Access Opportunity: The D2N2 Skills Access Hub

If you are a SME (Small-to-Medium-sized Enterprise), you may be missing out on an opportunity to Increase the skills of your employees and find out more about funding options available for training, as well as developing connections with training providers

It’s often difficult to know how to choose and access the right training and support for your business. The D2N2 Skills Access Hub can help with all enquiries regarding training, recruitment, apprenticeships and placements.

Is Your Business Eligible.

If your business is:

  • Based in Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham or Nottinghamshire
  • Employs fewer than 250 employees
  • One where less than 25% of the business is owned by an organisation that in itself is not an SME
  • One where annual turnover does not exceed €50m or its annual balance sheet does not exceed €43m

The great news is that, yes, your business is eligible for support from the D2N2 Skills Access Hub.

Delivery Partners for the scheme are Futures for Business, who can help you with growing, adapting, thriving and succeeding with training; the University of Nottingham, who can provide an exceptional research-led education; Direct Help & Advice, an independent charity, with a background in delivering accessible training to the local community, and Nottingham City Council, who offers a variety of support for local businesses, including PRINCE2 Project Management, Office 365 and Microsoft Excel, and many more.

The D2N2 Skills Access Hub officially launched on the 1st October 2020 and will run until 30th September 2023. It was designed to support businesses across D2N2 through advice, training and recruitment.

To find out more, visit the website, get in touch by emailing or by or completing the online enquiry form.

Women in Leadership

In November 2020, Maia Sandu became Moldova’s first woman president. In the same month, the American people elected Kamala Harris vice-president and, on the 20th January, she became the highest-ranking woman in US history. This, along with the fact that many other countries currently have female heads-of-state, may lead us to the conclusion that women are finally beginning to achieve parity with men in leadership roles. However, the truth actually is that a surprising number of people across the world still don’t trust women to lead effectively. 

The Reykjavik Index for Leadership measures how people feel about women in power. It looks at the perceptions of legitimacy of both male and female leaders in politics and across twenty professions. It also measures how men and women differ in their views, and whether men and women are viewed equally in terms of suitability for positions of power.

The Index assesses these attitudes toward female leadership in the G7 countries – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US – as well as India, Kenya and Nigeria. The most recent survey of the index, with more than 20,000 adult participants, led to some surprising and disheartening results.

Only 38% of people in Japan were comfortable with the idea of a female head of government or a female CEO. Even more surprisingly only 41% of people in Germany said they were very comfortable with a woman being the head of government. This is in spite of the fact that Angela Merkel has been German chancellor for over 15 years. Current thinking in this area is that it is common for beliefs about leadership to default to stereotypes about masculine behaviour and this can lead to unconscious gender bias. 

It is certainly the case that the underrepresentation of women in the boardroom and other areas of power, such as politics, is a problem that has to be tackled head on. Having more female leaders will lead to change in all of our perceived conceptions about who can lead. Not only that, women in positions of power challenges the stereotypes about what qualities are necessary in a leadership position. Having more women in leadership roles breaks down barriers and makes things better for all of us.

Infero’s Women in Leadership course is for women seeking to enhance their professional careers, develop their leadership skills, and become leaders in their organizations. It is also for workplace professionals, including managers and leaders who want to learn more about women in leadership.

This course builds on research that identifies the key factors that have proved vital to successful women leaders. It aims to help women develop both their inner confidence to realise their career potential and the practical skills required to lead themselves and others effectively.

Delivery Method – Instructor led, group-paced, classroom-delivery learning model with structured hands-on activities.

Prerequisites – There are no prerequisites for this course

Course Objectives – Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Lead people in an organization.
  • Overcome common leadership challenges.
  • Gain leadership excellence through effective communication

Course Content

Lesson 1: Leading People in an Organization

Topic 1A: Recognize Your Leadership Potential

Topic 1B: Leverage Your Unique Leadership Strengths

Lesson 2: Overcoming Common Leadership Challenges

Topic 2A: Respond to Resistance to Your Leadership

Topic 2B: Gain the Next Foothold in the Corporate Ladder

Lesson 3: Gaining Leadership Excellence Through Effective Communication

Topic 3A: Achieve Clarity in Communication

Topic 3B: Deliver Constructive Criticism

Topic 3C: Resolve Conflict

Contact us at Infero Training for more details.

