Using the Excel Status Bar

By Lisa Haynes, Senior Research Analyst, Texas Woman's University

As presented in many previous Tech Tips, we have seen that there are usually a number of different ways to accomplish the same task in Excel. Offered below is a very basic, but extremely efficient tip on working with both filtered and non-filtered data that will work with Excel 2007 or later.

The status bar (the bar with the word, “Ready” in the lower left corner), found at the bottom of the Excel screen, provides a quick and easy method to display information to the user. For example, the user can see if the Caps Lock is on, or the page number at a glance. By far the quickest way to see the average, count, or sum of selected cells is by taking a quick look at the status bar, once it has been customized.

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Customizing the Status Bar:

Right click on the Status Bar and select the options that you want to enable (figure shown on left). Shown on the right are Defaultsoptions that are usually selected).

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In the example below, we can see that the status bar reports the average, the numerical count of cells that contain data, and the count (includes the cells that contain data and counts the header row). It also shows the minimum and maximum values in the selected cells, and the sum of the data in those cells. One can also see that the average GPA of the 96 students in our filtered group is 3.15. We can also see that the minimum GPA is 2.16 and the maximum GPA is 3.93. To the right of the Ready indicator, it is apparent there are 1,354 records in our file.

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In the following example, notice that qualitative data can be counted. In the “Degree” column we filtered for undergraduate degrees and even though there is no numerical data in column D, we see in the status bar that there were 16 students who earned baccalaureate degrees. But, we could also filter for “MonthGraduated” and “Program” in the same way
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Please note the status bar can collect data vertically, as in our examples, but also horizontally, or in a table array. Also noteworthy: If any cells are empty, they will not be considered in the numerical information found in the status bar. Using the Status Bar in Excel will save you mouse clicks and will increase efficiency working with large amounts of data, especially if you seek basic statistics on a moment’s notice.

 

 

 

 

 Comments

 
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Total Comments: 11
 
Lee posted on 9/10/2015 2:19 PM
Thanks, Lisa, for a helpful tip! I never really paid much attention to the flexibility of the status bar, so this will help me use it more effectively in the future.
Sasha posted on 9/10/2015 4:58 PM
Hi Lisa, Great tip for Excel! I use this on a regular basis but did not know that I could customize it with indicators I would like to see at a quick glance. Thank you!

Sasha E. Heard
Director, Institutional Research
Allied American University
Email: sheard@allied.edu
Johnson posted on 9/11/2015 1:56 AM
Hello Lisa,

Thanks for the excel tip! it has never dawned on me that i can actually customize the status bar.I just customize mine!
Christina posted on 9/11/2015 7:13 AM
Thanks for the tip - I use the status bar all the time for basic counts and sums but have also never looked into customizing it.
Terry posted on 9/11/2015 2:08 PM
Lisa, thanks for pointing out how if we just look at our screens we can save ourselves tons of work. Excel has so much to offer if we keep our eyes open.
Lori posted on 9/11/2015 4:53 PM
Thanks so much Lisa. I have used the status bar for years in all of the version of MS Excel, but I back when I first set it up, it did not have as many features as it does now. Reading this tip made me revisit that feature and find that I was not taking full advantage of the status bar....now I will.
Shawn posted on 9/14/2015 2:08 PM
Never knew about customizing the status bar, thanks for the tip!
Ray posted on 9/18/2015 11:01 AM
Great tip! Other than the zoom in/out button, I never paid too much attention to the status bar. Having worked in Excel for 20+ years, I often do things the same old way because I am used to it, and never pay much attention to some of the new features. I will certainly use this tip. Thanks
David posted on 9/23/2015 9:16 AM
Thanks for sharing. I love this feature! Using it together with filters, I find I can answer the first round of questions anyone has about a new data set as fast as they come up with them. My stand-bys are average, max, sum, and count.
Heather posted on 9/25/2015 3:53 PM
Thanks, Lisa! I *love* the Status bar but didn't know it was customizable! It's especially great when you're working with people who don't know it's there and can wow them with your lightning-fast abilities in calculating averages, sums, counts, etc. :) It's also a great way to double-check that formulas are calculating what you think they are!
Karl Jungclaus posted on 9/25/2017 3:44 PM
My status bar in excel is very difficult to read (font is to lite). How do I darken the font?