24.10.2015

Find a number in excel cell

If there’s one task most marketers share — whether their focus is SEO, paid search, or social media — it’s collecting and interpreting data. Yet, one of the biggest mistakes marketers make is trying to wrangle static data instead of taking advantage of Excel’s table formatting, which basically turns your data range into an interactive database.
I’ll demonstrate using a data dump from SEMRush for a shoe website I checked into after seeing the coolest shoe store in Manhattan last week, Shoe Mania. SEMRush is a great jumping-off point for competitive analysis because it lets you know the keywords that the site is ranking for on the first two pages of Google. I also added some summary data at the top of the sheet, leaving me with a worksheet that is clean, visually appealing, and interactive. The best benefit to formatting your data as a table, in my opinion, is the multiplicity of sort and filter options it affords. Color. Whether you apply a background fill or font color manually or by using conditional formatting, you can use that color to sort your data. In this example — as I frequently do with SEMRush data when analyzing it — I sorted first by Search Volume in descending order and then by Keyword in ascending order, which essentially allows me to see if keywords are driving traffic to competing landing pages.
Sometimes, especially with branded keywords, this is a good thing because it indicates indented or multiple listings; other times it means that Google can’t tell which page to send traffic to for a particular keyword. At any time, you can release these filters by choosing Clear Filter from [Heading] from the drop-down menu on a PC and the Clear Filter button on a Mac. With this example, I was able to filter out all of the branded keywords for Shoe Mania by using a combination filter, as you can see in the screenshot below.
However, one time I was trying to filter by all keywords that contained halloween, and it was no small task. I was eventually able to capture all but a few with a “Contains” filter that employed both the ?
That translates to, “I know it starts with an h and then could have any one letter after that (to capture the variations that use an o instead of an a). Manual Selection: This option allows you to select and deselect individual values from the filter drop-down. However, if you want to apply specific colors to keep with your branding, you can create a custom table style by choosing New Table Style under the Format as Table drop-down. For demonstration purposes, we’ll use Shoe Mania’s blue and green logo colors to apply some formatting to the header row and borders. To give the text more contrast, I set the Color to white and Font Style to bold by navigating to the Font tab in the Format Cells dialog and choosing those options. Finally, I formatted the border by choosing Whole Table from the New Table Quick Style menu (since we want to apply these borders to the entire table and not just the Header). Pro Tip: One thing to remember, if you want to change the border color, is you have to choose your color and then either click on each of the lines you want to apply this color to or select the individual buttons. If you click on any cell inside a formatted table, a Table Tools tab appears with a secondary Design tab immediately below it.
In the Mac version, you’ll find the table formatting options under the Tables tab because it would just make too much sense for Microsoft to keep the UIs between the two platforms parallel. To rename a table on a Mac, click the Rename option under Tools and enter the table name in the text box that appears below it and to the left.
Total Row: As you would suspect, this option allows you to add a total row at the bottom of your table. This post can’t possibly cover all the cool options you have with tables, but there are a few faves I’ll mention here. However, one option you get with a formatted table that you won’t get by just adding filters is the flexibility in adding new columns or rows to your table.
If you scroll down the page, you will see a ghosted version of the headers stick to the top of the window. To learn more about how to rock tables in Excel, check out Microsoft’s resource for the PC and for Mac. Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.


