Monthly Archives: May 2016

How do I flip a column in Excel 2007, 2010 and 2013?

In this article, I’m going to explain how to flip a column in Excel 2007, 2010 or 2013 (using screen shots from Excel 2013). Flip a column is what I searched for – you might have asked how to reverse a column or put a column in reverse order.

Note: I was a bit surprised by the solution to this one, but I’ve asked the experts and it is the only way to do this. If you have a better and simpler way (that doesn’t involve macros or coding) please pop a comment on this article or contact me!

Why would I want to put a column in reverse order?

I’m doing my accounts at the moment. I have a spreadsheet of my bank transactions which runs from the newest at the top to the oldest at the bottom. My list of invoices runs from the oldest at the top to the newest at the bottom. If I want to compare them, I want them to both be the same way around, but I need the bank transactions to be in exactly the same order, just the other way around.

Will using Data > Sort flip my column?

The usual way to change the order of columns in Excel is to use the Data > Sort function. However, if you sort by transaction date, it won’t necessarily sort it into the same order the other way around.

For example, we have a set of bank transactions which I’ve named in alphabetical order down the client column to make it easier to see what happens next:

1 spreadsheet

If I highlight all of the columns, go to the Data tab and choose to sort by date, older to newer, I get this result, which is NOT in exact reverse order:

1a spreadsheet sorted by date

So, what’s the solution? I was a bit surprised when I searched and searched for the answer, but it is the only way to do it …

So, how do I flip my columns so they’re in exact reverse order?

To do this, we need to create an extra column to sort by, and then reverse sort by that rather than date or any other column.

First, create a new column called sort and fill it with numbers from 1 to whatever your total number of rows is:

2 sort column

Expert tip: rather than typing these numbers manually, if you have a lot of rows, and to avoid errors, you can create a quick formula to insert the numbers automatically. Type 1 in the first row then the formula you can see below in the next row, where you get the F2 by clicking on the cell containing the 1:

2a sort column

Then, copy the cell with the formula (right-click, copy), highlight the rest of that column down to the last row and right-click, paste. This will give you the same effect. Note, though, when you sort by this column, the numbers will turn into rows of #####, BUT the sort will still work OK.

Once you have your additional Sort column, you are ready to reverse your columns.

Highlight all of the data and, in the Data Tab, choose Sort:

4 sort data

In the Sort Dialog Box, choose to sort by the Sort column, and from Largest to Smallest (i.e. the reverse order to its current order):

5 sort data

Press OK and hooray – your spreadsheet is sorted into exact reverse order. Just delete the now-redundant Sort column (highlight, right-click, delete):

7 delete sort column

and here’s your bank transactions in reverse order – you have flipped the column!

6 data sorted

This article has explained the (slightly surprising) way to flip the columns in an excel 2007, 2010 or 2013 spreadsheet, not using data sort, but another message. If you need to reverse the order of your columns exactly, then this is the way to do it.

If you’ve found this article helpful or if you have a better solution, please do post a comment below, and if you think others would find it useful, please share it using the sharing buttons below the article. Thank you!

Other useful posts on Excel on this blog:

How to view two workbooks side by side in Excel 2007 and 2010

How to view two pages of a workbook at the same time

How do I print the column headings on every sheet in Excel?

How to print the column and row numbers/ letters and gridlines

Freezing rows and columns in Excel – and freezing both at the same time


Posted by on May 25, 2016 in Excel, Short cuts


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Glossaries for transcription: What, why, when and how?

Glossaries for transcription: What, why, when and how?

It’s sometimes useful for and sometimes imposed upon a transcriber to use a glossary. What is a glossary, why would you use one, when should you use one and how do you use one?

What is a transcription glossary?

In my opinion, a good transcriber is an accurate transcriber. They look things up rather than sticking down the first thing they (think they) hear. When I’m transcribing, I always have some kind of reference resource open, whether that’s Google, the subject’s website, Wikipedia or something specific like discogs for looking up band and album information.

A glossary is a list of technical or subject-specific words or phrases which appear regularly in (usually a long series of) transcriptions. It helps you to avoid having to look things up more than once. The glossary acts as a reference for you, so you need only look up, say, the place the subject was born or the names of her children once, note them down, then have them to hand when they crop up again. It’s like a style sheet in many ways.

You might also be given a glossary as part of a corporate transcription project – this will happen where (usually) a company requires you to use certain specific terminology or acronyms in your transcription. I always ask for one of these at the start of a big corporate project, as it saves annoying the company by (for example), typing Park Run throughout the transcription rather than parkrun [that’s a completely invented example; I’ve never transcribed anything about parkrun].

Why should I use a transcription glossary?

As I said above, a good transcriber will look stuff up. If you’ve got a series of transcriptions, for example a set of interviews for a ghostwriter, a set of lectures about a particular topic or a set of tester interviews for a cosmetics company, it makes sense to keep a note of specific or technical terms and phrases. For example, if someone’s made a number of YouTube films, having a list of them is easier than looking it up each time.