Hidden Figures – Women in Science History

Historically, science has seemed to be a male dominated field and though that is now changing, we have always been told that in the past, that although women became scientists, there have been no real women scientists of note, except for very, very rare exceptions like Marie Curie. Whilst Histories of Science celebrate figures like Newton, Galileo or Einstein, female scientists were never mentioned at all and if they were, it would probably be in a supporting role.

Except that this version of history is not true and has never been true. There have always been great female scientists, who have made incredible contributions to our understanding and knowledge. Anyone who has seen the film ‘Hidden Figures’ about African American female mathematicians who worked at the NASA during the Space Race, will be aware that the history of women in science is one where the accomplishments of women is just not acknowledged. In fact, women scientists have been actively written out of history. The historian Margaret Rossiter has devoted her life to bringing to light the ingenious accomplishments of those who have been forgotten.

In her book Women Scientists in America, Margaret Rossiter investigates the systematic way that the field of science actually deterred women, but also relates the ingenious methods that enterprising women nonetheless found to pursue knowledge in their various subject areas.

“It is important to note early that women’s historically subordinate ‘place,’ in science (and thus their invisibility to even experienced historians of science) was not a coincidence and was not due to any lack of merit on their part. It was due to the camouflage intentionally placed over their presence in science.”

There are many female scientists who actually changed the world, breaking boundaries and making important discoveries. Here are 10 of them:

Ada Lovelace – Mathmatics

Dec. 10, 1815-Nov. 27, 1852

Many consider Lovelace to be the first computer programmer, long before what we would now call computer even existed. After working with Charles Babbage, who proposed an Analytical Engine (a programmable, general-purpose computer) she recognised that the machine might have applications beyond pure calculation, and published the first algorithm (programme) intended to be carried out by such a machine.

Ada Lovelace

Janaki Ammal – Botany

Nov. 4, 1897-Feb. 7, 1984

Janaki Ammal was an Indian botanist who worked on plant breeding, with work involving studies on sugarcane and the aubergine She also worked in ethnobotany, and took an interest in plants of medicinal and economic value from the rain forests of India. She developed several hybrid species still grown today and advocated for protecting the biodiversity of India.

Katherine Johnson – Mathmatics

Aug. 26, 1918-Feb. 24, 2020

An American mathematician, made famous by the film ‘Hidden Figures’, whose calculations of orbital mechanics were critical to the success of the first U.S. crewed spaceflights. Her calculations were also essential to the beginning of the Space Shuttle program, and she worked on plans for a mission to Mars. In 2019, Katherine Johnson was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

Katherine Johnson

Beatrice Shilling – Aeronautical Engineering

8 March 1909 – 18 November 1990

Beatrice “Tilly” Shilling was a British aeronautical engineer and amateur racing driver, who purchased her first motorcycle at age fourteen and later obtaining a Bachelor and Master’s degree in mechanical engineering During the Second World War,  after Royal Air Force pilots discovered a serious problem of stalling in fighter planes with Rolls-Royce engines, she designed and developed a small device – a brass thimble with a hole in the middle – to restrict fuel flow to the engine’s carburettor solving a problem that had jeopardised the life of pilots.

Beatrice Shilling

Jennifer Doudna – Biochemisty

Feb. 19, 1964-

Doudna is an American biochemist. She has made fundamental contributions in biochemistry and is one of the primary developers of CRISPR, a ground-breaking technology for editing genomes considered one of the most significant discoveries in the history of biology. She was awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with Emmanuelle Charpentier.

Rosalind Franklin – Chemistry

July 25, 1920-April 16, 1958

Rosalind Franklin was an English whose work was central to the understanding of the molecular structures of DNA. Along with subsequent related work, this led to Francis Crick, James Watson, and Maurice Wilkins being awarded a Nobel Prize in 1962.  After finishing her work on DNA, Franklin led pioneering work at Birkbeck on the molecular structures of viruses. Her team member Aaron Klug continued her research, winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1982. Had Franklin been alive, she would very likely have shared the Nobel Prize.

Rosalind Franklin (Credit: MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology)

Marie Curie – Chemistry

Nov. 7, 1867-July 4, 1934

Probably the well-known scientist on this list, Curie’s achievements include pioneering research on radioactivity. She developed mobile radiography units during World War One and with her husband, Pierre discovered the radioactive elements polonium and radium. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and the only woman to win the Nobel Prize twice, and the only person to win the Nobel Prize in two scientific fields.

