Contextures News 2021-08-10

Excel Merge Cells - OK or Not?

August 10, 2021

Zoom in, 15 minute dashboards, and more, in this week's Excel news. Visit my Excel website for more tips, tutorials and videos, and check the index for past issues of this newsletter.

Thank you for reading the news, and I'll be on vacation for a couple of weeks, so you'll get the next email on September 7th.

Note: For some products mentioned below, I earn a commission on sales. That helps support the free tutorials on my site.

Power Query Problem

I've been ignoring a Power Query problem on my computer - the Queries pane opens as a tiny square at the top of my second monitor. Its title bar is hidden, so I can't move the pane, but at least I make it bigger.

queries and connections page hidden at top of monitor

Last week, I bought the new Power Query book, Master Your Data with Excel and Power BI, by Ken Puls and Miguel Escobar. I downloaded the sample files, to get started, and needed to fix the Queries pane problem - it was slowing me down.

I finally fixed it, by temporarily changing the monitor display settings from 125% to 100%. That made the title bar visible again, and I moved it onto the main monitor. You can read more about the problem and the fix on my Contextures Blog.

queries and connections page docked at side of excel

Zoom In

As our computer monitors get bigger, and our eyes get older, it can be hard to see things in your Excel files. Here are a couple of tips that I use, to make things easier:

1. To focus on a specific part of a big worksheet, select a range of cells. Then, on the View tab, click Zoom to Selection. When you're done, click the 100% button.

zoom to selection command

2. When you're choosing a custom colour in Excel, drag the bottom corner of the dialog box, to make it bigger. Or, double-click the title bar, to fill the entire screen!

make custom colour dialog box bigger

There are more Worksheet Tips on my Contextures site.

Excel Articles

Here are some Excel-related links that you might find useful or interesting.

Merge or Not: Jon Acampora shows how to make drop down lists wider, by merging cells, and asks why some people hate them. If you have an opinion about merging, let Jon know! Another option is to use the macros on my site to temporarily adjust the column width and zoom settings. (Level - All)

Dashboards: Mynda Treacy shows how to build an Excel dashboard in under 15 minutes. There's a step-by-step video, filled with great tips and shortcuts - I love the single legend for 4 charts! After you watch the video, download the sample workbook, to try it yourself. Mynda offers full courses too, and they're 20% off, until Thursday, Aug. 19th. Check out Mynda's Excel dashboard courses, and her Power BI courses. (Level - Int/Adv)

Also see: Previous Newsletter Issues


You might remember the perennials that I planted in the spring, hoping that some of them would bloom this summer. Well, things have been going well, and these lovely Stargazer lilies bloomed last week. They've lasted for several days, unlike another lily that give up after one day!

Wikipedia says that some people don't like the smell, but I admire them from afar, so it hasn't been a problem.

weekly photo

NOTE: To read this newsletter online, paste this URL into your web browser:
I'll also post any article updates or corrections there.

That's it for this week! If you have any comments or questions, send me an email.

Debra Dalgleish

Debra Dalgleish

P.S. You can choose the full Contextures news package (news and occasional special announcements), or basic news package (news only). Click either link to change your option.

contextures newsletter info


Last updated: August 7, 2021 3:48 PM