How to Use the Quick Analysis Tool in Excel

The Quick Analysis tool is the Swiss knife of data analytics that offers a set of easy-to-use yet powerful tools to manage data sets of any size – everything at the tip of your fingers

If you have never used it before, this seemingly simple Excel feature will quickly become your best friend to navigate the mean streets of spreadsheets with ease. 

In this ultimate beginner’s guide, you will learn everything you need to know to use the Quick Analysis tool in Excel.

Sample Data

To show you the full potential of this tool, we’re going to use the following table that contains the historical revenue data of six fictitious companies:

Quick Analysis sample data

Without further ado, let’s dive right in.

How to Turn on the Quick Analysis Tool

To start with, make sure the Quick Analysis tool is enabled. If that’s not the case, you can turn it on by doing the following:

1. Go to the File tab.

Go to the File tab

2. Click the “Options” button.

Click Options

3. In the General tab, check the “Show Quick Analysis options on selection” box.

4. Click “OK” to close the dialog box.

Turn on the Quick Analysis tool

Where Is The Quick Analysis Tool in Excel?

The beauty of this tool is that it’s just a few clicks away at any stage of working with your data. To open the Quick Analysis tool, you need to complete a few simple steps.

1. Highlight the cell range you want to apply the tool to (A1:D8).

2. Click the “Quick Analysis” button – or simply press the Ctrl + Q shortcut.

3. Once there, the Quick Analysis tool will appear at the right bottom corner of the highlighted cell range.

Where is the Quick Analysis tool in Excel

In order to help you wring every last drop of value out of this handy tool, we will cover its every single feature.

The Formatting Tab

The Formatting tab contains six data visualization tools that allow you to apply conditional formatting to your data, making it easier to analyze large volumes of data.

Data Bars

Data bars are a great tool to visualize your actual values. The length of the bars reflects the relative size of each value in comparison to the largest value in a data set. The color of the bars differentiates positive and negative values.

To add data bars using the Quick Analysis tool, in the Formatting tab, click “Data Bars.

Click Data Bars

Color Scale

Color scales are a type of conditional formatting that modifies a background fill based on the actual values of each cell.

When you apply a color scale in Excel, the largest value ($47,143,747) is colored in dark green while the smallest value is colored in dark red (-$13,120,353). The rest of the values are colored proportionally based on where they stand relative to the median (the 50th percentile).

In order to use a color scale in Quick Analysis, under “Formatting,” click “Color Scale.

Click Color Scale

Icon Set

An icon set adds icons to all of the values in a data set based on dynamically calculated threshold values. When you do that using the Quick Analysis tool, your values are broken down into three categories.

In order to add an icon set, under “Formatting,” click “Icon Set.

Click Icon Set

Greater Than

This conditional formatting type colors all worksheet cells that are greater than a specified value. Here’s how you can do this with your data.

1. In the Data Analysis tool, in the Formatting tab, choose “Greater Than.

Click Greater Than

2. In the dialog box that appears, under “Format cells that are GREATER THAN:”, enter “$10,000,000” to color all of the cells in our data set greater than this value.

3. Next to “with,” choose “Green Fill with Dark Green Text” to create a conditional formatting rule.

4. Click “OK.

Greater Than dialog box

As a result, all of the values that are greater than $10,000,000 will be colored in green.

Conditional formatting rule greater than

Top 10%

This conditional formatting rule works similar to “Top 10 Items,” recoloring the top 10 percent of values based on the number of items in the entire data set.

To highlight such values, in the Formatting tab, simply click “Top 10%.

Click Top 10%

Duplicate Values

This conditional formatting rule colors sifts through the highlighted data and colors all of the duplicate occurrences in a given data set.

To highlight all of the duplicate values in your data table, under “Formatting,” click “Duplicate Values.

Click Duplicate Values

Unique Values

This conditional formatting rule changes the color of cells that contain the values that occur only once in the selected data table.

To highlight the unique occurrences of values in your data set, in the Formatting tab, choose “Unique Values.

Click Unique Values

Clear Format

To remove any conditional formatting from the highlighted cells, under “Formatting,” click “Clear Format.

Click Clear Format

The Charts Tab

If you think that conditional formatting is everything the Quick Analysis tool has to offer, then think again.

With the help of this lovely tool, you can quickly put together an Excel chart to visualize your data. Here’s how you can pull it off.

1. Highlight your data table, open the Quick Analysis tool, and switch over to the Charts tab.

2. Select the chart type that you think works best with your data using the options suggested by Excel (“Clustered Column,” “Clustered Bar,” “Line,” “Stacked Column,” or “Stacked Bar”) or click “More Charts” to access more data visualization tools.

Quick Analysis the Charts tab

Note: Each time you want to create a chart using the Quick Analysis tool, Excel automatically tries to analyze your data set to provide custom recommendations based on the actual values. Notice how the suggested charts change once we remove two columns from the data table.

Chart type recommendations

Finally, let us walk you through the “More Charts” option for those looking to create advanced Excel charts with the help of the Quick Analysis tool.

3. In the Charts tab, click “More Charts.

Click More Charts

4. In the Recommended Charts tab, you can choose from a wider selection of Excel charts – alternatively, click the All Charts tab to access even more chart types.5. Click “OK” to close out of the dialog box.

The Insert Chart dialog box

Once you have followed all of the steps outlined above, you should get this lovely funnel chart.

Quick Analysis funnel chart

The Totals Tab

You think we’re done, right? We’re just getting started. In this section of the tutorial, we will show you how you can use the Quick Analysis tool to perform a quick data analysis.

The Totals tab offers you two sets of five identical data analysis tools (Sum, Average, Count, % Total, and Running Total) that you can apply both to rows and columns.

Quick Analysis the Totals tab

Let’s break down how to use each of these tools in greater detail.

Sum

Click “Sum” to sum the values of each column using the SUM function.

Click Sum

Average

Click the “Average” button to calculate the average value for each column (or row) using the AVERAGE function.

Click Average

Count

Click “Count” to calculate the number of rows in each column – or the number of columns in each row – using the COUNTA function.

Click Count

% Total

Click “% Total” to show the relative size of the sum of values in each column within the entire data set.

Click % Total

Running Total

Click “Running Total” to calculate a cumulative total – when you stack the sum of values in each column on top of each other.

Click Running Total

The Tables Tab

The Tables tab allows you to quickly convert your worksheet cells to a table or create a pivot table based on your data.

Table

Click “Table” to convert your regular range of data to a table.

Click Table

At this stage, your cell range will be turned into a table:

Convert a cell range into a table

If you want to learn how to convert your table back to a normal range, check out this tutorial.

Blank PivotTable

Another thing you can do in the Tables tab is to create a blank pivot table.

To do that, under “Tables,” choose “Blank PivotTable.

Click Blank PivotTable

If you do that, Excel will create a new worksheet with the corresponding PivotTable fields set up for you.

PivotTable Fields

The Sparklines Tab

The last tab enables you to create simple in-cell sparkline charts to illustrate a pattern or trend in your data.

With the help of this tab, you can create line, column, and win-loss sparkline charts.

Line

To create a line sparkline in Excel using the Quick Analysis tool, under “Sparklines,” hit the “Line” button.

Click Line

Column

In order to put together a column sparkline in the Quick Analysis tool, under “Sparklines,” select “Column.

Click Column

Win/Loss

Finally, armed with the Quick Analysis tool, you can create a win/loss sparkline chart to illustrate positive and negative changes in values over a certain period of time.

To do that, under “Sparklines,” hit the “Win/Loss” button.

Click Win/Loss