The 12 Best Tips for Using Excel for Android in 2019

Your spreadsheet on-the-go offers nifty AI capabilities plus other cool features

An image of people using smartphones and tablets to work on Excel for Android workbooks

PeopleImages/Getty Images 

Take your data intensive spreadsheets with you and work from anywhere. With Excel for Android, your team will think you’re working at your desktop.

Here’s a list of 12 useful tips for Microsoft Excel for Android. Add these tasks to your resume of spreadsheet skills and you’ll be the coolest Excel mobile user on your team.

Note: The following directions apply to Excel for Android on phones and tablets.

01
of 12

Type Text with Ease

Checkmark and Enter key in Excel for Android

Entering text in a spreadsheet cell is a bit different in Excel for Android. Those familiar keystroke you use in Excel on your desktop will need a bit of an adjustment when you make the switch to your mobile device.

Here are a few typing tips:

  • Type text: Double tap a cell, type your text, then tap the green check mark. After you’re done typing, tap Enter to move to the cell below.
  • Delete text in a cell: Tap a cell and hold to display a context men, then tap Clear.
  • Edit text in a cell: Double tap the cell containing the text to display the blue cursor. Tap and drag the cursor where you want it and make your changes.

Tip: If you use an external keyboard with the Excel app, the keyboard shortcuts you use with Excel for Windows will work on your Android device.

02
of 12

Type Multiple Lines of Text in a Cell

A screenshot showing how to create multiple lines within a cell using Excel app for Android

It's possible to create multiple lines or paragraphs inside a cell, but, unlike Excel on your desktop, you’ll have a few more keys to press.

To create multiple paragraphs in a cell:

  1. Double tap a cell and begin typing.
  2. Tap the cell to display the blue cursor.
  3. Tap the cursor, then tap New line.
  4. Continue typing.
  5. Tap the green check mark when you’re done.

Note: There are many ways to move around in Excel for Android. Learn the Android touch gestures for Excel for Android to take full advantage of the app.

03
of 12

Add Numbers Quickly

A screenshot showing how to quickly add a column of numbers using AutoSum in Android Excel

When you want to add a row or column of numbers, use AutoSum to get the job done quickly.

To add numbers, tap and drag to select the cells in the row or column you want to add together. Then, tap Formulas > AutoSum > Sum to display the total at the end of the row or column.

Tip: If you’re having problems selecting a large section of data, tap Home > Select Range and type the range of cells you want.

04
of 12

Use Filters to Sort Data

A screenshot showing how to use the Filter Buttons to sort data in Excel for Android

When you want to organize your data, sort the data with filters. Filters allow you to sort data in alphabetical or numerical order.

To display the Filter Buttons, tap Home > Filter > Show Filter Buttons. The Filter Buttons appear in the top row of the spreadsheet.

To filter a spreadsheet, tap a Filter Button for the column you want to sort and choose a sort option.

05
of 12

Draw on a Spreadsheet

A screenshot showing the drawing tools in Microsoft Excel app for Android

The touchscreen on your Android phone or tablet makes it easy to draw on a spreadsheet and highlight important information. All it takes is a swipe of the finger to draw lines, circles, and other shapes.

To access the drawing tools:

  1. Select Draw > Draw with Mouse or Touch.
  2. Select a color and a thickness.
  3. After you’ve made your selection, tap the spreadsheet and drag to draw.
06
of 12

Use Your Camera with Excel

You can use your camera to insert pictures directly into your Excel spreadsheet.

To take a picture, tap the place in the spreadsheet where you want the photo to be, then tap Insert > Pictures > Camera. When you have the perfect picture, select OK and it will appear in the spreadsheet.

Tip: Use the Picture tab to add styles and effects, resize the image, and crop out unwanted parts of the picture.

07
of 12

Turn Data into a Picture

A screenshot showing where to find the options to turn data into a picture in Excel app for Android

There are several ways to protect your data from changes. An easy way is to turn it into a picture that can't be edited. It’s as easy as copying the data and pasting it somewhere else in your spreadsheet as a picture.

To turn data into a picture:

  1. Select the data.
  2. On the context menu that appears, tap Copy.
  3. Tap and hold on the cell where you want to paste the image.
  4. On the context menu, tap the down arrow next to Paste and tap Picture.

Tip: Do you have a printed spreadsheet or table you want to input into Excel? Take a photo of it and crop the picture so only the data appears. Excel converts the picture into text and adds it to your spreadsheet.

08
of 12

Get Research Help

A screenshot showing how to use Smart Lookup in Excel for Android

You don’t have to leave the Excel app for Android when you need to do some research. Finding information, definitions, history, and other resources is simple when you use Smart Lookup.

To use Smart Lookup:

  1. Select a word or phrase.
  2. Tap Review > Smart Lookup. This displays the Smart Lookup pane and shows the top web searches.
  3. Scroll through the list to find a search result matching your research needs.
  4. Tap More to read the rest of the information. 
09
of 12

Add Comments to a Spreadsheet

A screenshot showing how to make a comment in an Excel for Android spreadsheet

You and your team are working on a data project. When you want to ask questions about the spreadsheet data, add a comment.

To make a comment:

  1. Tap the cell where you want to leave a comment.
  2. Tap Insert > Comment to display the Comment pane.
  3. Type the text for your comment.
  4. Select a blank area of the worksheet when you’re finished.

Tip: To view a comment, tap the comment icon on the spreadsheet area. Tap Close when you’re done reading the comment.

10
of 12

Share an Excel Workbook with Others

A screenshot showing how to share an Excel for Android workbook with others

When you want others to view or edit your Excel workbook, share it with them.

To share a workbook, tap Share, enter the email addresses of the people you want to share the file with, and choose a sharing option:

  • Share as a link: Choose this method to send the link in an email message, copy to the clipboard, or insert into OneNote. You control which people can view or edit the workbook.
  • Share as attachment: Choose this method to attach the file to an email message. You can share the file as an Excel workbook or as a PDF file.
11
of 12

Get Help Creating Charts

A screenshot showing the Recommended charts suggested by Excel for Android

You’ve got data and you want to visualize it, but where do you begin? When you need help creating charts, use the recommended charts to find the best way to chart your data.

To let the Excel app choose a chart for you that best represents your data:

  1. Select the data you want to use for the chart.
  2. Tap Insert > Recommended. You’ll see a selection of charts that fit your data.
  3. Tap a recommended chart to see it in your worksheet.

Tip: When you select a chart, the Chart tab appears. Use these options to change the layout, color, size, and other attributes of your chart.

12
of 12

Create a Map with Your Data

A screenshot showing the map created from data in an Excel for Android spreadsheet

When you have geographical data, use a map to show comparisons.

To create a map chart:

  1. Select the data you want included in the chart.
  2. Tap Insert > Chart > Maps.
  3. Tap the map chart that appears in the drop-down list.
  4. Tap I agree if this is the first time you’ve created a map.
  5. From the Chart tab, customize the chart by changing the chart title, color, or style.