Marie Curie

Chien-Shiung Wu – Experimental Physics

May 31, 1912-Feb. 16, 1997

Chien-Shiung Wu worked on the Manhattan Project and made significant contributions in the field of nuclear physics. She is known for conducting the Wu experiment, which proved that parity is not conserved. The discovery resulted in her male colleagues Tsung-Dao Lee and Chen-Ning Yang winning the 1957 Nobel Prize in Physics, Wu’s contribution was only recognised when she was awarded the inaugural Wolf Prize in Physics in 1978. She was nicknamed the “First Lady of Physics” and the “Queen of Nuclear Research”.

Chien-Shiung Wu

Vera Rubin- Astronomy

July 23, 1928-Dec. 25, 2016

Vera Rubin was an American Astronomer who was a pioneer in work on galaxy rotation rates, discovering a discrepancy between the predicted motion of galaxies and observed motion. Known as the galaxy rotation problem, it provided evidence of the existence of dark matter The New York Times described her legacy as “ushering in a Copernican-scale change” in cosmological theory and is the one of the most significant discoveries of the 20th century.

Vera Rubin

Gladys West, Mathematician


Inducted into the U.S. Air Force Hall of Fame in 2018, Gladys Mae West is an American who has made significant contributions to the mathematical modelling of the shape of the Earth. Her work was eventually incorporated into Global Positioning System (GPS).[1] West was inducted into the United States Air Force Hall of Fame in 2018. After retiring, she completed a PHD in a completely different area.

Gladys West
US Air Force, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

History is full of many, many more women who have made enormous contributions to science.

What is SharePoint? A Guide for Beginner’s

You may have heard of SharePoint. You may even have used it, but what exactly is it and is it something that you or your organisation should know about and be using? It may well be that it is, as more than 250,000 organisations now use SharePoint. Not only that, more and more companies require people who are power users and who know the ins and outs of this software.

What is SharePoint?

SharePoint is a website-based team collaboration system. At its most basic organizations use it to create websites. What makes it so useful is that you can use it as a secure place to store, organize, share, and access information from any device. All that is required to use SharePoint is a web browser.

The fact that SharePoint is secure allows an organisation using SharePoint to control access to information and automate workflow. SharePoint is also:

  • A content management system which stores documents and allows them to be collaborated on.
  • A system that provides easy integration with other Office applications such as Word, PowerPoint, Outlook and Teams.

SharePoint isn’t Just One Thing

Although we talk about SharePoint as if it is one thing, it can actually refer to one or more products or technologies. For simplicity, however, there are two main SharePoint alternatives:

SharePoint Server       This is a version of SharePoint that an organisation manages on its own premises. That is, that organisation’s IT department would install SharePoint on the company’s own servers. An Office 365 Enterprise subscription can be purchased from Microsoft to take advantage of all the latest features, but essentially this version of SharePoint is entirely managed by the organisation itself. This might be suitable for larger organisations.

SharePoint in Microsoft 365       In this case Microsoft hosts SharePoint as a cloud-based service. This is suitable for businesses of all sizes. There is no need for the company to install SharePoint on its own premises. All that is required is subscription to a Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) plan or to the standalone SharePoint Online service.

What most people won’t be aware of is that SharePoint allows sync with OneDrive, which many of us already use.

What Are the Benefits of Using SharePoint?

1. Create and Share Site Templates

SharePoint is a powerful and very flexible tool that allows you to fully customise your sites through the use of lists, workflows, own branding and logos. The added benefit of this is that once a site has been created, it can then be saved as a template and used again, as many times as you wish.

An additional benefit is that the template that has been created can hold all of includes the basic framework of the website, including its libraries, content, documents and lists. Templates can be imported to other SharePoint environments and even shared with other SharePoint users.

2. Use SharePoint columns

Devoted Excel users will be excited by SharePoint columns which enable users to group, filter and sort complex sets of data. SharePoint columns also allow users to apply specific criteria to lists and libraries across multiple team sites. For example, you might set up your columns so you can track invoices by customer name and region. 

3. Drag and Drop from Your Computer

The best SharePoint feature for many day-to-day users is its convenient drag-and-drop interface, which allows them to easily upload documents from their own device. Using Microsoft’s Edge browser entire folders can be uploaded at once.

