. 6
( 62 .)


minutes of work. The shorter the interval between saves under

Design Principles for Good Model Building 21

different names, the less you lose if you have a system crash.
It would be disastrous if you used the same name again and
again over days of development work! It is also a good idea to
save and rename whenever you have completed a particular
feature and you want to start adding something new to the

This page intentionally left blank.


Starting Out

Chapter 2 reviewed the design principles for model building.
In Chapter 3, we examine some of the controls in Excel that will
help us to put those principles into practice.

The computer is on and Excel is up and running, inviting us
to get to work immediately. But at this point, let™s pause for a
moment and stop ourselves from just rushing in. Artists facing a
blank canvas need to lay out their paints and brushes around
them so that things will be at hand when they are needed. In
the same way, we should prepare our Excel ˜˜canvas™™ and lay
out the tools so they will be conveniently at the ready. In this
chapter, we will be looking at customizing the following settings
in Excel:
Toolbars to have and how to customize the list of icons



Column width



Copyright © 2004 by John S. Tjia. Click here for terms of use.
Chapter 3

Editing settings

Calculation settings


At the top of your screen, you should see a row of icons. These
are little pictures which, when clicked on, will launch particular
sequences. For quick print, for example, you can just click on the
Print icon. Likewise, if you want to change the color of the font
in a cell to a different color, you can click on the Font Color icon.

Standard and Formatting Toolbars on Two Rows
Each icon takes up only a little bit of real estate space. It is
helpful to fit as many icons as you can into this toolbar space.
I would recommend that you choose to have the ˜˜Standard™™ and
˜˜Formatting™™ toolbars in place and have them shown as two
rows. You can do it through this setting:
1. View > Toolbars and then select Standard and Formatting.
This will make these two appear in the toolbar space.
2. View > Toolbars > Customize > Options to show the dialog
box shown in Figure 3-1. This is for setting how the two
toolbars appear and several other options.
Check the check box for ˜˜Show Standard and
Formatting toolbars on two rows.™™ Additionally, if you
do not want to work with abbreviated menus, check the
check box for ˜˜Always show full menus.™™ Abbreviated
menus can be exasperating because Excel will hide less
frequently used menu items. In theory, this is great,
unless you need to do something for the first time and
cannot find the menu command because it is hidden.
In the lower section, you can choose other settings,
including the animation for menus.

Adding a Third Standard Toolbar: Auditing
A third toolbar that should be part of the default set of toolbars is
the Audit toolbar. This will give you a set of icons that will allow

Starting Out 25


you to audit your model (for example, by showing the references
used by particular cells or where in the model particular cells are
being used).
Click on View > Toolbars > Auditing Toolbar to make the
toolbar appear. You can also go through Tools > Formula
Auditing > Show Formula Auditing Toolbar for the same effect.
In Excel XP, this will cause the toolbar to be inserted automati-
cally into one of the toolbar rows.
(For earlier versions of Excel, the command is Tools >
Auditing > Show Auditing Toolbar. The toolbar will then appear
floating in the main part of the screen. You can leave it there or
drag and drop it into one of the two rows occupied by the other two
toolbars; it is short enough to fit without taking up a third row.)
At the left edge of each toolbar group, you will notice a thin
highlighted vertical strip. Think of this as a handle. With your
mouse, you can click on this handle to drag and drop the toolbar
into any position you want, including creating another row of
icons. As you add more toolbars, you can add a third or fourth
row, although by this time, you may be starting to limit severely
the amount of usable screen space. (See Figure 3-2.)

Chapter 3


Customizing the Toolbars Further
Once you have these toolbars installed, you can further cus-
tomize them by adding or deleting other icons, which are
listed by the type of function that they represent. You can see
the full list of functions by going through the following steps:
View > Toolbars > Customize > Commands. (See Figure 3-3.)

How to Add or Delete Icons from the Toolbars
You can add or delete more icons, in effect changing the set of
icons that come preset with the toolbars. The steps for adding

Starting Out 27

icons is the same for all. Let™s take the step of adding the ˜˜Save
As. . .™™ command to the toolbar. ˜˜Save As. . .™™ is a command that
does not have an icon, so when we add this to the toolbar,
we will just see a button that spells out ˜˜Save As. . .™™ The steps
are as follows:
1. Click on the category ˜˜File.™™
2. Click on the ˜˜Save As. . .™™ command and drag it to the
top of the screen.
3. In order for it be parked correctly, you must drag and
drop this onto an existing toolbar location. In this case,
you can park it right next to the Save icon (the icon
showing a diskette). If you drag and drop it into an empty
space outside of an existing toolbar, it will not ˜˜take.™™
4. You can drag and drop it to another location, but again,
it must be a location on an existing toolbar.
To delete an icon, just drag and drop it onto a location
outside the toolbars. This only works when you are in the
˜˜customize™™ mode. After some use, you will find which of the
icons you do not need or use, and can remove them accordingly.
This will free up more space for any new icons that you do want
to add.

Recommendations for Additional Icons to Have

1. From the File category
a. Set Print Area: To define your print area quickly.
b. Print Preview: To preview the page being printed
before it comes out of the printer.
2. From the Edit category
a. Delete Rows: To delete the whole row that your cursor
is in, without your having to highlight the whole row.
b. Delete Columns: The same, except that it works for the
column that your cursor is in.
3. From the View category
a. Zoom: To show you the zoom percentages of the screen
so that you can make your change. If you did not have

Chapter 3

this icon, you would have to through two steps (click
on View, and then Zoom) to get to the same place. This
may be minor, but if you are giving a presentation
to your project leader or client, an extra step under
pressure can make the stress level that much higher.
4. From the Insert category
a. Rows: To insert a whole row that your cursor is in,
without your having to highlight the whole row by
clicking on the row number bar at the left of the
b. Columns: The same effect, except that it inserts a column.
5. From the Format category
a. Font: This and the following icon will show you the
current settings.
b. Font Size.
c. Style: If you are using styles (and you should), to tell
you at a glance whether you have the right format
or not.
d. Borders: A multipurpose icon that, when clicked on,
will show a small window of 12 other border settings
that can apply to the cell or range of cells that you
have highlighted. However, if you want to make
special border attributes (e.g., dashed or double lines
in different colors), you will still have to click on
Format > Cells > Border.
e. Bottom Border: Although the Border icon can help you
to apply any of 12 border setting quickly, it does not


. 6
( 62 .)