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How to use the Quick Analysis Tool in Excel

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  • Excel

In this simple guide, we will run through how to use the Quick Analysis Tool in Excel, with some examples.

This guide will cover:

  • What is the Quick Analysis Tool in Excel?
  • How to activate it
  • Use cases and examples

What is the Quick Analysis Tool?

The Quick Analysis Tool in Microsoft Excel is a really handy feature that provides a whole range of functions that can be accessed with a single click.

This helps users to quickly analyse data or build out visualisations without any manual work.

quick analysis tool excel

The Quick Analysis Tool is broken out into 5 key categories:

  • Formatting
  • Charts
  • Totals
  • Tables
  • Sparklines

How to activate the Quick Analysis Tool in Excel

Generally this feature should be turned on by default, but just in case it is turned off for any reason, the below steps will help you activate it for use:

First, under the File tab, click on Options in the bottom left corner:

quick analysis tool excel

Under the General section, tick the box for Show Quick Analysis Options on Selection:

quick analysis tool excel

How to use the Quick Analysis Tool with Examples

Using the Quick Analysis Tool is really easy. To bring up the tool itself simply highlight a range of cells and a small square box will appear in the bottom right corner of the bottom cell like below:

quick analysis tool excel

Let’s look at some examples.

Under the Formatting heading, we can overlay the cells with some visual information. For example selecting Data Bars will overlay bars on each of the values, with the size based on the overall cost of each row based on the values in overall range that was selected. See below for example:

quick analysis tool excel

This helps provide a nice quick snapshot of which are the highest and lowest values in the dataset without needing to sort or pivot the data and can come in quite handy.

Lets move on to the Charts tab. Let’s say we had a couple of columns of data – both date and cost, and wanted to clearly see in a visual way what the overall trend is across this period without manually making any kind of chart.

In this case we can simply select a line chart for example, for a quick and easy visualisation:

quick analysis tool excel
quick analysis tool excel

Moving on to the Totals tab, we have a range of quick analysis options to calculate values such as the sum of the highlighted cells. One handy function as an example is calculating running totals – something that can be a bit more manual to do otherwise.

This simply adds a whole new column with the overall running totals across each row:

quick analysis tool excel

The Tables tab is pretty self explanatory – it simply converts the range of selected cells into a table format, which provides the data with a series of additional data analysis and formatting options:

quick analysis tool excel

Finally, we have the Sparklines tab. This series works best across columns rather than rows as has typically been the case in previous examples.

For this example we have a quick table that has Sunday-Saturday sales across the columns, with each week being a new row. Within each cell we have a set of values:

quick analysis tool excel

There are 3 Sparkline options – Line, Column and a Win/Loss format:

quick analysis tool excel

Using the Line option, Excel fills in the cells to the right of the dataset as below:

quick analysis tool excel

As we can see, this provides data similar to the line chart in the Charts example, but within a single cell. This can be a great way to very quickly and easily visualise data row by row when working with larger datasets that may require multiple visualisations.

This sums up our guide on how to use the Quick Analysis Tool in Excel. This tool provides us with a range of easy analysis tools to use when looking to quickly summarise or visualise data without the need to set manual rules or create advanced visualizations.

For more tips and tutorials on using Excels built in functions be sure to check out our Excel Tips page.