4. Team Sites with Group Permissions

Many believe that one of the best features of Microsoft SharePoint is its ability to create Team sites. The process is simple; sign in to your Office 365 account and then run the site creation wizard which will take you through the process step by step. Whilst setting up your site, you will have the opportunity to create group email lists. You can also configure the site so it is available to everyone in your organisation or only specific groups.

5. Team Collaboration on Office Documents

Perhaps the most well-known and used SharePoint feature is that documents such as Word documents and Excel spreadsheets can be collaborated on, by a number of users, in real time. This Real-time collaboration allows member of a team working on the same document to know the position of other users in the document and see changes as they happen. Co-authoring allows users to apply updates made by others when they choose. SharePoint can be configured to allow multiple users to work on say an Excel spreadsheet without causing conflict or losing work.

Although it is extremely customisable and can scale up to extremely complex systems, at its fundamental level SharePoint is easy to maintain to understand. You can find out more about it and even download it here. Microsoft even offers a completely free, even if slightly older version, to download. At Infero, we offer a range of courses for beginners and advanced users.

Eight Things to Do with Unwanted Christmas Presents

Last year, people across the UK received £2.2 billion-worth of unwanted Christmas gifts. Now that January is over, it might be time to decide what to do with those that you don’t want or can’t use. Whether it’s a book you’ve read already, some socks that are not your style, a gift card for a shop you don’t use, or a shirt you couldn’t possibly wear outside of the house, there are a number of options for getting rid of those unwanted presents to ensure that they fulfil their purpose and don’t go to waste. After all someone else may enjoy them even if you don’t.

1. Return or Exchange

Returning or exchanging the gift is possibly the first thing we would think of. If the receipt was included with your present you should be able to take it back to the store. Without the receipt, all is not lost. You may be able to ask the person who gave you the present for the receipt instead, but if this isn’t possible, many shops will let you exchange undamaged goods for alternative items. If the present was purchased online, things are little more complicated, as there is a limited period to return and exchange items.

2. Regift It

Although this used to be an utter no-no, re-gifting is acceptable if some thought is put into it. It’s not about just getting rid of something that doesn’t suit you, but giving it to someone who’ll genuinely appreciate it. And this doesn’t have to be done immediately; keep a box of surplus presents and you’ll always have a gift on hand when you need one. You will also need an excuse if the person you re-gift it to asks for the receipt to exchange it.

3. Charity Shops

Donate items to a charity shop has the double win that someone else will end up appreciating the item and money goes towards an important cause. Most Charity shops, however, will not accept certain items for safety, hygiene or legal reasons. These include:

  • Prescription glasses
  • Children’s clothes with drawstring hoods
  • Microwaves and electric fires 
  • Medication
  • Objects that can be used as weapons
  • Bicycles
  • Oil heaters, petrol or diesel fuelled items
  • Computer hard drives

Most items are ok, but check with the shop that you wish to donate to. Keep in mind that the shop might be closed because of a period of lockdown. Also, when charity shops have been open, many have been overwhelmed by donations, so check this first too. There is always the option to sell the items yourself and donate the money directly to the charity, although this, of course, is more work.

4. Donate to A Refuge/The Homeless/The NHS

There are many schemes to donate to the Women’s Aid and Refuge charities, and to specific refuges although donations must usually be sent to a general PO box address. You can also donate clothes and blankets to homeless, who may be more in need of the socks, hats, scarfs, jumpers and blankets you might have received at Christmas.

Toys can also be donated to children’s hospital’s or children’s wards in the NHS. Great Ormond Street advises that the older children love board games, computer games, Lego, arts and crafts. Babies wards would love to receive mobiles and other developmental toys. Keep in mind that donated toys must be new, but this makes unwanted Christmas presents perfect.

5. Sell it

Not every gift – that giant bottle of shampoo for instance – can be sold on, but most can. Sites like eBay and Gumtree offer a quick and easy way to help sell items, but it’s important to be wary of the fees. Alternative sites such as Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree and Preloved, however, may allow you to advertise items you want to sell, along with images and descriptions, for free. Just be sure the person who gave the present isn’t following the auction.

For unwanted games, CDs and electronics, you can use websites such as MusicMagpie to post your items for an agreed amount of cash.

6. Swap it

You can always swap a gift with a family member on Christmas Day? If that thought has come too late, then talk to friends. Perhaps they have an unwanted gift you’d love, whilst a present you hate is just their cup of tea?  That way you both end up happy.