SMX Advanced, the only conference designed for experienced search marketers, returns to Seattle June 22-23.
MarTech: The Marketing Tech Conference is for marketers responsible for selecting marketing technologies and developing marketing technologists. In my post on table formatting, I demonstrated how to transform your static data into a simple yet sexy database in a matter of seconds.
You can also choose different currencies from the drop-down menu to the right of the currency icon. If you don’t have decimals, you should ditch the decimals because they just add noise. Select the axis, press Ctrl-1 (Mac: Command-1) to bring up the formatting options, and adjust it in the Number section. Excel gives you quite a few options to choose from under Number > Date in the Format Cells dialog (which, again, you get to by pressing Ctrl-1 or Command-1 on the Mac). Sure, in the GWT interface they’re all colorful, but once you get them into Excel, they transform into the ugly duckling of data, and nothing stands out. If you’re a diva and those options are too constricting, Excel offers 56 colors in the form of [color X]. We’ll experiment with a GWT Search Queries report from the SEER Interactive site (the agency I work for).
This just tells Excel, in addition to the colors, make the numbers percentages with no decimals.
So the litmus test I follow — to keep my spreadsheets as light and agile as possible — is if it’s a static number, I use number formatting.
Since the color of the current rank is conditional on the rank of the previous day, week, or month (most importantly, a value from another column), you would need to use conditional formatting.
Even though I’m not a big fan of tabular data, there are quite a few things you can do to give your data a makeover and make it actionable, even within the confines of a table. So if you wanted to see all query terms that moved up in rankings in your GWT Search Queries report before those that fell, you can sort by putting the green numbers at the top, then the red, then the black.
To learn even more advanced uses of custom number formatting, check out this custom number formatting guide on the Microsoft site. Being able to slice and dice the data to find actionable insights is key to effective analysis.
It shows you Google US by default, but you can also choose from nine other countries or Bing (US only). CSV data dumps epitomize ugly data, but in less than two minutes, you can take a hideous data dump like this and transform it into a work of data art between table formatting and some strategically executed conditional formatting (a topic for another post). Then, I have a tab for the table formatted using a built-in style, with a third tab for the same table that is formatted using colors I pulled from the site’s logo.
I used conditional formatting to format the top 10% of Search Volumes with a yellow fill and the bottom 10% with a red font. So if I wanted the keywords with the highest search volume to float to the top of my table, I’d simply click on the yellow bar under Sort by Cell Color. If you want to sort by more than one value, you can choose Custom Sort under the Color menu. One great use of text filters is to filter out branded keywords in analytics, webmaster tools, or SEMRush data. The question mark represents a single character, and the asterisk any series of characters. People have no idea how to spell the word, and I had about 20 different variations and only two filters to work with.
I always like to have border colors, so I can turn off gridlines on the rest of the document.
Once in the Format Cells dialog, I chose the thin line style under Style, then set the border color to green by entering the RBG values from the Color drop-down menu. The first time selects everything but the header, and the second time selects your entire table.


You can easily navigate to one of your tables by choosing your table from the Name Box drop-down menu.
If you don’t know how to use vlookups, check out Distilled’s Microsoft Excel for SEOs guide.
Excel prompts you in a Remove Duplicates dialog to choose which columns you want to use for this deduping process. I never found a reason to use this until one day Danny Sullivan complained on Twitter about the filters in his tables. It’s pretty bourgeois when you can get fully formatted tables with the same number of clicks. At the risk of sounding cliche, your options are nearly endless once you learn how to rock the Custom option.
But Excel gives you the option to dictate formatting for positive, negative numbers, and even 0. However, if it’s formatting is conditional on another factor, I use conditional formatting. In the case of the webmaster data, all of the values are static, so we were able to use custom number formatting. Keep in mind (as you learned in the table formatting post) you can sort and filter by color once you apply any kind of color formatting to your data. You’ll understand why when you see all the cool things you can do with your data once you format it as a table.
If that option isn’t selected (which sometimes happens in the Mac version of Excel), just select it.
Click on the down-facing triangle in the column’s heading you want to sort the table by, and choose your sort option at the top of the drop-down menu.
This is a UI faux pas on Microsoft’s part, in my opinion, since you can use a custom sort that doesn’t use color formatting at all. Regrettably, Excel doesn’t support regular expressions (regex) out of the box, but fellow columnist Crosby Grant has shared a hack to use Regex via macros in Excel here. You can always go back and edit your custom style by right-clicking on it from the Format as Table drop-down and choosing Modify. It’s a must-learn skill that enables you to stitch together data from different sources as long as they share a common data point. After probing a bit, I found out he wanted to print the table and didn’t like the appearance of the filtered headers. Otherwise, your data will look like one of those housewives who goes to grocery store with curlers and a moo moo sporting red lipstick. PSA: Please — for the love of all that is holy and measurable — get rid of decimals in chart axes. When you see the flexibility you have with the custom number formatting, you’ll snub your nose at these bourgeois offerings. You can use leaders, just like you can do in Microsoft Word, by setting a character to repeat. Just throw an asterisk into your formula; then whatever character you put after it (in this case a space) will be repeated to fill up the cell.
We’ll just use one of the built-in styles for now but then customize one later in the post to show how easy it is to create a branded table. For example, you could get the status codes for each of the landing pages using Screaming Frog’s List Mode and pull those in to a new column using the landing pages as the common data point or impression and CTR data from Google Webmaster Tools using the keywords as the common data point. So I told him about this option, which gave him all of the style from his table without any of the functionality.
You don’t even get a Custom Sort option unless the column has some kind of color formatting.



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