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Tabs Are Overrated

Microsoft Excel is a super powerful tool. I would say that my very best spreadsheets are created with this tool alone. However, there are a few features that aren’t the easiest to organize or customize, and one of these features is the sheet tabs at the bottom of the workbook.

Excel Worksheet Tabs

These tabs do indeed have some nifty features though. You can:

  • Move them
  • Rename them
  • And even color code them too

The problem is that this is where the customization options come to an end. So what do you do now?

I suggest you create your own navigation instead!

Full Navigation Panel

Building Your Own Navigation

In order to build your own customized navigation in an excel workbook, you just have to use a few different features you might not have thought of.

Use Hyperlinks

The first thing we are going to cover is the use of hyperlinks within your workbook.

Excel Ribbon | Add Hyperlinks

A hyperlink basically adds the ability for you to click on something that will then take you to a new location or page.

Did you know that you can add a hyperlink to any cell you want? What’s more, you can link that cell to absolutely any location within your current workbook, an entirely different workbook, anywhere on your computer, or even any public domain on the internet. Your options are practically limitless.

Utilizing the hyperlinking feature alone, you can create a very powerful and highly customizable navigation system to use instead of the limited tab options at the bottom of your workbook.

Add Links to Shapes

You can also capitalize on the use of shapes within your workbook to create a fully customized navigation system that is limited only by your imagination.

Navigation Buttons | Excel Shapes

You can change the color, size, look, and feel of any shape you create. On top of that, you can add a hyperlink to take you anywhere you want to go. All of a sudden, you have all the tools you need to create any kind of navigation system you want.

If you want to build a simple menu, you can do that just like this.

Simple Navigation Menu

If you want to build a navigation system three layers deep, you can do that too.

Yes, the tabs at the bottom of your workbook give you plenty of options for organizing all of your worksheets. But at the same time, there is a better way!

Layered Navigation Menu

As time goes on and innovation surges forward, what you can create has no limit. Sometimes all it takes is just a little thinking outside the tabs.

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