7. Keep It at The Back of a Cupboard

If it just doesn’t feel right to sell or donate something thoughtfully chosen for you by a friend or family member, do what many people have always done. Pack it away in a cupboard. Maybe one of these days you, or somebody else, might need it.

8. Recycle It

If all else fails, don’t just consign the unwanted present to the bin and landfill. Companies including H&M, John Lewis & Partners, M&S and Nike have schemes in which they will buy back your unwanted clothes and trainers, or offer you a voucher. The organisation Recycling For Good Causes works with over 5000 charities and good causes to raise funds by recycling unwanted, donated items.

The basic answer to the problem of unwanted gifts is to think a little more when buying presents and ask if the recipient genuinely needs the gift, or whether it is the fact that it’s a novelty gift, or on sale, that is making it more attractive?  You can also try checking if the prospective present is on the list of the 10 of the most returned Christmas gifts, we might not buy as many unwanted presents and it would follow that we would also receive less.

Top Tips to Boost Your Immune System

All of us from time to time make efforts to improve our health, and boosting our immunity is one of the best ways to do this and there are many dietary and lifestyle changes that can strengthen your body’s natural defences and help you fight harmful bacteria or microbes.

Even small lifestyle changes can help improve our immune systems. Below we have a range of things you can do to improve your body’s resistance. Changing even one thing will be of benefit.

1. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep and immunity are actually closely tied and getting enough rest may strengthen your natural immunity. This makes sense as we sleep more when sick to allow the immune system to better fight the illness.

If you are having trouble sleeping, the best thing to do is to follow the same routine every day as this will help your body become accustomed to sleeping at the same time. Also try to limit screen time (including TV, computer, phone, or tablet) for an hour before going to bed and sleep in a completely dark room or use a sleep mask.

2. Eat More Fibre

The recommended daily amount of fibre is 30 grams. This should be enough to help your helpful, healthy gut bacteria thrive. Good sources of healthy fibres include vegetables, fruits, oats, legumes, nuts, dark chocolate, avocados, chia seeds and many other foods.

Eating fibre not only helps our gut bacteria, but also produces a chemical called butyrate, which recent research has shown helps us fight harmful bacteria and boost our resistance up to 80%.

3. Cut Down on Sugar

Cutting your sugar intake can decrease the chance of inflammation in your body generally and, fairly obviously, aid in weight loss, reducing your risk of developing a chronic health condition.

It is a fact that excessive sugars in our diet contribute significantly to obesity, type two diabetes, and heart disease, any of which can weaken your immune system. Lessening the amount of sugar in your diet will help you avoid this.

4. Stay Hydrated

Preventing dehydration is important to our overall health. Dehydration can cause headaches and hinder our overall physical performance, focus, mood, digestion, and even heart and kidney function. Tea and juice are hydrating, but water is better and studies have shown that drinking water can help relieve headaches in those who experience these frequently. Drinking plenty of water also helps prevent and relieve constipation.

Keeping hydrated even helps our cognitive abilities as our memory, energy and ability to concentrate can suffer when we’re dehydrated. And according to recent research even our mental health may be reliant on adequate hydration levels. By drinking enough water, we can reduce the risk of depression and anxiety.

5. Manage your stress levels

Although this is easier said than done, it has been shown that lowering your stress levels can help keep your immune system functioning properly.

Activities that will help you manage your stress include meditation, exercise, yoga, and a general cultivation of mindfulness.

6. Exercise regularly

This may seem to be obvious, but most of us just don’t get enough regular physical activity. It’s one of the easiest ways to reduce the risk of chronic disease and to help improve your quality of life.

Not only does exercise make you physical fitter, boosting your immune system in the process, it also increases endorphins and other feel-good brain chemicals and reduces your levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This makes it a proven remedy for both depression and anxiety. Even a short workout or a brisk walk can make us feel so much better.

However, if the thought of a regular exercise is daunting, the secret is to start small. On your first time out go for a short walk, workout or bike ride for just 5-10 minutes and then add an extra minute on each subsequent day. This helps to form and then maintain a positive habit. As you continue you can set yourself more ambitious exercise goals.

Any and all of these lifestyle changes can help to strengthen your immune system. You don’t have to try to change everything at once. Start with one or two and you will soon see the benefits.

