach is to save an extra copy of your workbook and just change the data for each new spreadsheet you want to create. That works fine, but it’s not terribly convenient.

Excel provides a more streamlined option with templates, which are spreadsheet blueprints that you can use to create new files. Templates don’t necessarily hold any data (although they can if you want them to). Instead, their main role is letting you format them to your heart’s content—adding things like column titles, fancy shading, and complex formulas—so that every time you want a worksheet that looks like your template, all you have to do is select the template and voilà! A new file opens, containing all the design elements you created in the original template.

For example, you could create a monthly expense report template containing all the formulas and formatting you need, and use it to create a fresh report each month. If you ever need to change your report’s formatting or calculations, you simply modify the template, and all future expense reports will use the updated version.

In this chapter, you’ll use Excel templates two ways. First, you’ll consider how you can use one of Microsoft’s many prebuilt templates, which are stored on the Office Online website. This massive collection ...

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