The Thrill of F4

Quick Summary:

  • Use the F4 key on your keyboard to toggle from a relative cell reference through the three variations of absolute cell references.
  • The F4 key works for this application in Microsoft Office Excel and Google Sheets.

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Via a few effective examples, Mike “ExcelIsFun” Girvin explains cell references and the time-saving advantages of using F4 in the following video. He specifically covers the F4 keyboard shortcut starting around 3:25.

Mike also teaches a broader, productive lesson of analytical inquiry and the benefits of tinkering, when he observes:

“This is getting annoying.”

And he asks:

“There’s got to be a way in Excel, instead of having to create all these formulas by hand — there’s got to be a way to tell Excel…

Let us know what you think.

If you use a spreadsheet program other than Microsoft Office Excel or Google Sheets , let us know how absolute cell references are manipulated therein.

Find Full Names on LinkedIn

Quick Summary:

Find the name or full name of a person of interest in LinkedIn via the People Also Viewed list, typically located in a right-hand menu on the search results page.

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For whatever reason, you would like to find the full name, say, of a CIO at Company X whose name appears as Jon S. in a LinkedIn search result.

One simple solution is to take advantage of the People Also Viewed list that typically appears on the right-hand side of a person’s profile. In our experience, only full names appear in the People Also Viewed list. So, while you’re viewing Jon S’s profile, click on the first person in his People Also Viewed list. You may see Jon S’s full name in that person’s People Also Viewed list. The second line of information (usually the person’s job title) will help you confirm the match. If Jon S’s full name doesn’t appear, try the next person on Jon S’s People Also Viewed list. And so on.

Write in Plain English

The US Securities and Exchange Commission publishes a writing guide entitled A Plain English Handbook, which is useful for anyone reporting on markets and industries. If you don’t believe us, consider believing Warren Buffet. In the guide’s Preface, he writes:

“This handbook, and Chairman Levitt’s whole drive to encourage “plain English” in disclosure documents, are good news for me. For more than forty years, I’ve studied the documents that public companies file. Too often, I’ve been unable to decipher just what is being said or, worse yet, had to conclude that nothing was being said. If corporate lawyers and their clients follow the advice in this handbook, my life is going to become much easier.

There are several possible explanations as to why I and others sometimes stumble over an accounting note or indenture description. Maybe we simply don’t have the technical knowledge to grasp what the writer wishes to convey. Or perhaps the writer doesn’t understand what he or she is talking about. In some cases, moreover, I suspect that a less-thanscrupulous issuer doesn’t want us to understand a subject it feels legally obligated to touch upon.

Perhaps the most common problem, however, is that a well-intentioned and informed writer simply fails to get the message across to an intelligent, interested reader. In that case, stilted jargon and complex constructions are usually the villains.

This handbook tells you how to free yourself of those impediments to effective communication. Write as this handbook instructs you and you will be amazed at how much smarter your readers will think you have become.”