10 Incredibly Indulgent Chocolate Treats

The year we may have started with resolutions and cutting back after the excesses of Christmas, but as we move into February, it’s time to indulge ourselves a little and what better indulgence than chocolate.

Why do we love chocolate so much?

In raw form cocoa beans are intensely bitter, but roasting them releases a range of chemical compounds which, when combined with other aroma molecules creates a unique chemical signature our brains love.  Chocolate also contains a number of psychoactive chemicals, including anandamide, a neurotransmitter which stimulates our brain in much the same way that cannabis does.  It also contains tyramine and phenylethylamine, both of which have similar effects to amphetamines.

When making chocolate, we usually add sugar and fat in a ratio of about 1g of fat to 2g of sugars This is the same ratio of fats to sugars found in many biscuits, doughnuts, ice cream. In fact, this particular ratio is reflected in many of the foods that we find hard to resist.

Starting with just a block of chocolate, there are many, many things you could do, like swirl into ice cream, make a chocolate rich ganache or make hot chocolate.

Here are 10 incredibly indulgent things you can do with chocolate.

1. Chocolate Ganache

The perfect treat in and of itself, but also a base for many other chocolate bases, it can be used as a glaze, icing for cakes, sauce or a pastry filling. It’s very simple too;, all you need is a packet of chocolate and double cream.

2. Salted Caramel Filled Molten Chocolate Cake

Do you like Chocolate? Do you like Salted Caramel? Do you like Cake? You’ve come to the right place.

3. Double-Chocolate Mousse Cake

Double the chocolate, double the deliciousness. Start this recipe 1 day ahead.

4. Chocolate Bark

This couldn’t be easier. All that is required is melting a block of chocolate, pouring on a baking tray and adding on your favourite dry ingredients. Anything can be used; nuts and raisins, shredded coconut, crushed biscuits or swirl two types of chocolate for a marbled effect. Here’s one of our favourites.

5. Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake Trifle

There’s indulgent. There’s very indulgent. There is over-the-top indulgent. And then there’s Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake Trifle.

6. Nutella Tiramisu

Tiramisu. Nutella. Tiramisu and Nutella. To be honest, you had us at Tiramisu.

7. Hot Chocolate

Want the richest, most decadent and indulgent hot chocolate ever, just by using a spare block of chocolate. Try this.

8. Peanut Butter Chocolate Heaven

It’s peanut butter chocolate heaven time. Peanut butter chocolate heaven time

9. Decadent Chocolate Fudge Squares

We couldn’t leave out Chocolate fudge. These decadent delights will be a sure fire winner with anyone you share them with. Wait a minute! Share?

10. Malteser and Mars Slices

No baking required, just melting and mixing. Greatest. Thing. Ever!

There are many more incredibly indulgent chocolate treats to try. Don’t waste time reading this. Go and have some!

Over 50 Keyboard Shortcuts for Microsoft Excel

Working in MS Excel involves a lot of pointing, clicking, switching menus and general use of the mouse. And, as anyone who has ever tried to select a large range of cells within an Excel worksheet will tell you, using a mouse cursor is not always simple or efficient.

However, Keyboard shortcuts are efficient and time-saving. When you are not constantly reaching for the mouse and instead using shortcuts, there will be a boost to your productivity. For instance, selecting all of the charts in a particular worksheet can be achieved by using the key combination of Ctrl + A.  Key combinations also more accurate than even the best mouse when it comes to precise actions like this.

Using keyboard shortcuts can also have measurable health benefits, reducing the risk of  RSI (Repetitive Syndrome Injury) and ULD (Upper Limb Disorders), which repetitive tasks like mouse use can cause.

(NB: Many of the shortcuts below use the Control key, the Alt Key, the Tab key or the Shift key. In some cases, two or more of these are used in combination, along with other keys.)

The Most Frequently Used Shortcuts in Excel

To do thisPress
Close a workbookCtrl+W
Open a workbookCtrl+O
Go to the Home tabAlt+H
Save a workbookCtrl+S
Choose a fill colorAlt+H, H
Go to Insert tabAlt+N
Go to Page Layout tabAlt+P
Go to Data tabAlt+A
Go to View tabAlt+W
Add bordersAlt+H, B
Go to Formula tabAlt+M
Hide the selected rowsCtrl+9
Hide the selected columnsCtrl+0

Ribbon Keyboard Shortcuts

The different tabs on the Excel ribbon can also be accessed using keyboard shortcuts.

To do thisPress
Open the File page and use Backstage view.Alt+F
Open the Home tab and format text and numbers and use the Find tool.Alt+H
Open the Insert tab and insert PivotTables, charts, add-ins, Sparklines, pictures, shapes, headers, or text boxes.Alt+N
Open the Page Layout tab and work with themes, page setup, scale, and alignment.Alt+P
Open the Formulas tab and insert, trace, and customize functions and calculations.Alt+M
Open the Data tab and connect to, sort, filter, analyze, and work with data.Alt+A
Open the Review tab and check spelling, add notes and threaded comments, and protect sheets and workbooks.Alt+R
Open the View tab and preview page breaks and layouts, show and hide gridlines and headings, set zoom magnification, manage windows and panes, and view macros.Alt+W

Keyboard Shortcuts for Moving around Worksheets

To do thisPress
Move to the previous cell in a worksheet or the previous option in a dialog.Shift+Tab
Move one cell up in a worksheet.Up arrow key
Move one cell down in a worksheet.Down arrow key
Move one cell left in a worksheet.Left arrow key
Move one cell right in a worksheet.Right arrow key
Move to the edge of the current data region in a worksheet.Ctrl+Arrow key
Move to the last cell on a worksheet, to the lowest used row of the rightmost used column.Ctrl+End
Extend the selection of cells to the last used cell on the worksheet (lower-right corner).Ctrl+Shift+End
Move to the beginning of a worksheet.Ctrl+Home
Move one screen down in a worksheet.Page Down
Move to the next sheet in a workbook.Ctrl+Page Down

Keyboard Shortcuts for Making Selections

To do thisPress
Select the entire worksheet.Ctrl+A or Ctrl+Shift+Spacebar
Select the current and previous sheet in a workbook.Ctrl+Shift+Page Up
Extend the selection of cells by one cell.Shift+Arrow key
Extend the selection of cells to the last nonblank cell in the same column or row as the active cell, or if the next cell is blank, to the next nonblank cell.Ctrl+Shift+Arrow key
Add a non-adjacent cell or range to a selection of cells by using the arrow keys.Shift+F8
Start a new line in the same cell.Alt+Enter
Fill the selected cell range with the current entry.Ctrl+Enter
Complete a cell entry and select the cell above.Shift+Enter
Select an entire row in a worksheet.Shift+Spacebar
Select the current region if the worksheet contains data. Press a second time to select the current region and its summary rows. Press a third time to select the entire worksheet.Ctrl+A or Ctrl+Shift+Spacebar
Select the first command on the menu when a menu or submenu is visible.Home
Repeat the last command or action, if possible.Ctrl+Y
Undo the last action.Ctrl+Z

Keyboard Shortcuts for Formatting Cells

To do thisPress
Open the Format Cells dialog.Ctrl+1
Enter the current time.Ctrl+Shift+colon (:)
Enter the current date.Ctrl+semi-colon (;)
Copy a formula from the cell above the active cell into the cell or the Formula Bar.Ctrl+apostrophe (‘)
Move the selected cells.Ctrl+X
Open the Paste Special dialog.Ctrl+Alt+V
Italicize text or remove italic formatting.Ctrl+I or Ctrl+3
Bold text or remove bold formatting.Ctrl+B or Ctrl+2
Underline text or remove underline.Ctrl+U or Ctrl+4
Switch between hiding objects, displaying objects, and displaying placeholders for objects.Ctrl+6
Display or hide the outline symbols.Ctrl+8
Use the Fill Down command to copy the contents and format of the topmost cell of a selected range into the cells below.Ctrl+D
Open the Insert hyperlink dialog.Ctrl+K
Display the Create Table dialog.Ctrl+L or Ctrl+T

There are many, many more Excel keyboard shortcuts.

Pancakes of The World

We all love pancakes. Sweet or savoury, of various thicknesses, tossed, stuffed or covered in sauce. But types of pancakes are incredibly diverse and it seems every country has a pancake of its own. Even if you think that you are a bit of a pancake expert, you might find that there are types that you haven’t come across before. And whether you like yours covered with butter and syrup, or rolled up with falafel and cheese, there may be something new to delight your palate.

