Excel Spreadsheet Tips for Mac and PC

I thought I’d take a break from my research and share a couple of Excel Spreadsheet tips that I have come across during this weeks tasks.

Do a hard return within an Excel Spreadsheet

  • On a PC, all you need to do is press alt + return.
  • On a Mac you need to press control + option + return

Add a bullet within an Excel Spreadsheet

  • On a PC press alt + 7  using numeric pad on keyboard (if laptop enable cap lock)
  • On a Mac press option + 8

Shorten a link in an Excel Spreadsheet

It’s the same for both Mac and PC.

  • Copy the link you want to add
  • From within the cell, right click your mouse and select Hyperlink
  • Paste the link into the Link to: field (Mac), or Address: field (PC)
  • Type text you want to display in the Display: field. For example “Click Here”.
    NOTE: I found that if the link is really long, it’s easier to fill in the Display field first, as the link will automatically be filled in.

Create Drop Down Box in an Excel Spreadsheet

  • First you need to create a new sheet listing the options you want in your drop down box.
  • Now go to the sheet you want to create the drop downs on.
  • Select the column (or cells) you want to add the drop downs to.
  • Click on the Data Tab on Excel Menu Bar.
  • Click on the Validate down arrow and select Data Validation
  • A pop up screen will display. Under the Allow: drop down, select List.
  • The cursor will be in the Source field in the pop up screen.
  • Leaving the pop up screen open, click on the sheet where your list is.
  • Select the drop down options you want for that column.
  • The Pop up screen will now display that sheet and cell numbers.
  • In the pop up screen, click okay.
  • Test to make sure all is as you want.

Copy and Paste is so much easier!

Did you know that you can copy the index in a record from ancestry.com and paste it into a cell? This saves lots of time. There may be more information on the actual record, but not having to retype that initial information is a real time saver. Just be sure to double click inside the cell before pasting.


Although I figured some of this out using Google search, I picked up many of the tips from Thomas MacEntee’s Hack Genealogy Webinar Research Right: Tracking and Evaluating Your Genealogy Research Boot Camp. This Webinar was well worth the cost of only $9.95 IMHO. Thanks, Thomas, you kept me from a lot of rework in my Do-Over!


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