Excel is an awesome tool if you do not have time to learn programming. Excel is also unbelievably frustrating and evil. However, having even some rudimentary skills with Excel can make sure that your life is less stressful.
My friend recently had a problem in that she had a data sheet with lots of values that had “>=” in front. These characters are not recognized in Excel, and makes it impossible for you to do any kind of calculations. Excel has a number of powerful and flexible functions that might help you, but they tend to rely on snipping out set portions of text (eg – the first 7 letters of a cell). One of my other friends suggested the solution of just using replace.
Replace (“ctrl+H”) is a useful tool in this case as it finds only specified characters and replaces them. *NOTE* you cannot replace with nothing, you have to replace with a zero. Here is an example of Replace at work: