How to Use Excel to Track Deadlinesby Filonia LeChat
Keeping track of deadlines can take many forms -- sticky notes attached to a computer monitor, chalk scribbling on a black board or notations in a planner. With Microsoft Excel, gather all deadline information together in one updateable format, with unlimited room for deadline details and additions, deletions and changes. Excel provides an at-a-glance view into deadlines as they approach and may be shared with deadline teams to get everyone on the same page.
Click into cell B1, the second cell in the first row. Type "Deadline" or "Date Assigned." To resize the column to fit the text, double-click the line to the right of the "B" separating the columns. Excel automatically resizes the column so the entire header fits.
Press the Tab key to move into the "C" column. Type "Date Started." Press the Tab key and type "Date Submitted." Press the Tab key and select "Date Approved" or "Date Returned." Add additional columns such as "Assigned To" or "Supervisor." Resize the columns as necessary.
Click into cell A2, the second cell in the first column. Type the first type of deadline to track, such as "News." Press the Enter key on the keyboard to drop to the cell below, A3. Type the next deadline to track, such as "Sports." Continue pressing Enter to add all items to track, such as "Lifestyle," "Entertainment," "Money" and other topics.
Highlight all of the deadline tracking items entered in column A. Click the "B" icon on the ribbon at the top of the page to boldface the items. Repeat the process with all of the column headers in the first row to make those bold as well. Optional: Highlight the headers and click the "Text Color" button, an "A" with a red line under it, to change the color of the headers.
Click the "File" tab. Select "Save As." Type a name for the file, such as "DeadlineTracker" and click the "Save" button.
Enter deadline information as it is distributed, such as when projects are assigned. Resave the tracker with a new name or date and version number, such as DeadlineTrackerMay2011, each time to keep a running collection of how deadlines are going, or simply save over the original spreadsheet to have an up-to-date single file to review.