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Friday, October 7, 2016

Love the New 'Explore' Tool in Google Sheets

Since the conversion to Google Suite this week, I am loving this new Explore tool that has popped up in my Docs and Slides... but, I especially love the Explore tool features in Google Sheets.

So, what's new?

Alternating Colors
Not a feature new to Sheets, but much easier to find thanks to the Explore update (as well as an update to the fill bucket menu). Now, as long as you are clicked in a box containing data, you can open up the Explore menu (found in the bottom, right corner of your screen) and the second option from the top is "Formatting" and a variety of alternating color schemes to choose from.

Don't want the entire spreadsheet alternating? Click on "Edit" first and change the range of data that you want to color.

You can also now find the "Alternating Colors" tool right at the bottom of the "Color Fill" menu. This is also where you go to remove or make changes to the alternating color feature after its been enabled.

Conditional Formatting
Again, not a new feature in Sheets, but now it's easier to find this tool, with the option to open up the
conditional formatting menu via "Format" or the "Color Fill" menus.

Data Analysis with the Explore Tool
And now, for the real fun! Beyond the "Alternating Colors" option, the Explore tool is chock full of all sorts of data analysis and visualization tools automatically generated using the data in your spreadsheet. Interactive and colorful charts and graphs can be dragged into the spreadsheet, and can be still be saved as a separate image file once moved out of the explore tool. Scroll over those pretty little charts in the Explore tool and the associated columns are highlighted in the same color-coding as is used in the auto-generated graphs.

Upon highlighted a group of data, you can also view auto-calculated averages, mean, medians, etc. in the Explore tool, and then drag those calculations into your spreadsheet as well, all without having to manually type in any formulas.

Have a question about the data in your spreadsheet? Type it into the question box in the Explore Tool to learn even more about the data you've collected!

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