Sometimes when you are working with a big file you need to see two parts of it at once. You might be writing your results and need to look at your methods at the same time so that you put them in the same order. Or you might need to look at your introduction while writing your discussion. Or you might be reading a pdf and you need to see the reference list while you are reading. Or you might be working with big spreadsheet and you need to see the end while you are working at the beginning.
Instead of flipping back wards and forwards, you can quickly and easily show two parts at once using a little tool that hides at the top right of the scroll bar on the right side of the window. See below for screenshots with the area indicated with the arrow. When you mouse over this area your mouse changes to the split screen symbol and you can left click and drag to split the screen. Each section can be scrolled and even zoomed separately.
In Excel, there is another split screen tool in a similar position at the bottom right of the scroll bar. With this one you can split the screen vertically.
See the screen shots below for where to look.
In Adobe reader or Acrobat:
Adding comments to an excel spreadsheet can be a great way of including information about the data in a cell. Cells should normally only include one type of information – say a number. (See my previous post on Using Excel for more about this.) If you need to include a note about the data in a cell you can either create a new column for notes or you can add a comment. The comment tools are found on the Review tab of the ribbon.
Full instructions for using comments are here: http://office.microsoft.com/en-nz/excel-help/annotate-a-worksheet-by-using-comments-HP010342170.aspx
Cole Nussbaumer Storytellingwithdata
Graphs help us make sense of data. In order to do that we need to be able to see the data clearly. One important principle is to remove unnecessary information and design your graph to focus on the information you want to show. This blog post by Cole Nussbaumer from Storytellingwithdata illustrates this really well.
Excel is a powerful tool for analysis, but you need to enter data correctly in order to make full use of it.
Here are some principles to follow when setting up the data
- Set up the spreadsheet so that the cases or occasions are in rows and the categories of data form the columns.
- Put only a single type of data in each cell. For example don’t put data and units in the same cell. If you are specifying weights, put the units in the column headers so that the cells only contain numbers. If you have notes or explanations make a special column for notes or use the comment feature.
- Don’t separate entries with blank rows or columns.
- Don’t include headings between rows. If you need to group data then do so using a grouping column. Add another column in which you indicate the group that each row belongs to. This will allow you to sort by group later.
- Don’t delete data from your dataset. Instead make another column to store the included or excluded status. Then add another column in which you put notes about why you excluded the cases you exclude.
- Keep each heading in a single cell, even if it has to wrap over more than one line. Don’t put subheadings in a cell below the heading cell.
Following these principles will make it much easier to sort your data so you can easily count it and do other operations like find means and standard deviations. It will also make it easier to graph or to upload into statistical software.