We all know the English pancake, made with plain flour, eggs and milk. Although some drizzle them with golden syrup or wrap them around savoury fillings, they are traditionally topped with lemon juice and sugar. (Even now, the supermarkets are stuffed full of Jif on the run-up to pancake day.) The recipe for them is fairly simple and the secret is a very hot pan and a confident wrist action when flipping.

But If you want something slightly different, then there are many, many different types of pancakes to try:

French Crêpes

Although we usually associate them with France, this very thin pancake is also common in Belgium and Switzerland and other parts of Europe. They are probably the closest counterparts to English pancakes, although their ingredients contain sugar. They can also be served sweet or savoury, with almost any filling you could wish for. The key is to make them super-thin. There are some great tips for perfect crêpes here.

Dutch Baby Pancake

Don’t be fooled by the name. The pancake actually originates in German and it’s not small. It’s giant in size, baked in the oven rather than fried and actually resembles a Yorkshire pudding. Usually seasoned with cinnamon or vanilla, they are mainly served sweet. Here’s a version by Nigella.

Scotch Pancakes

These are similar to American pancakes and are made with flour, eggs, sugar, milk, salt and cream of tartar. Often called drop-scones, they are much smaller and thicker than a traditional English pancake. Scotch pancakes are often served with jam or cream, like normal scones.

Russian Blinis

Considered a symbol of the sun in pre-Christian times these light, thin pancakes and are still eaten during religious occasions. Typically served with sour cream, butter or caviar, Blinis are yeasted pancakes traditionally made from buckwheat flour. Mini blinis in the UK are often eaten with smoked salmon. They are the pancake most often found in a party buffet.


These pancakes usually found in southern India can be made with a batter of fermented rice and black lentil, mixed with spices and chopped onions. It’s a spicy variant on the pancake theme.

Potato pancakes (Irish Boxty)

Whilst we usually think of flour as the most important ingredient in pancakes; many Eastern European cuisines feature potatoes in their versions. Pan-fried and made with batter from grated potatoes, flour and egg, there are many different types, such as the Swedish Raggmunk. The Irish Boxty is a pancake-hash brown hybrid and is best served as a savoury snack.

Indonesian Serabi

Something completely different, this pancake is made with rice flour and coconut milk and only cooked on one side. Mostly Serabi are eaten sweet, but you can add cheese and meat for a savoury snack. Some recipes which add pandan leaf juice mean that the pancakes are green. Making them isn’t as straightforward as other types of pancake, but they are naturally gluten free.

Danish Aebleskiver

The pancake equivalent of doughnuts, Danish Aebleskiver are served hot, fluffy and round! You will need a special frying pan with deep holes for each pancake. They are even eaten like doughnuts; dipped in jam and sprinkled in sugar

Venezuela and Colombia: Cachapas

Part of traditional Venezuelan cuisine, these corn pancakes are usually folded over fresh melted cheese and are a popular “street” food.

Japan: Okonomiyaki

Savory pancakes, Okonomiyaki, comes from the word okonomi meaning “What you want” and “Yaki” meaning grilled. Made with flour, egg, cabbage and really whatever else you want.

American-Style Pancakes

Perhaps the most popular pancake type in the UK, even beating the traditional English style pancake, the American recipe uses a rising agent like baking powder to form thicker, fluffier pancakes. Traditionally served with maple syrup and bacon for breakfast, or often served with sweet toppings such as fruit, cream or yoghurt, it is possible it is possible to add batter mix-ins such as blueberries or chocolate chips.

There are many more types of pancake from around the world to find out about and enjoy.

The Best of Blogs

As it’s our last blog of the year, we thought we’d take a look back at some of our favourite blogs of 2020.

Back in May, we gave you 12 Unbelievable Facts about Excel, detailing some amazing trivia about our favourite spreadsheet programme.

June was the month that we told you How to Geta Job in Project Management and there were some Essential Ergonomic Tips for Home Workers in July. There was more bounty in July as we gave you not 10 but 12 Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste in Your Office.

In August we thought, that if, like us, you find there are never enough hours in the day, you might want to know 10 Ways to Manage Time Effectively, whilst September provided 10 Ways to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence.

October saw us celebrating  World Vegan Month as well as telling you How to Get Microsoft Office for Free.

And Bringing us almost up to Date, we told you How to Beat Procrastination in November.

There are many more articles on our blog for you to enjoy.