Problem Solving Tip

This is probably the best troubleshooting or problem solving tip you will ever read when it comes to trying to figure out why a macro, a formula, a link, a chart, etc is not working the way you want to.


There are only 3 steps involved!

  1. Take your left hand and put it on your lap or desk
  2. Take your right and and put it on your lap or desk
  3. Think!!

 touch typing tip

Flicking between screens will get you nowhere, it only gives you more things to look at when you only need to look at one thing…. the problem!!

Using the Alt+Tab shortcut to flick between screens is a really useful keyboard shortcut, except when it comes to understanding a problem.

And trust me, as somebody that is often called on to help with these problems, the most frustrating thing to see is somebody flicking between screens and trying to explain what has gone wrong or what the user is trying to do.

If you have to call a mechanic to look at your car do you show them the engine, run around to show them the tyres, run back to the engine, run to the boot, run back to the engine?

No, you tell them the problem, how it feels driving, any weird sounds, if it is starting at all, etc.  Then they can look at possible causes of your problem.


I always tell the person to follow the 3 steps above, take the hands away from the keyboard and mouse and tell me what the problem is!!

You should take a second to think about what you did, what you meant to do, what you need to do, what is the error message telling you if there is one, etc.  You can’t do this if you are flicking between screens.

You may find that if you talk yourself through the problem you may often find the solution – a lot quicker than flicking through screens.

If you are asking for another person’s help with a problem, tell them the problem first and then they may ask you to look at one possible issue at a time, again this can be a lot quicker (and less frustrating) than flicking through distracting, irrelevant screens.


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