Using the glossary will save time, as instead of looking up your subject’s children’s names three times, you’ll look it up once, note it down once, then cast your eyes over your glossary next time.

Of course, as I also mention above, you might be asked to use a glossary (or word list, or list of terms) by your client – usually a corporate client.

When should I use a transcription glossary?

There’s no point in putting together a glossary for a one-off interview or other transcription job. These are some examples of when I’ve used glossaries [these are disguised due to NDAs]

  • working for a ghostwriter writing a book about an entertainer – place of birth, film-making colleagues and YouTube video titles were all checked and written down
  • working for a marketing agency testing lipsticks with a panel – lipstick colour names, technical terms to do with lipsticks and general cosmetics terms
  • working for a student researching attitudes to perfumes – technical perfume terms, companies making perfumes and perfume names
  • working for a financial company taking down lectures and discussions, I was given a list of technical terms and acronyms to use

How do I put together a transcription glossary?

I have a Word document open alongside the one in which I’m typing my transcription. As I look up a name or term, I pop it on the list. I will usually divide up the list by people, places, albums, etc.

I then keep both documents open, so I can see the glossary as I’m typing, which means I can just flick my eyes across to the glossary when the interviewee says “Mytholmroyd”, I know how to spell it or indeed what they’re saying [apologies to anyone from there].

This article has explained what a transcription glossary is and when, why and how you might find one useful in your work as a transcriber.

If you’ve found this article useful, please do comment below – I always love to hear from my readers! There are sharing buttons there, too, so you can share this on whatever social media platforms you use. Thank you!

Other useful articles on this blog

How do you start a career in transcription? – are you suited for it?

The professional transcriber – the technology you need

10 top tips for transcribers – what every new transcriber needs to know

Why do you need human transcribers, anyway? – I explain why!

Keyboards, ergonomics and RSI – the risks and keeping safe

Transcribing multiple voices – hints to make it easier

Why do transcribers charge by the audio minute? – explains it all

My book, Quick Guide to your Career in Transcription is available in print and online


Posted by on May 18, 2016 in Business, Transcription, Word


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12 things I learned from the Great Computer Crash of April 2016

deskI have automated back-ups that keep a copy of my work every day. I have a system in place for if my computer fails. I thought I had it all covered, and I almost did – but this is what I learned when my hard drive suddenly crashed in somewhat epic fashion one week last month, followed by another, more catastrophic crash of the cobbled-together system I was working on while plucking up the courage to move to my new computer. I thought it might help other people – do share your tips in the comments!

1. Check your back-ups are working

It’s great to have back-ups running, but do check periodically that they are running.

2. If you have two back-up systems, one immediately accessible, one not, it is the accessible one that will fail

Therefore, be prepared to have a short time without your data before whoever it is that can access your back-up can do so.

3. Have a reserve computer of some kind

Don’t assume you will be able to use your computer after a crash. I had my laptop as my reserve; I would now be using my old computer as a reserve, if I hadn’t broken in.

4. If you have a reserve computer, run maintenance on it every few weeks

That way, when you come to use it in a panic (see 5), it won’t be wanting to do 5,000,000 updates and will have a wi-fi connection that works more quickly than wading through mud.

5. Crashes aren’t predictable but you can predict one thing …

They won’t happen when you have three weeks with not much work on. They will come when you have a busy week. If it crashes twice, that will be in two busy weeks and might make you miss a theatre trip.

6. There is no good time to move to a new computer, but do it as soon as you can

If you get a new computer but you’re baulking on swapping over to it, make yourself do it as soon as you can. Doing that “one last thing” before I moved over was when my second and worse crash – the one that lost data – happened.

7. Always be ahead with your work deadlines

This saved me, just. I lost two half-days but was able to salvage my work. I will even more strive to work ahead of myself.

8. Don’t get so hyper-vigilant that you stress yourself out

I had a separate special folder for all the work I’d done since the crash, on an external hard drive, for far too long, out of fear. That’s the same fear that stopped me moving to the new computer.

9. If you have to upgrade to Windows 10, it’s easier to do on a whole new machine

One positive: I ended up on Windows 10 by default, as my new computer has it. Much less stressful than having to do an upgrade on your current computer.

10. Keep a list of what software you use regularly

Not everything you’ve downloaded, but when setting up a new computer or restoring things from a crash, you might well need this in order to get going quickly.

11. Keep all your access codes, software licences etc. in one handy, easy to find place

I’m not suggesting you write down all your passwords – you can use a system like LastPass if that’s feasible for you, but all those codes and licences, etc. might be needed when reconstituting your computer – keep them somewhere sensible, like a special folder in your email.

12. Have a disaster plan; review the plan; keep everything for the plan up to date

It will happen to you: don’t think it won’t. Keep reviewing that plan. For example, I’m reviewing how I back up my files, although I have contracts in place that don’t allow me to store data in The Cloud.

These are the things I learned. Anything particularly helpful there? Anything to add? I’d love it if you popped your words of wisdom into a comment.


Posted by on May 4, 2016 in Business, Errors, Organisation


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